Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sociologic Outlook

Stephen K. Bannon.  Need I say more?  Probably not.  Nevertheless, I shall.  I doubt that any of us seriously considered the possibility of a crypto-fascist dictating social policy in the USofA, but now it's time to get serious.  I know I swore off making predictions, but some things are pretty obvious:

It's unlikely that Bannon himself could care less about the right of women to have control over their own bodies, but it's important to a major segment of the Tr*mp coalition: Evangelicals.  Women's reproductive rights will be in serious trouble with any Tr*mp appointment to the Supreme Court, unless one of the sitting conservative Justices is too conservative to approve overturning a decision that's been in place since 1973.  As for birth control, protection from sexual assault, equal pay for equal work, etc., the Magic 8-Ball says, "Uh-oh!"  Opposition is mounting, but will it be enough?

Clearly, disenfranchisement of black and Latino voters through voter suppression will continue, especially since it worked so well in the recent election.  "Law & Order" policies in Republican dominated states and localities will breathe new life, and the prosecution of killer cops will continue to be distressingly rare.  The only bright spot may be some degree of criminal justice reform, since prisons are just too expensive for the tax-cut zealots.  Lobbyists for private prisons, though, continue to spend freely, claiming "cost savings" that don't exist.

The "huddled masses" will keep right on "yearning to breathe free."  While the "wall" will remain a figment of xenophobic imagination, Bannon's Breitbart followers and the National Border Control Council (the pro-Tr*mp union that represents border control agents) will keep up the pressure to expand Obama's already onerous deportation policy.  The budget deficits this will entail will be significant, leading to devastating cuts in funding to more productive areas of government.

The various permutations of gay and trans Americans can expect their rapid gains in civil rights to come to a screeching halt.  Although Tr*mp says that marriage equality is "a settled issue," presidential opinions don't count for much when a conservative Supreme Court issues its rulings.  Hopefully eighty-year-old Anthony Kennedy is in good health.  Meanwhile, the green light is lit and burning brightly as far as gay-bashings and attacks on the transgendered are concerned.

Look for state funding of private and religious schools, defunding of public education at both the K-12 and university levels, new lawsuits challenging affirmative action in admissions, and all federal aid to education provided in the form of block grants with no strings attached.  States will accelerate takeovers of "failing" schools, ensuring that they continue to fail.

Tr*mp's ideas for maintaining the popular parts of Obamacare while eliminating the rest is obviously untenable.  Forget about reining in Big Pharma.  Drug rehabilitation programs will succumb to Evangelical moralism, despite the enormous impact of the heroin epidemic on rural America.  Bannon probably would like to end CHIP, since that would lead to more deaths among the "mud people," but it's probably safe because Tr*mp is too much of an approval whore to countenance killing children.  Congress will delight in defunding the NIH and the NIMH.  Don't get sick!

Did I hear somebody say "block grants?"  The Earned Income Tax Credit is safe, but no longer likely to be expanded to childless families.

Season one of "Political Apprentice" will continue to earn high ratings on cable news.  Intellectuals and artists, both left and right, will be on their own.

What?  Are you kidding?

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