Donald Trump Is Turning American Democracy into Demolition Derby

January 30, 2017

Bill Moyers: Donald Trump Is Turning American Democracy into Demolition Derby–From Democracy to Plutocracy

Affordable health care? Smash it. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like, and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government.

Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

Trump came to Washington to tear the government down for parts, and as far as we can tell, he doesn’t seem to have anything at all in mind to replace it except turning back the clock to when business took what it wanted and left behind desperate workers, dirty water and polluted air.

In this demolition derby, Trump seems to have the wholehearted support of the Republican Party, which loathes government as much as it worships the market as god. Remember Thomas Frank’s book, The Wrecking Crew? Published in 2008, it remains one of the best political books of the past quarter-century. Frank took the measure of an unholy alliance: the century-old business crusade against government, the conservative ideology that looks on government as evil (except when it’s enriching its allies), and the Republican Party of George W. Bush and Karl Rove — the one that had just produced eight years of crony capitalism and private plunder.

Young Bill Moyers

Lyndon Johnson and Bill Moyers, a potent union of power and destiny in the turbulent 1960’s.

The Wrecking Crew — and what an apt title it was — showed how federal agencies were doomed to failure by the incompetence and hostility of the Bush gang appointed to run them, the same model Trump is using now. Frank tracked how wholesale deregulation — on a scale Trump already is trying to reproduce — led to devastating results for everyday people, including the mortgage meltdown and the financial crash. Reading the book is like reading today’s news, as kleptomaniacs spread across Washington to funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of lobbyists and corporations.

That may include the pockets of Donald Trump’s own family. As Jonathan Chait wrote after the election in New York magazine, “[Trump’s] children have taken roles on the transition team. Ivanka attended official discussions with heads of state of Japan and Argentina. [As president-elect, Trump himself] met with Indian business partners to discuss business and lobbied a British politician to oppose offshore wind farms because one will block the view at one of his Scottish golf courses.” Only a couple of days ago it was reported that the Trump organization would more than triple the number of Trump hotels in America. And why not? Its chief marketer works out of the Oval Office.

Image result for Donald Trump the Plutocrat

Will real Donald Trump stand up?

Jonathan Chait went on to say: “Trump’s brazen use of his office for personal enrichment signals something even more worrisome than four or more years of kleptocratic government. It reveals how willing the new administration is to obliterate governing norms and how little stands in his way.”

And oh yes, something else: David Sirota at International Business Times has just published a new report showing that the Trump administration appears to be quietly killing the federal government’s major ethics rule designed to prevent White House officials from enriching their former clients. Experts say a review of government documents shows that regulators appear to have abruptly stopped enforcing the rule, even though it remains the law of the land.

We were warned. Donald Trump himself told The New York Times, “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” Shades of Richard Nixon, who said, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” And who also announced, “I am not a crook.”

I know plutocracy is not a commonly used word in America. But it’s a word that increasingly fits what’s happening here. Plutocracy means government by the wealthy, a ruling class of the rich and their retainers. If you don’t see plutocracy spreading across America, you haven’t been paying attention. Both parties have nurtured, tolerated and bowed to it. Now we’re reaching the pinnacle, as Trump’s own Cabinet is rich (no pun intended) in millionaires and billionaires. He is stacking the agencies and boards of government with the wealthy and friends of wealth so that the whole of the federal enterprise can be directed to rewarding those with deep pockets, the ones who provide the bags and bags of money that are dumped into our political process today.Which leads us to the second design now apparent in Trump’s strategy of deliberate chaos. He may have run a populist campaign, but now it appears he aims to substitute plutocracy for democracy.

Image result for Donald Trump the Plutocrat

Yes, both Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of groveling to the wealthy who fund them; it’s a staggering bipartisan scandal that threatens the country and was no small part of Trump’s success last November, even as ordinary people opened their windows and shouted, “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” So now we have in power a man who represents the very worst of the plutocrats — one who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. I shudder to think where this nightmare will end. Even if you voted for Donald Trump for a reason that truly is from your heart, I cannot believe you voted for this.

Tell me if I’m wrong. Tell me whose side are you really on? The people of America or the cynics and predators at the very top who would climb atop the ruins of the republic for a better view of the sunset?

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and

28 thoughts on “Donald Trump Is Turning American Democracy into Demolition Derby

  1. Like I have said…he won the Presidency fairly…and ought to be given a chance…especially to see what he can come up with on THE most crucial promise…jobs for millions of Americans…

    But it must be kept in mind that he may have been “allowed” to win for precisely the reason this author refers to… a demolition job…

    • Can expect more of the same chaos and law-breaking from him and his right-wing inner clique.

      Impeachment proceedings should start immediately …..

      Meanwhile, MO1 (Bugis hero and defender of the Muslims in 1Malaysia and Myanmar/Burma) is keeping very quiet.

  2. Americans voted for a pariah in Donald Trump,and they got a pariah in Donald Trump.Those under 35 voted for third party candidates,and many African Americans stayed at home.Now,everybody except Trump supporters are unhappy.Americans got what they wished for.A bigot,groper in chief,big time cheat and statutory raper.God the US of A.

  3. “….he won the Presidency fairly…”

    But….. but…..he said there was massive voter fraud .

    That’s right, if he fails, the game was rigged for him to fail….

  4. Mike Pence, although a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, would
    make a better President than the present guy.
    Otherwise, 4 years of endless chaos – especially in foreign policy.

  5. Like I said before, the biggest losers are the American people when they discarded Bernie Sanders, the candidate who would have made a real difference. The only difference between GOP and the DNC is the manner and degree of hardness the plebs are being screwed!
    Righteousness and good shall prevail over injustice and evil.

    • American people did not discard Bernie Sanders. The DNC stole his nomination for Hillary. Many of us supporters wrote to urge him to run as an independent candidate on the Green Party ticket. He did not respond.

    • Apparently they did not do enough. The majority were implicit in their silence and in their comfy pech on top of the fence when the DNC betrayed him.
      Had they taken to the streets in massive protest and at least make half the noise and as outraged as they are now that Trump was democratically elected – BS would have mopped the White House floor with Trump. Just saying…

  6. Where were all the talking heads during the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Wall Street Movement went on the streets to demand for change. Since 2009 the opportunities for first time job-seekers has been bleak not only in the US but im many parts of the developed and developing world. And to undo eight years of lost opportunity a the least you need another eight years. So hold on. But if you have ideas that will help him please put it out for consideration.

  7. It must be careful to say Americans voted for Donald Trump, for majority of the American voters did not vote for Trump. But it is fair to say he won the presidency fairly, for he knew how to play within the rules of the Electoral College system. He did not come to campaign in California because he knew California is overwhelmingly Democrats. He concentrated on the swing states.

    For those Americans who see him not their president, it is certainly within their citizen rights. But he is the president. Who is not giving him a chance to do his job? The people have the duty and the right to make sure he is doing his job right, putting pressure on him in every which way, say, through demonstrations and other legal means.

    So early into his presidency, he has already given many reasons for great many Americans to question his sanity. We the people have the duty and the right to take it to the court to stop his executive order to deport Muslim refugees from entering New York with visas and proper documents. And we the people shall keep an eye on him like a hawk from now on.

    America is a nation of rule of law. Congress makes laws, Executive enforces laws, and Judiciary interprets laws. We the people have the duty and the right to make sure these three functions of government check and balance each other properly. Every executive order signed by Trump, we the people have the duty and the right to make sure it is constitutional.

    • You forgot the crucial responsibility of the 4th pillar of a democratic state and it’s sacred duty to be impartial in keeping the public informed and not to be used as a tool of parties with vested interests to disseminate fake news and blatant lies.
      Rightly or wrongly, Trump is not anti Immigration. He wants to have controlled immigration. He is not banning Muslims from entering, only citizens of 7 listed countries who are a deemed a threat to American national security who happen to be Muslims.

    • ocho onda:
      I don’t know where you are, in Malaysia or in the States. We community organizers and political activists today have kind of given up this “fourth branch of government” nowadays. They no longer can be trusted. 6 corporations are owning 90% of all the news media in the US today – print, radio, and television. We are using the social media more and more.

      You are entitled to your belief in Trump’s immigration and Muslim issues. I say you are dead wrong. But I do not want to engage with you on a keyboard debate. I’ll simply conclude here by telling Trump is simply an idiot who has absolutely no ideas whatsoever. All his ideas are simply Steve Bannon’s ideas. He is just a puppet manipulated by Bannon. Just like Cheney manipulated Bush.

    • LaMoy. You are understandably an American with serious concerns for the well being of your country. Likewise, you are entitled to your opinion like every other participant of this blog. Never mind me, I am just annother opinionated but well meaning commenter from across the big pond.
      I am not bothered in anyway if you want to engage in debate or not but one of the reasons that always bring me back to Din’s blog is the generally healthy atmosphere where people can freely express their differences of viewpoints and my understanding that
      nobody is here to impose on another, one’s particular point of view.

      I am a BS supporter but I also firmly believe that the jury is still out when it comes to Trump. For the sake of America, I hope you are wrong and that he is nobody’s puppet. The truth, however, is you may be right as I had mentioned before that if muppets like Bush jnr and Obama could run America, so can Trump. There you are, America is fucked! Alternatively, he will be another Reagan if given a chance. The choice is yours, America.

    • ocho onda:
      Well put. We’re here to pitch in our own two cents and nothing more. And yes, America is fucked. I’ve just turned 70 and do not have much time to worry about America. I believe you get your information through the print or the internet. I actually know some people close to the administration. But I must admit my information may not be always accurate.

      One of my sons and his wife were having dinner with me last night and said they were beginning to think of moving to New Zealand, because the Russian and the Chinese won’t target their nuclear missiles at New Zealand. They are both practitioners in internal medicine and can make a living anywhere. But when I think of the rest of America … my, I don’t know what to say….

      Right now for me the first priority is to get the coming Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco done right and successful….

    • LaMoy. I empathise with you. It is not so grand over here either. NZ is a good spot. I used to live there. My ex is Kiwi. David Lange had the balls to ban US nuclear subs from entering NZ waters. No place on earth is truly save anymore from the evil destruction of mad men. I know it is a pessimistic thought but sadly true. They may nuke the Aussies instead lol.
      A great day to you, sir. 😆

  8. “Impeachment proceedings should start immediately …..”

    Dr. Phua:
    I believe there will be an impeachment proceeding but not until 2018, when I foresee a Democratic Congress.

  9. Quote:- “…4 years of endless chaos….”

    On the bright side, “chaos” or the very threat of it may well wake up the rest of the hitherto complacent World drunk on Pax Americana and force its movers & shakers to start moving and shaking to better organize themselves and each other and prevent it from actually coming about.

  10. As he himself said if the election was based on first past the post at the national level he would have campaigned in the big states with large population and left the the so-called swing states to his opponent.

  11. President Trump has done many things in unconventional way. He not only won the presidency in a money-pinching manner with a fraction of the cost of his rival, but he now faces people’s worry about politicians actually meet their promises made during the campaign – another first.

    • “…..he now faces people’s worry about politicians actually meet their promises made during the campaign – another first.”

      Um…no. People are worried – more often than not the same people who voted for him – that he is going to destroy the country.

      But hey, from the ashes and all…..

  12. With all things being said, perhaps, I should continue from where Din has initiated………

    To Donald Trump,

    Lee Towers………….

    Meanwhile, Drumpf sacked Sally Yates……..

    Sounds familiar……..

  13. In this whole brouhaha of the election of Donald Trump, I find it perplexing that the main issue of amending the Electoral College system isn’t more forcefully being challenge. Isn’t this the whole reason why America is in the political mess it is in now?

    And if the average American thinks that there is no need for any amendments, then why all the fuss. Think about it, if by using only the Popular Vote, then gerrymandering would be irrelevant as well.

    • Shonen:
      There are calls to abolish the Electoral College many, many times for many, many years, way before I was born and I’ve just turned 70. The call to abolish the Electoral College never ceased and is on going.

      But to abolish the Electoral College first we must amend the Constitution which requires the approval of two-third of the Congress before it could be put to the poll for people to vote. The Republican Party has always resisted to abolish the Electoral College. The reason is simple: The Electoral College is to their advantage. They have become a smaller party than the Democrats and has much lesser members. A majority win popular vote system is to the great disadvantage to them in presidential election.

      The four presidents who won the electoral votes but lost the popular votes are John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump, all from the Republican Party (John Quincy Adams was from the Federalist Party which was the predecessor of the Republican Party).

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