SCOTUS

Trump’s failings as a man mean he doesn’t get to “count” as a president

If you need proof that Donald Trump is not a good president, today’s decision by the Supreme Court is another proof point…although perhaps not for the reasons you are thinking.

As explained by the Wall Street Journal, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 not to issue a ruling on the controversial decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Instead, the decision was kicked back down to the lower courts for further action. Given the deadline to finalize the 2020 census questionnaire, this move leaves in doubt whether a citizenship question will be included.

Full disclosure: I’m not a Trump supporter, I didn’t vote for him, and I’ve never really cared for him. He’s always struck me as a smarmy, egotistical, grown-up trust fund child. (Perhaps I should say “aged” instead of “grown-up”.) That said, I do like a few of the things he’s done while in office. Two examples are tax reform and the general move to rein in the overregulation of previous administrations. I find it hard to argue that those moves have not greatly contributed to the economic upsurge since he took office. Moreover, I like the proposed citizenship question on the census. It makes no sense that a country should not know…or at least attempt to know… the actual number of citizens and non-citizens living within its borders. The opposition to the question, primarily from Democrats, progressives and leftists, strikes me as self-serving tripe. They claim to be opposed on “moral grounds”. The fact that it a citizenship question would likely reduce the electoral and congressional power held by deep blue states such as California New York is just a coincidence. 🙄🙄🙄

Like much of the left’s rhetoric involving illegal immigrants, immigration and citizenship, their slogans about people’s inalienable humanity and “personhood” are really just cover for “We need to swell the voter rolls with potential supporters this way because our ideas are unpalatable to the majority of actual U.S. citizens.”

Of course, any matter of immigration gets to the heart of why Trump is a fundamentally flawed president. Our immigration system is broken and in dire need of reform. But despite that and the prima facie case that can be made for including a citizenship question on the census, the Trump administration’s ability to act is hamstrung by Trump being…well, Trump. While I don’t like the decision the court issued today, the fact that they or anyone would look askance at any move by Trump involving immigration or citizenship is understandable. That sort of thing tends to happen when you open your presidential campaign with a speech that skips racist dog whistles and goes straight to racist bullhorns.

Trump’s ability to be an effective chief executive in the public sector is minimal at best. Today census question setback is just the latest proof of that.

Compounding the problem is the fact that a figure as loathsome as Trump is naturally going to have difficulty recruiting the best people for his cabinet. Enter Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has done a less than stellar job in preparing the administration’s case regarding the citizenship question (see the article linked above). I guess we shouldn’t expect too much intellectual prowess from Wilbur, given his previous demonstration of same vis a vis the Campbell Soup can fiasco when tariffs were announced.

I understand why a lot of people voted for Trump. The urge to shoot a colossal middle finger to the establishment during the last election was understandable, particularly given that the Democrats chose to nominate one of the most unelectable, unlikable people in the world besides Trump himself. But politics in today’s polarized nation requires skill if you’re going to get anything done. And while Trump has shown himself at times to be a skilled campaigner, his ability to be an effective chief executive in the public sector is minimal at best.

Today census question setback is just the latest proof of that.