COMMENTARY: All but the shouting is over in election

That the mainstream media opposed the election of Donald J. Trump goes without saying. What is so interesting now is that, even though the mainstream media’s best attempts to defeat him were rejected by the voters, nearly everything Trump does comes in for criticism or derision.

So, also, it is with that half of the United States who voted for Hillary Clinton. They can’t accept it. Some cry. Others vow massive resistance — a concept originally heard in the racist South in the 1950s crying against the U.S. Supreme Court’s desegregation decisions.

What is so interesting is to watch these folks’ heads exploding over some of Mr. Trump’s cabinet selections, men and women who are determined to reverse some of President Obama’s work the past eight years. They complain too many are billionaires. Yup, they are. Men and women of great accomplishment in almost all cases.

You would think the progressives won this year’s elections, rather than losing from the White House to the courthouse. A few months ago, one notion was that Mrs. Clinton would defeat Trump in a landslide. And that this landslide would carry Democrats into a majority in the U.S. Senate and might even oust enough Republicans to take the majority in the House. Rule, Democrats, like in 2009-10. Or perhaps more like 1933-46.

Reid K. Beveridge

But the opposite happened. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from the way progressives talk, or rather shout, these days. In 2009, when conservatives wondered about some early decisions, Mr. Obama said, “Elections matter. I won.” And so he had. He was entitled to pursue his policies, and he did.

So, this year, Mrs. Clinton did not win. She won 20 states (the number includes the District of Columbia, which she won with more than 90 percent of the vote) and lost 31. She lost Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, all states she should have won. In the Midwest, she won only Illinois and Minnesota, losing every single other state between Maryland and Colorado. She won every state on the West Coast and the entire northeast from Delaware to Maine.

So, perhaps it should not be surprising that the House and Senate have elected leaders from the left and right coasts. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York City will be Senate minority leader. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco will be House minority leader. In his challenge to Mrs. Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Youngstown, Ohio, had a point.

The Democrats have become a coastal party with mighty few winners in between, which result in the big TV networks and the big newspapers railing against Mr. Trump and his decisions.

But they are broadcast from New York or published in New York, D.C., Chicago and California. So, New York readers don’t object to its anti-Trump pronouncements because, as that venerable Upper East Side lady said of Ronald Reagan in 1981, “I don’t know how he got elected. I never heard of anyone who voted for him.”

In her world, she probably hadn’t.

Since almost all the mainstream media originates in the Northeast United States, a solidly blue area, it is not surprising that Trump opponents get a big megaphone. If you live or work in New York City or Washington, D.C., it may seem normal to you to rail against Mr. Trump and his nominees for cabinet positions.

Heads are exploding over Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, to be attorney general. And Oklahoma Attorney Gen. Scott Pruitt, who has participated in numerous suits against the Environmental Protection Agency, to be EPA administrator. Or former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who once vowed to abolish it, to be secretary of the Department of Energy.

And then, there is the nomination of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon/Mobil, to be secretary of state. Progressives assert Tillerson is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that Tillerson sometimes made oil deals counter to U.S. national interests.

Two points: First, Tillerson was chairman of an oil company, not a U.S. Foreign Service officer. His mandate was to make money in the oil business. His duty was to Exxon/Mobil’s owners, not to the Obama administration. It seems fairly logical and entirely within reason to expect that when he is President Trump’s diplomatic envoy, his loyalty will be different from what it has been as a corporate leader.

Second, the “friend” part. Tillerson and Exxon/Mobil drill and produce oil in Russia. If he wishes to do that, he has to have some kind of agreeable relationship with that nation’s leaders. He may be cordial, may even superficially friendly. But that’s different from being a friend. It is well said that “nations don’t have friends. Nations have interests.”

The U.S. Senate will begin the confirmation process on Mr. Trump’s appointments any day now. It should be interesting. Probing questions can be expected and welcomed by Republicans.

In past transitions, it has been more or less conventional understanding that a president, any president, gets the cabinet secretaries he wants unless there is some overweening reason to reject them.

Further, since then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., engineered the rules change, there can be no filibuster against cabinet appointments. With Vice President Mike Pence, 50 votes confirms.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reid K. Beveridge has covered politics in Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Delaware and Washington, D.C. He is now retired at Broadkill Beach.

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