During presidential campaigns, candidates make lots of promises regarding what they will do if elected.
Donald Trump was no exception, even if his promises were odder and more indecipherable than most.
For example, whereas the other candidates put forth specific plans for boosting the economy, Trump mostly just promised he would do things that were "tremendous," "classy," and "huge." He assured us that "everybody will love" his plans and that they would miraculously end ideological disagreements in this country.
But given the lack of Trump's specificity, or even coherence, it is difficult to speculate what a promise from him actually means.
In terms of government reform, he has promised to "drain the swamp," which, based on the appointments he's made since entering the White House, apparently means he intends to drain the swamp directly into his cabinet room.
Similarly, Trump has also promised to "clean house" at some of the major federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Again, it is difficult to know what this will mean until we see how it fully unfolds. But if Trump's transition and first weeks in office are any indication, this house cleaning will be very bad for America.
It's important to note that federal agencies weren't established for kicks and giggles. They were created to protect us from predatory private interests and to address very real problems.
The EPA, for example, was created to protect us from corporate pollution and ensure that our air and water are clean. More recently, it inherited the critical mission of leading the fight against climate change.
The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for our social safety net. The National Transportation Safety Board ensures that our highways, rails, and skies are safe for travelers.
So far, Trump has seemingly picked cabinet members based on how aggressively they have opposed the very missions they are being hired to carry out.
EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt is a conspiracy theorist and climate-change denier who has spent his professional career suing the very agency he has been nominated to head. Tom Price, now the head of HHS, is a fierce critic of Obamacare and is openly hostile to the social safety net. And Ben Carson, the HUD nominee, has in his lifetime paid as much attention to housing issues as Mick Jagger has to magnesium extraction.
We've already heard talk from administration officials about slashed budgets and massive layoffs. Further, we've heard the cabinet picks and relevant transition officials disparage federal agencies that were created to protect the American people.
Given all of this, it is difficult to see how Trump's efforts to clean house will do anything but result in a dirtier, more unfair, more inequitable, less safe, and less free America. This push is among the most disturbing of Trump's early actions. And that is truly saying something.
State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) is the national president of Americans for Democratic Action (www.adaction.org).