Economist: Trump: Will the West Survive

In Warsaw, America’s president barely mentions democracy

 Earlier American administrations defined “the West” with reference to values such as democracy, liberty and respect for human rights. Mr Trump and many of his advisers, including the speech’s authors, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, apparently see it as rooted in ethnicity, culture and religion.
.. When George W. Bush visited Poland for his first presidential visit, in 2001, he referred to democracy 13 times. When Barack Obama spoke in Warsaw in 2014, he mentioned democracy nine times. For Mr Trump, once sufficed.
.. Mr Trump invoked the “blood of patriots”, and the ties of family and God. The rhetoric sounded strikingly similar to that used by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party that governs Poland, and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
..The crowd hurled insults at opposition politicians, booing when Lech Walesa, the anti-communist hero and a critic of the current government, left the square.
.. According to polling by Pew, just 23% have confidence in America’s president to do the right thing, down from 58% under Mr Obama.
.. At a news conference, he insisted that no one knows for sure whether Russia interfered with America’s presidential election (contradicting the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies).
.. Still, Mr Trump did unambiguously endorse NATO’s Article 5
.. But the greatest reason for Poland’s government to be delighted with Mr Trump was what he did not mention: PiS’s undermining of democratic institutions to entrench its own power. The party has stuffed the civil service and the diplomatic corps with loyalists and has weakened the independence of the judiciary. It has transformed the national broadcaster into a mouthpiece of the state. Independent journalists face new restrictions. The European Commission has warned the government that its reforms pose “a systemic risk to the rule of law.”

Park Rangers to the Rescue

This small act of historical clarification by the keepers of our sacred sites and shared spaces would have been no big deal, had not the response from the new president sounded like an edict from the Dear Leader. A gag order on public servants was issued, and the National Park Service tweet on crowd size vanished, replaced by a picture of a bison.

.. But what is different with this administration, from that very first attempt to snuff a truth about the size of the crowd on the lovingly restored National Mall grass, is they’re trying to institutionalize lying.

.. These employees are protected by Civil Service laws, including many hatched by Teddy Roosevelt.

The Destruction of Progressive Wisconsin

Last month, Mr. Walker signed a bill that allowed corporations to donate directly to political parties. On the same day, he signed a law that replaced the state’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, a body that is responsible for election oversight and enforcing ethics codes, with two commissions made up of partisan appointees

.. In 1905, Wisconsin became the third state to enact Civil Service reform, helping establish it as a national model for clean government. The reforms were one of the many achievements of Gov. Robert M. La Follette Sr., who later founded the Progressive Party and ran for president on its ticket. But Mr. Walker’s new Civil Service bill replaces anonymous exams with résumés, opening the door to political or racial bias that would prove almost impossible to detect because personnel files are not part of the public record.

.. it centralizes hiring within the Department of Administration, the most politicized agency in the state’s government. Incoming résumés would be judged by one of the governor’s appointees.

.. By adding the Civil Service bill, Mr. Walker brings Wisconsin closer to the achievement of a long-sought goal of the libertarian right: universal “at-will employment.”

.. In 2011, Mr. Walker assured state workers that they did not need their unions because of Wisconsin’s Civil Service rules. “In Wisconsin, the rights that most workers have have been set through the Civil Service system, which predates collective bargaining by several generations,” he said. “That doesn’t change. All the Civil Service protections — the strongest Civil Service system in the country — still strongly remains intact.”

.. In December, Senator Cruz encouraged his supporters to relieve Mr. Walker of his campaign debt, generating speculation that he might become the vice-presidential choice for the like-minded Mr. Cruz.