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Morning Briefing: Brace Yourselves, Because There Are Shaky, Uncertain Times Ahead

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 30, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 30, 2017 |

I typically gloss over the more terrifying aspects of the Trump Administration, because I prefer to focus on the positive, lest we all fall into a hopeless stupor. Legislative proposals, like the budget and the AHCA, are not likely to become law because they have little support in Congress; the executive orders are mostly symbolic in nature; and policy proposals are likely to change from day to day in this administration, so I try not to get worked up over the terrifying daily ideas.

But, some of the actions of this Presidency are beginning to become a reality, and they are beginning to show results. We can no longer rely on Trump’s incompetence to save us. Jeff Sessions is not incompetent, unfortunately, and while we’re all focused on trying to get Trump removed, Sessions is quietly rounding up thousands of out-of-status immigrants and deporting them; seeking harsher penalties for all crimes; and minimizing the civil rights efforts of the Department of Justice. For Sessions, everything is going just as planned: He’s deporting or jailing people of color and ensuring that they feel less safe in America. Our worst fears when Trump appointed a white supremacist are coming to fruition.

Meanwhile, we’re taking a brutal hit to our reputation internationally. We’ve lost the respect of our European allies, and it’s gotten to a weird point in our history where I find myself rooting for the Germans and the French and the Canadians to upbraid us, though I understand that it plays right into a xenophobic, nationalistic Trump base that actually takes pride in the fact that the rest of the world rejects us. We live in strange political climate where liberals are looking to center-right leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to lead the world.

Elsewhere, a man running for Congress in Montana beat up a reporter and won. In Texas, a Republican in the state house called ICE on protestors and threatened to put a bullet in his Democratic colleague; and in Kentucky, someone shot a bullet into the window of a major newspaper. In Portland, Oregon, two men were killed and one badly injured after a white supremacist stabbed them for protecting two teenage Muslims.

Scary, scary times.

It’d be nice if we could celebrate the fact that the White House’s communications director, Michael Dubke, has resigned (in fact, he resigned two weeks ago), and the White House has apparently begun its shakeup in earnest. Unfortunately, that may mean the return of Corey Lewandowski, which might mean more chaos in the White House, but it also may mean violence against opponents and reporters becomes even more accepted. Journalist have rarely been as valuable as they are now, and rarely, if ever, have they been more under siege. Is it weird that I’m actually rooting for Sean Spicer, because the man who once drew comparisons between Hitler and Assad seems better than the alternative.

So, we look to the Russian-Trump collusion headlines to offer us some hope that maybe this will all be over soon. Kushner is in serious trouble, or at least should be if anyone has the nerve to do their jobs. Trump continues to lash out at #FakeNews while praising the Russians …

… and a new report from CNN today says that U.S. intelligence intercepted conversation between the Russians that suggested they had kompromat on Trump and people in his inner circle and “had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.” Most of these news reports coming out lately, however, have mostly filled in blanks, providing smaller details to information we already knew.

We still don’t know, however, what anyone is going to do with this information, whether Robert Mueller or the Republicans in the Senate will actually make use of it, or if Trump will figure out more ways to dodge these bullets while his Attorney General continues to empower white men. Meanwhile, our best hope at removing or nullifying Trump is still the 2018 midterms, and while the political climate has seemingly shifted in favor of the Democrats, I’m sure there are plenty of well qualified candidates who are simply afraid to run for office in a climate as dangerous as this.

I want to remain hopeful. I really do. And I will continue to focus on the victories of the #Resistance, no matter how small, but it’s hard not to believe that this country is broken in a fundamental way that could take a generation to repair. Meanwhile, we look with envy to countries like Canada, Germany, and France, who are left to lead us while one man and a base of support that reflects around 40 percent of this country attempts to pull not just America, but the rest of the world, down with it.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.