The Trump Effect: Reboot or Yesterdays Enterprise?

The first Star Trek “reboot”  took the bold act of altering the past in a famous fictional timeline. The new movies have the freedom to reinvent, while we watch the movies, fully aware what “really” happened. This got taken to extremes for “Into the Darkness”, when the last half hour echoed word for word the greatest Star Trek movie ever made with a character swap, but it’s still pretty clever.

Ever since Trump won in November, I’ve felt like we’re all living through an alternate timeline. Like Tom Hanks’ “Doug” said in that sublime Black Jeopardy skit, “Come on, they already decided who wins even before it happens”. Everyone of any importance knew Hillary would win.  Jobs were accepted. Plans were made.

But while I see it as a reboot, an opportunity to rewrite the future, all the people with any voice or influence think of the election as Yesterday’s Enterprise. Just as the Enterprise C slipped through the temporal rift and forestalled the truce between the Klingons and the Federation, so too did a whole bunch of voters escape the notice of the Deep State. Which is a good thing, because otherwise the Deep State have taken action before the election . Trump would have been doped up and stuck in bed with a dead transgender Muslim and a live boy peeing on him. Not that this would have cost him the election, but at least they’d have grounds for an arrest.

Instead, most of the elite institutions were stunned by the actual voters making a choice that defied all their warnings, their  manifest horror at Trump’s candidacy, never mind his primary triumph. They haven’t stopped trying to convince us of our mistake.

A couple weeks ago, I was really upset at the many corners of the media openly and excitedly debating whether it’d be better to use impeachment or the 25th Amendment to rid themselves of this meddlesome Trump–where even the opponents to the idea concurred that Trump was a witless boob, inept and obviously unfit, that impeachment was reasonable or that the fish rots from the head.

When I realized that the feeling was….familiar. Flashback to a year earlier, back in March and April, when anti-Trump elite GOPs were debating the best way to rig the convention,  gleefully mocking Trump and his voters as Cruz stole his delegates,  happily contemplating a Kasich-Cruz alliance.  Deep in the stunning beauty of central Idaho, I was struggling to enjoy spring break because I knew, beyond any doubt, that the media and institutional powers of the conservative movement would do anything within their power to deny the voters’ choice.

At some point, I realized the idiocy of letting this nonsense get to me and went hiking. Well, walking around a mountain and going up a few hundred feet. It felt like hiking.

But  Trump triumphed.  We got to mock Nate Silver’s open dismissal of Paul Manafort’s prediction of locking up the nomination as “delusional” when in fact the job got done earlier than expected. We had the fun of watching the delegates boo Ted Cruz. We all enjoy reminding Jonah Goldberg that he followed Bill Mitchell on Election Day “for kicks”,confidently expecting to retweet Bill’s pained realization of Trump’s obliteration.

Despite all those earlier outrageous, determined efforts,  here we are on what, the fifth catastrophe that the media predicted will wipe out Trump’s presidency? Shrug. They’ll find something else. Why get angry? It didn’t work last time. So I let go of the anger, and enjoyed the drama queen Comey telling his tale.

I don’t understand those who are disappointed in Trump’s achievements. Bush 43 had near total control of Congress and got No Child Left Behind. After 2002 he had full control of Congress and passed Medicare Part D. From 2005-2007, he did everything possible, including race-shaming, to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform. A few days after 9/11, he arranged a photo op with Muslims to make sure no one had Bad Thoughts.

Meanwhile, Trump is appointing judges, deporting illegal aliens, and building the wall.He’s letting the military take it to ISIS and Syria.  He’s rolling back environmental policies and stepped out of the Paris Accords. He’s ringing employment to the industrial regions that supported him–maybe not as much as they need, but more than they had. I don’t like Betsy much, but at least she’s doing some interesting evasions on IDEA and special ed.

How much virtual ink has been spilled on the deportations, on Paris, on the environmental policies? How many politicians before Trump wouldn’t risk media disapproval? He’s shown what can be done. That’s an invaluable service.

Much of the rest is noise.  Turns out  many important people aren’t really concerned about what a president does, so long as he only has one scoop of ice cream at dinner while he carefully discusses his hopes for Michael Flynn’s future. Whatever charge the media flings, there’s a countercharge about a prior presidency.  If I am too cynical about Washington, if there is a measurable difference between Trump and his predecessors in terms of the venal opportunism found in his government officials,  you’ll forgive me if I’m unconvinced by the assurance of those “experts” who called for impeaching Bill Clinton, invading Iraq or Afghanistan, and/or electing the incompetent naif Barack Obama on the country.

Is Trump suited to be President? Beats me. Should he be hiring more people? Maybe. Is he upsetting European leaders? I certainly hope so. I don’t see him as a bully or a dictator. I’ve never been convinced by those who do.

Do I want more? Sure.  Like most of his immigration restrictionist supporters, I’m unhappy that he’s still approving DACA waivers and extensions.  I hope his daughter and son-in-law go back to New York. Would I like less tweeting, more thoughtfulness? Yes.  Do I wish his cabinet didn’t look like the Goldman Sachs retirement weekend? Absolutely. Less emphasis on tax breaks and other GOP wishlist items? Indeed.  But as far as hard asks go, just one: cease and desist any talk of firing Jeff Sessions.

Still,  if Trump were note-perfect, he’d still be facing a huge, hostile force. Of  all the institutional wisdom that Trump showed up as canard, the media’s power took the biggest hit. Trump showed conclusively that the media is only speaking to half the country (usually the left). No other conclusion is possible. The media has no influence over the people; it’s just preaching to its believers. Worse, the people now know that the media didn’t change a single mind.  Profits are up, because their half of the country is enraged and active. But they’ll never again be able to pretend their reporting speaks to the entire country, or that they influence public opinion. They keep trying–the sob stories about the deportees, the stenography of various government leakers, the outright fake news (tells us again how Trump was under investigation, guys!). But the whole of the public remains curiously unmoved, despite the hype.

The media wants to change the world back to way it was.  What’s happening now is all wrong, they’re not supposed to be here, they have to  fix it.  If they can just keep the pressure on and play for time, someone who “wasn’t supposed to be here” will drag the wounded Enterprise C back a hundred years to be destroyed.  The timeline can be restored.

So it’s  ungrateful and even a bit stupid to demand Trump alter every personality trait that got him this far.  Trump has the perfect characteristics for moving America in spite of  media outrage.  He’s sublimely unconcerned about how things are done, comfortable with violating norms. Crass. Obnoxious. Unflinching. Self-absorbed. They might not be comfortable qualities in a roommate, but they’ll do nicely to protect him during the onslaught.

Because it’s going to get time to get everyone accepting the reboot. Note that political pundits still fixate on approval numbers. You know, the kind that comes from polls. Like the polls that predicted Hillary would win.  Paul Ryan and other respectable Republicans are still trying to figure out how they can win media approval, win support from moderates, and improve their polling numbers.

They should take a page from Mitch McConnell’s book. Back when Ryan was playing Hamlet, McConnell quietly told his senators to do whatever they needed to do, and held on like grim death to that empty Supreme Court seat. These days, McConnell refuses to be gobsmacked by the intemperate Trump. Sure, he’d like less drama. But in the meantime, he’s getting it done.

I wish everyone in GOPVille would do the same.  What I want, of course, are more people  following Trump’s example. The first one to violate expectations had to be a billionaire who didn’t need donors with a willful desire to offend people. But with time, others will be able to build on his first steps. Others might be equally willing to brave disapproval but, dare I say, more temperamentally suited to government. Many of Trump’s policies have already become  accepted–if not respectable, at least not reviled.  Over time, more will.  That’s my hope–that others build on his success, the knowledge that his policies have tremendous support.  Embrace the alternate timeline.

That’s the best way of ensuring the changes will hold, that calls to end Trump’s presidency fade.  Sure, the pendulum will swing back. I’m just hoping for more changes that permanently alter the landscape. Don’t let the media win and enforce the pretense that the alternate timeline didn’t ever happen. Let this be a genuine reboot where Christopher Pike gets a better death, rather than a temporary odd happenstance that had no effect once Enterprise C went back.

Of course, this advice could be coming from a Klingon who’d rather achieve  total victory over the Federation than a treaty in which both sides move forward in peace.   You takes your chances.


In case you’re new and missed my other political pieces (I usually do education):

Note from a Trump Supporter: It’s the Immigration, Stupid!

Citizens, Not Americans

This Great Election

Celebrating Trump in a Deep Blue Land

(destiny quote from R. Stevens,


About educationrealist

24 responses to “The Trump Effect: Reboot or Yesterdays Enterprise?

  • Calvin X Hobbes

    What you’re hoping for from Trump is pretty much the same as what I’m hoping for. It’s scary how deranged the left has gotten, though.

  • rob

    This is why I’m a staunch libertarian. They’re the only world movement on point fighting for democracy, rights, and election fairness. Christ, they just led the coalition that kicked out the dictator in The Gambia.

    You go to some of their groups and read the article from local papers on what is really going on to manage elections and it’s a disgrace. One, the Poll data workgroup on Facebook, realized that polls were being massaged and predicted a ‘Trumpslide’ and great showing by the LP candidate Gary Johnson (who was aiming for over 1% ) before either of their campaigns did.

    I don’t particularly like Trump’s polices, but the attacks on him and the ballot hanky-panky are unhinged.

  • anonymousskimmer

    This one I truly only skimmed.

    “The first one to violate expectations”

    Violating expectations is one thing, violating people is another. Trump has a history of violating people, something anathema to a Republic in it’s titular head.

    That’s my fundamental problem with people like Trump (and FDR to some extent, though FDR did far more for others, before the presidency, than Trump has so far).

    The world can only advance optimally when people are personally empowered to negotiate with each other as equals with respect to the law, the economy, and society. Throwing power to a domineering personality and calling him a champion has never, ever led to an empowered people.

    Good luck in your dreams for Trump. In the long run these sorts of ‘revolutions’ have only led to second empires and third republics. Very few people achieve their full potential under such chaos.

    “They’re the only world movement on point fighting for democracy, rights, and election fairness. ”

    That would be the greens worldwide or the american solidarity party in the US. The majority of libertarians seem to believe that personal empowerment (democracy) is subordinate to economic control/manipulation/one-side-dominant ‘negotiation’ (I can’t recall the word but those three terms come close to generalizing the definition).

    • educationrealist

      “Trump has a history of violating people, something anathema to a Republic in it’s titular head.”

      You apparently have a different understanding of the word.

      • anonymousskimmer

        Which word?

      • anonymousskimmer

        If you mean “republic”, I see the citizen as the foundation of a republic. Anyone and anything that strikes against a citizen, except in defense of another citizen, strikes the republic itself. Anyone who subordinates a citizen to another citizen or non-citizen, without that citizens direct and uncompelled okay, subordinates the republic itself.

        Businesses such as Trump’s are very poor environments in which to learn the responsibilities a citizen and a republic owe each other. And I see no evidence that Trump has learned these responsibilities elsewhere.

      • Roger Sweeny

        Anyone who subordinates a citizen to another citizen or non-citizen, without that citizens direct and uncompelled okay, subordinates the republic itself.

        I’m not sure what you mean by that. Children are subordinate to parents. Students are subordinate to teachers. Soldiers are subordinate to generals–and generals are subordinate to the civilian leadership. Bureaucrats are subordinate to higher-ranking bureaucrats. In some sense, capitalists are subordinate to consumers (“you must do what I want or I’ll take my business elsewhere).

        I suppose soldiers and bureaucrats give their consent to be subordinated and it is not directly compelled. But there is always unequal power and resources, a situation that constrains choice.

        Surely, all of this does not “subordinate[s[ the republic itself.” Else there could never be an unsubordinated republic (but then perhaps there can’t be and that is the more realistic way of looking at things).

      • anonymousskimmer

        SMH of course, underaged people are obviously not full citizens, for very good reasons. Our republic recognizes a distinct tier: 18+, 21+, 35+. Arguments can easily be made for other tiers, but very few people will argue for no tiers. Natural history and basic human biology argues against that.

        “Soldiers are subordinate to generals–and generals are subordinate to the civilian leadership. ”
        Mostly by uncompelled choice (barring conscription, which I do have a problem with – it’s a violation except in cases of invasion of the homeland, and in that case it’s unnecessary). While people are strongly encouraged to have *a* job, they are generally not compelled to enter the military. Pertaining to the ideals of a republic, I also have some issues with the two-tiered nature of modern military induction (officer versus enlisted division), but am unsure how this should be handled.

        “But there is always unequal power and resources, a situation that constrains choice.”

        Yes. And this is where the power of government should be brought to bear to even the field as much as feasible and agreeable to the citizenry. It certainly isn’t where a head of state should start picking sides based on his personal preference.

        The better is not the enemy of the best. It’s just one stop on the way to this hypothetical ‘utopia’.

        As a start, I’d like to see some more encouragement of the republican form of government in business governance (right now the vast majority are plutocratic [shareholders, boards of directors, etc…], family-owned, or owner-operator [which I think are better], constrained by local, state and federal rule of law). This is distinct from the mixed form of corporate government in Germany (plutocratic + worker representation). Which is distinct from that of companies like the Spanish Mondragon corporation.

        Our economic and regulatory systems have helped entrench the plutocratic form of large corporations. Lets see what some competition can do.

      • anonymousskimmer


        To summarize: On average, compared to other incentives, the more empowered people are, the more consistently they will work harder and smarter. The more consistently a people works harder and smarter, the stronger a nation’s industry. This has been documented in microcosm in various studies.

        I’d rather 500 out of 1000 people working harder and smarter instead of 50 working harder and smarter and 10 working very much harder and smarter. I think it would be more beneficial. And not just to the economy or the national strength, but to individual satisfaction as well.

      • anonymousskimmer

        Forgot to add to the summary: This is *one of* the bases of ER’s negotiation with incoming classes. ER provides a framework in which the class is empowered to get certain grades, and is made aware of what future empowerment is available to them via those grades.

      • educationrealist

        Well the last, at least, is comprehensible. But the rest of what you say has zero to do with Trump violating people.

      • anonymousskimmer

        “I’m not going to agree to the contract terms we agreed to before hand, so you can either sue me and go out of business while the lawsuit slowly propagates through the courts, or you can accept a lesser payment than we had contractually agreed to. I’m in the position of power here, so take it, or leave it and go bankrupt yourself!”

        Hardly conducive to a healthy republic. In the vein of, though not quite as bad as, this prominent Roman during the decline and fall of the Republic:

      • educationrealist

        That’s not violating people.

      • anonymousskimmer

        You can redefine the term if you want. That doesn’t change its definition.

      • educationrealist

        Right. I’m redefining violating to mean….violating.

      • anonymousskimmer

        I know you can read. I also know you can think.

        “I’m not hitting you, I’m beating the dust out of your clothes.”
        “I’m not attacking you, I’m flinging vitriol at your ideas.”
        “I’m not calling you a degenerate, I’m saying you morality is corrupt.”

        Contracts are ephemera; you don’t violate ephemera, you violate the objects and people attached to the ephemera. Anything else is a reification fallacy.

        Fortunately our republic is institutionally and constitutionally more robust than the Roman republic. It can absorb a president like Trump instead of fall apart in the wake of Crassus and Caesar. But doing so does not make it stronger.

      • educationrealist

        It would be perfectly acceptable to say “attacked” right up to the moment someone says “you mean physically?” at which point the answer is “No”.

        Again, I’m going to redefine violating to mean, well, violating.

      • anonymousskimmer

        That’s why people use adverbs. I didn’t. You are far more gifted in the verbal realm than I am and should have realized that I was using the general term.

        You know the word “violate”, without modifiers, is far more general than “physically violate”. And that people can feel violated, and be violated, without physical abuse.

        You also know that in general, reifying language (distinct from logic), people say things such as “violating norms”, or “violating contracts” and don’t mean physical violation of these abstracts.

        Would you have been happier if I had said “abuse of power”, instead?

        Regardless, it is an attack on the person (his/her material income) which weakens the power of his fellow citizens, and thus which weakens the republic constituted of all citizens.

        Your nitpicking and wrong in your nitpicking. And I don’t get it other than a possible embarrassment of overly reading specifics into the generalized term I used.

      • educationrealist

        No, I’m flatly saying I don’t think Trump is particularly abusive, and thus talking about him violating people is absurd.

      • anonymousskimmer

        Now you’ve said it. You didn’t before.

        I disagree, many others who have been on the wrong side of him do too. So I’m done here.

        You are entitled to a wrong opinion.

  • anonymousskimmer

    you are

  • 2020 Election: Not Yesterday’s Enterprise | educationrealist

    […] Back in the early days of Trump’s presidency, I wrote: […]

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