As many people are, Gov. Dannel Malloy is appalled by President-elect Trump's selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for secretary of the U.S. Energy Department, since Perry, as a presidential candidate, pledged to abolish it -- that is, when he could remember the department at all. Perry's selection, Malloy says, is "contemptuous."
But then Trump's election itself is a gigantic gesture of contempt by many of those who voted for him.
Yes, in the popular vote for president Trump, nominally a Republican, trails Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, by around 2.8 million. But Clinton received only 48 percent of the popular vote, and a majority of the votes for minor presidential candidates, 5½ percent of the vote, probably would have gone for Trump if people had been forced to choose among the top two candidates. Clinton, President Obama's candidate, represented continuity with the Obama administration and most of those voters for minor candidates wanted change.
Since there will be more elections soon enough, those who are appalled by Trump's election and some of his Cabinet appointments might do well to try to understand the contempt he embodies.
Maybe it arises from the contemptibility of so many voters themselves, people Clinton disparaged as "deplorables" for their supposed racism and other prejudices, as well as their supposed ignorance. But many of them live in the previously Democratic states that threw the Electoral College to Trump -- Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin -- and four years ago many voted for Obama.
Or maybe the contempt felt by so many voters arises from the performance of the Obama administration. Even some leading Democrats acknowledge that living standards for the majority have been declining, and theoretically at least it is possible to resent the trend toward ever-larger, politically correct, special interest-serving, and dependence-inducing government without wishing harm to racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.
With certain nominees to head federal departments, the new president's contempt and arrogance may take him too far. Being narrowly divided between the political parties, the Senate will be in a good position to check him. If Trump's administration fails to improve conditions in the country, as the expiring administration has failed, the people themselves may check him at the next two elections.
But Trump did not spring forth out of nowhere; he did not even create himself. Rather Trump is a reaction, just as he will produce a reaction. As the liberal sloganeering goes, "This is what democracy looks like," even if this time liberals don't like it.
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HIMES IS TOO LATE ON THE WARS: Fearing that President-elect Trump will strive to get the country into more wars, Connecticut U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has introduced what he calls the Reclamation of War Powers Act. It would prevent deployment of the armed forces into hostilities without a declaration of war by Congress, similar congressional authorization, or an attack on the country or other national emergency.
These days, Himes says, "we operate in state of perpetual pseudo-war where neither the executive nor Congress is ultimately responsible. That has to end."
Valid as that criticism is, it has nothing to do particularly with Trump's ascension. While he is ill-tempered and reckless, Trump didn't get the country into and sustain its stupid imperial adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Lately those adventures have been sustained by President Obama, the head of Himes's own party. So Himes's legislation should have been introduced a long time ago.
Instead the congressman is turning against the wars only when a president from the opposing party is about to become responsible for them -- just as Democratic congressmen who supported the Vietnam War while a Democrat was president turned against it only when Richard Nixon, a Republican, took office in 1969.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.