The Risk Of Limited Support: The Ronald, The Donald, The Congress and 2020

By

Leonard Zwelling

Ron DePinho never had a whole lot of meaningful support when he was president of MD Anderson. He squandered it quickly and only tended to shrink it with each revelation of nepotism, self-dealing and conflict of interest. For a while he skated on thin ice because he had the support of the Board of Regents and the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor who chose him. When the latter two figures visited campus and got a piece of the faculty’s mind, they both continued to ignore the problem and were soon each replaced. This gave The Ronald additional time for mischief until the furrier finally caught up with the leopard who wouldn’t change his spots. Finally, the Chancellor sheared DePinho of his job.

By the time The Ronald was gone, his support amounted to a trio of Executive Vice Presidents and a few scientists who he appointed. The EVPs are now gone, too along with a lengthening list of other executives. Soon a new president arrives and though expectations are high, he really would have to go out of his way to do worse than the last guy. In the end, Ron DePinho had no support and he was gone. (Now if only he would go. He’s like Hillary Clinton and can’t take a hint. He needs to leave Houston.)

President Trump has among the lowest approval ratings that a US president has ever had. He’s only a year into the job and his positive ratings hover in the high thirties. He has a tighter and tighter group of support around him as many Republican leaders have crossed swords with him already. He’s done nothing to increase his base of support, even within his own party. He’s just like DePinho—annoying, lying, and an embarrassment.

That being said, President Trump’s approval rating is orders of magnitude above that of the Congress. Americans look at the central legislative body of the world’s leading democracy as being completely dysfunctional. Not only can’t Democrats and Republicans work across the aisle, they can’t even work within their caucuses. With two Democratic parties (the Bernies and the Schumer/Pelosis) and three Republican parties (The Tea, The Traditional and the Trump), Trumps 38% plurality might be enough to carry the day.

Until and unless Congress begins to work like it used to to pass meaningful legislation using regular order to do so, Mr. Trump can safely run a maverick, perpetual tweet campaign, that may well be enough to stay in power.

That brings us to 2020 and all you out there who are hoping that 2018 will see the Dems retake the House, narrow the Senate lead of the GOP, and eventually put a Democrat back in the Oval Office in 2020. Don’t get too happy too fast.

It took almost six long years to rid MD Anderson of the cancer that was the DePinho Presidency. This was despite the fact that any thinking person knew The Ronald was trouble at the outset.

The same may be true for The Donald. Who is going to challenge him from within the Republican Party? No one. Who can do so from the Democratic Party? That remains to be seen. But if we truly have five different parties in the US now, 38% may just be enough to carry the electoral college again.

It took six years to get rid of Nixon. It took six to get rid of DePinho. It may well take that long to get rid of the current occupant of the White House unless Congress begins to do its job and the American people begin to do theirs and not give Trump a pass just because he’s not Hillary Clinton.

Leonard Zwelling