If you're a liberal, you've probably had this experience in the last couple of days. You manage not to think about Donald Trump for a few blissful minutes, and then you're reminded of some detail — something he promised, something he said he'd do that you hadn't even thought of in a while. Oh no, he's going to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement! Jeezus, he's going to defund Planned Parenthood! And then the despair settles over you again, deeper and sharper than it was before.
I'm sorry to make things even worse, but wait until you get a load of the people Trump wants to populate the executive branch with. It won't help.
Let's run some of the early contenders down, shall we? These are obtained from leaked documents and news reports quoting people around Trump.
Rudy Giuliani, possible attorney general. From saying that "I do not believe that the president loves America" to delivering a screaming rant at the Republican convention that was so terrifying few would have been surprised if at the end of it he had unhinged his jaw and swallowed a muskrat, Giuliani has shown himself to be one of the most repellent characters in contemporary American politics. So it seems appropriate to make him the highest ranking law-enforcement official in the country.
Chris Christie, possible attorney general. Time for some traffic problems in D.C.! Christie has been running Trump's transition planning, which keeps him away from New Jersey, where his approval rating has plummeted to an extraordinary 20 percent. With a full year left in his term he might actually hit single digits, which is a good reason to get out of Trenton while he can do so without an angry mob chasing him.
Jeff Sessions, possible attorney general or secretary of defense. An Alabama senator whose lifelong cause is opposition to civil rights and who has, let's say, a colorful history on race, Sessions was an early Trump supporter, no doubt drawn to the president-elect's deep concern for the fortunes of white people.
Ben Carson, possible secretary of health and human services. Carson's ignorance about policy and penchant for bizarre conspiracy theories make him a great candidate for an agency with an annual budget exceeding $1 trillion. Perhaps with those resources he can finally prove that the Big Bang is a myth, Satan told Charles Darwin to come up with the the theory of evolution, and Planned Parenthood is a conspiracy to kill black babies (yes, those are all things he believes).
Newt Gingrich, possible secretary of state. Newt Gingrich. Seriously. Newt. Gingrich. The man who impeached President Clinton for cheating on his wife with a young staffer while he himself was cheating on his wife with a young staffer. Failed presidential candidate. Wacky Fox pundit. Zoo afficionado. That Newt Gingrich.
Sheriff David Clarke, possible secretary of homeland security. Clarke, an early Trump supporter who is one of the few law enforcement officers who wants more guns in private hands, believes that Black Lives Matter and ISIS will soon be working together. He recently showed his commitment to civil liberties by responding to peaceful anti-Trump protests by saying, "These temper tantrums from these radical anarchists must be quelled. There is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people."
Rick Scott, possible HHS secretary. Before the reptilian Florida governor was trying to force welfare recipients to pee into a cup, he gained experience in the health care field as the head of the hospital company Columbia/HCA. But he was also in charge when it committed what at the time was the largest health care fraud in U.S. history, so he could probably teach the founder of Trump University a thing or two.
Sam Brownback, possible agriculture secretary. There would be something fitting in Brownback's appointment, because the Kansas governor has laid waste to his state with the kind of experiment in conservative policymaking Trump plans to bring to the whole country. Brownback's right-wing dream of tax and regulatory cuts was supposed to provide a national model for conservative governance, and boy has it: The economy has been weak and the state government's finances have been crippled, leading to vicious budget cuts and an internal war within the Kansas GOP.
Michael Flynn, possible secretary of defense or national security adviser. Flynn, a former high-ranking defense intelligence official, seems to have become something of an extremist nut; in his convention speech he charged weirdly that "Obama chose to conceal the actions of terrorists like Osama bin Laden" and led chants of "Lock her up!"
Steven Mnuchin, possible secretary of the treasury. Mnuchin, the finance chair of Trump's campaign, is a former Goldman Sachs banker. Take that, establishment!
Jamie Dimon, possible secretary of the treasury. What, an obscure Wall Streeter isn't enough outside-the-box thinking? Then how about Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase and the closest thing Wall Street has to a king? The Trump team has reportedly already asked Dimon if he's interested in being treasury secretary. Those working class voters sure have a voice in Washington now.
Harold Hamm, possible secretary of energy. The current leader of the Energy Department is Ernest Moniz, who has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford and has overseen an explosion in the development and deployment of renewable energy. Hamm is a billionaire oilman. Because Americans want change.
Forrest Lucas, possible secretary of the interior. Lucas is, you guessed it, an oilman, because that's who we want overseeing America's public lands; he also has a side hobby battling animal rights groups, particularly on initiatives to ban puppy mills. His wife, who co-founded his company, once wrote on Facebook, "I'm sick and tired of minorities running our country! As far as I'm concerned, I don't think that atheists (minority), Muslims (minority) or any other minority group has the right to tell the majority of the people in the United States what they can and cannot do here." So they should fit right in with the Trump administration.
Myron Ebell, possible environmental protection administrator. Ebell, a climate denier from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, is already working on Trump's transition team. So if you have some toxic waste you want to dump in a nearby stream, just wait a few months.
Sarah Palin, possible secretary of keepin' it real and tellin' those elitist liberals where they can shove it. Actually, Palin has been mentioned for interior, but any position would do, to be honest. The star of Sarah Palin's Alaska (canceled), the proprietor of the blockbuster online Sarah Palin Channel (defunct), the straight-talkin'est half-term governor you ever did meet. Hire that woman, Donald.
Those are just some of the names that have been mentioned so far; there will no doubt be others, perhaps even more appalling. But if you want to throw your own hat in the ring, you can apply here.