Surprise, surprise — a president-elect who ran a hugely problematic campaign has nominated what is so far the whitest, most male cabinet that the country has seen since the Soviet Union was still a country and Taylor Swift was born. This is a big step backward, especially after President Barack Obama's notably diverse cabinet (and don't even get me started on Justin Trudeau's) and, unfortunately, Americans of color will be affected by this mostly-white line of succession.
President-elect Donald Trump's famous unpredictability is a funny thing. It's gotten to a point where every new, insane tweet that might have been surprising in the past is now just business as usual. The makeup of this cabinet, also, is not surprising at all. It would take a terrible, terrible calamity to befall the line of succession before a person of color would step into the office of president (Ben Carson as the secretary of housing and urban development), and directly after him would be a woman of color — Elaine Chao, the proposed secretary of transportation, who was the first Asian-American woman to hold a cabinet position under President George W. Bush.
No one, of course, wishes for the sort of national tragedy that would actually bring the line of succession into the spotlight. However, it's important for very different reason: All of these people will now hold very important jobs in the country. Here are just a few of the ways that this could affect people.
1. It's A Step Backward In Public Perception
Remember when Obama was elected, and there were tearful celebrations across the country and all over the world, many of them minorities who were thrilled to see a huge leap forward? Yeah, that's done now. In some ways, this can be seen as a natural reaction to the win for progress that came eight years ago; it shouldn't be seen as a defeat, just a bump in the road. But it's a huge reminder that there is a lot of work yet to do.
2. It's More Proof Of Trump's "I'll Be A President For All Americans" Lie
In Trump's acceptance speech, he closed out one of the most divisive campaigns in history by saying that he would "be a president for all Americans." He claims that he's just surrounding himself with the best people, but it really says something about him and the way he wants to govern the country if the people who he thinks are the best are almost uniformly white and almost uniformly male.
3. It Puts Women And People Of Color On Their Guard
What evidence does anyone have that a white, male, and insanely rich president and cabinet will do everything they can to help those who don't match their own demographic profile? So much for draining the swamp, so much for taking power away from the billionaire class. This is a warning, loud and clear, for anyone who wants to keep the arrow of progress moving forward. This is an invitation to stand up and fight as hard as possible, because there's no one representing you at the top if you don't happen to be an heiress.
When Trump takes office on Jan. 20 and these picks actually start getting confirmed, additional effects will undoubtedly arise. For now, at least, there's some time to prepare.