Thursday, May 5, 2016

First Time Ever! You Won't Believe What You're Seeing! (Trump and the Great Public Service Meltdown of 2016)

Take a moment. It won't take long. Go to the Wikipedia page on US presidential elections and look through the table showing the candidates for the major parties. The salient fact, for my purpose here, is that all of the candidates (with a single, arguable exception) from all of the major parties have in every election had some experience in public service.

By public service I mean they had been elected, or they had served as a high-ranking officer in the military, in the judiciary, or in the cabinet. The point is--they had experience working for the people and being paid by the people.

The sole exception was Wendell Wilkie, who ran against FDR in 1940. Wilkie was a lawyer best known for representing electric utilities. So even this one exception is heavily hedged about by the fact of utilities being a market highly regulated by public bodies for broad public benefit.

Which brings us to today and Donald Trump, the presumptive candidate of the GOP in 2016.

Zero public service. For the first time in American history.

I feel like* the climate change is manmade and can be traced back to a gaseous emission: Ronald Reagan's "nine most terrifying words in the English language"--I'm from the government, and I'm here to help. As a result of the buildup of this anti-public-service sentiment in the political atmosphere, the GOP now believes that government is terrifying at every level, for every reason, without exception.

Trump's 2016 candidacy shows that it is time to erase "public service" from the Republican lexicon of American values.

*Sorry, Molly Worthen, but you're wrong.

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