Opinion: Politics are hard to follow (but you should try anyway)

Nicholas Hunter

Nicholas Hunter

Last semester, I took on my first job, writing on this very page — mostly — about politics. I have no shortage of opinions about the past year in politics, especially regarding President-elect Donald Trump.

But since the election has come and passed, opinion sections have transitioned from detailing the many reasons why Trump could never win to how it was that he won, and all the things he will do wrong.

But after over two months of Trump remaining the president-elect, with only days until his inauguration, the conversation hasn’t remained focused on what is happening now.

In large part, that’s because politics are confusing and complex, and as Trump’s move into the presidency becomes tangible, it isn’t as simple as espousing theory on his next move.

His moves are happening right now.

Beyond his tweets about Alec “not funny” Baldwin, “Hillary flunky” Meryl Streep and the “failing” New York Times, Trump is making a lot happen.

He is currently pushing for quick confirmation of his heavily criticized cabinet picks — a move made by President Barack Obama, among many recent presidents — to allow Trump to take action as soon as he officially takes office.

Trump’s appointee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is known to currently have over $500 million in assets invested in China and Russia, which is seen by many as a major conflict of interest. Also, his pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has a history of accused racism, and at one point has called the ACLU and NAACP “un-American.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg: nearly every pick Trump has made either has some sort of checkered past or conflicts of interest regarding the position for which they have been nominated.

And despite this controversy, due to a Republican-majority Senate (who confirms presidential appointees) and deep partisan lines, they will likely all be confirmed with little fanfare. Nobody on the Republican side is willing to openly criticize these questionable and, frankly, worrisome nominations. This sends a message to many people (including Republican citizens) that no real issue exists. In the realm of international politics, another story is developing.

An intelligence briefing was released on Jan. 6 detailing Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

In the report, this statement was made: “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

The report also stated that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” and that “the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” 

Nicholas Hunter is a columnist, contact him [email protected].