2016 election cabinet

Team of Deplorables

Monday, November 28, 2016 Michael Rubin

In the fall of 2005, Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin published her critically acclaimed book about the Abraham Lincoln cabinet, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.  The book focuses on President Lincoln's desire to fill his cabinet, not with loyalist, but with the best and brightest his party and the country had to offer.  The concept was so novel, because the country was more divided than in any point in American history.  The nation itself was being torn apart by the scourge of slavery.  Mr. Lincoln knew that he might not be able to prevent civil war, but he knew he needed the best minds he could muster to keep the nation whole.  This book was so popular that it helped inspire President Barack Obama's cabinet selections.

Photo Credit: resurgent/Twitter
While not every president since Mr. Lincoln has assembled an all-star cabinet, surely we are witnessing history as we watch President-elect Trump put together his brain trust.  For the most part, cabinet appointments are given to party loyalists, campaign insiders, career bureaucrats, and up and coming politicians.  Usually some regard is given to experience in the field in which the appointee would be the department head.  

This time though, Mr. Trump doesn't have the standard party loyalists.  Most of the loyalists were cool as best to the Trump campaign and therefore find themselves on the outs with incoming administration.  How about the campaign insiders?  Plenty of them to be found, but Mr. Trump ran a campaign with mainly political outsiders and fringe figures.  These people aren't your typical cabinet material.  Career bureaucrats you say?  Ah, Mr. Trump made a promise to "drain the swamp".  I fear these bureaucrats make up said "swamp".  Up and coming politicians?  Most seem eager to sit on the sidelines and let Mr. Trump succeed or fail on his own.  So where does that leave us?  We aren't seeing a second Team of Rivals, quite the contrary.  Oh no, this my friends, is the first ever Team of Deplorables. 

Yes, it seems Secretary Clinton was on to something when she famously said that half of Mr. Trump's supporters were a, "basket of deplorables".  Seems those same deplorables are the backbone of the new cabinet.  It started with, the (white) Nationalist former CEO of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist.  Then to fake news and conspiracy theory connoisseur Lt. General Mike Flynn as National Security Adviser.  It continued with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who was once deemed to racist to sit on the federal bench as Attorney General.  Right on to the amazingly inexperienced South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador.  How about school choice, and pro child labor advocate Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education?  Sure, why not?  Retired surgeon Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development Secretary?  Yeah, that makes perfect sense!  Oh, and this is only the beginning.

Elections have consequences and this one is no different in that regard.  Not only do we have a President-elect with no political experience, we now have the makings of the the least experienced and most fringe cabinet in history.  There are more selections coming from Mr. Trump and I for one hope that this trend doesn't continue.  I really wish that the administration would be made up of the best and brightest of this generation.  But wishes are not reality.  Oh no.  The reality of the situation is that a dangerously unprepared administration will take office on January 20, 2017 and sometime in 2021, Doris Kearns Goodwin will release what will become an acclaimed bestseller entitled, Team of Deplorables: The Political Ineptitude of Donald Trump.  Sounds like a real page turner.  

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