A lot has been happening behind the fog of distraction created by the never-ending Trump scandals. American democracy has been under siege since day one, but the atrocious actions committed by the president and his allies have gone unnoticed, largely buried under an avalanche of Trump-related news.
As Political Dig previously reported, on the morning of May 12, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed that he had instructed federal prosecutors to begin pursuing lengthier prison sentences for drug offenders.
It was a draconian change in approach that flew in the face of a growing bipartisan agreement on sentencing reform.
“He’s completely discarded what has been an emerging consensus about how best to keep the country safe,” said Matthew Miller, a former Department of Justice spokesman. “One of the most extreme voices in the country on criminal justice policy just happened to be put into the most important job for shaping its future.”
However, with the Russia scandal in full swing, the move was largely ignored by the mainstream media.
Just hours after Sessions’ policy was revealed, the president tweeted that he may have taped conversations with his recently-fired FBI director, James Comey. With less than 140 characters, Washington was abuzz again over Trump’s potential ties to Russia, which Comey had been investigating.
This is a Machiavellian strategy used by corrupt governments: Distract and Destroy.
The Trump administration has seemed to make more damage when the epicenter of action is placed in an incoherent tweet by the president or any other distracting news.
As noted by HuffPost, this is a defining feature of the Trump administration: While scandal and squabble, palace intrigue and provocative tweets suck much of the oxygen out of the room ― and leave the impression of mass government disfunction ― a wide array of fundamentally Trump-minded reform is taking place.
“The idea that Trump isn’t getting anywhere is wrong,” said Grover Norquist, the longtime anti-tax advocate. “All of this smoke is missing the steady progress that the modern Republican Party is achieving.”
The president’s retrenchment will have immense, generations-long geopolitical ripple effects. Yet the media obsesses over the fallout from Trump’s bizarre Twitter typo the night before.
All of this smoke is just a distraction from the dangerous policies being implemented by the Trump administration.
On regulatory policy, Trump’s impact has far outpaced the coverage it’s often received, The Huffington Post notes.
And there’s more:
• He’s made it harder for workers to set up retirement accounts and has delayed the implementation of workplace safety rules. He repealed a regulation protecting workers from wage theft and allowed employers with spotty labor records to get government contracts.
• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has hit the brakes on a rule that would require firms to report worker injury data online. Trump has given coal companies permission to dump debris into local streams and canceled requirements for reporting methane emissions. Both the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines have been allowed to proceed, and coal companies have been allowed to again lease on public lands.
• Trump has made moves that will fundamentally alter the way our economy operates and individuals live their lives. His appointment of Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission is one of them. Pai is poised to dismantle net neutrality rules, moving away from treating online content as a public utility and toward a system that allows cable and telecom industry interests to control content and traffic. “That appointment,” Norquist said, “is [determining] 16 percent of the economy.”
• Deportations of undocumented immigrants have grown steadily under Trump’s watch, especially among noncriminals.
• Trump has had a profound impact on women’s health. He drastically expanded the so-called global gag rule, restricting a larger pool of funding from groups that mention or promote abortion, and he is poised to gut a mandate requiring employers to cover birth control for employees, broadening exemptions to the requirement that extend well beyond religious-affiliated groups.
These are just the domestic consequences of Trump’s presidency. On foreign affairs, his reach is far greater and restraint more limited.
Don’t get me wrong, Americans aren’t making a mistake by focusing on the Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election, because it is potentially the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. But it’s also time for voters to keep an eye on domestic policy, and RESIST.