Compared even to impeachment-bound presidents like Nixon or Clinton, the menacing targets on Trump’s ample rear end are expanding – worsened by their Constitutional heft and huge political downsides. Highly significant, not one juicy, early Trump-sized scandal has gone away – instead getting amplified by convicted campaign thuggery.
If liable for only half the crimes and misdemeanors alleged, many popularly accepted (Russian complicity, obstruction, profiteering, lawless finance entanglements), Trump still bounds past more impeachment thresholds than any other president. Why not jumpstart 2018 by celebrating – something close to half the country already welcomes impeachment? That good cheer borders on the astonishing when considering the replacement – the clownishly humdrum, grimly ambitious Mike Pence.
Whereas Nixon took years to violate campaign laws, to lie and cover up crimes, then worked to punish “enemies” while obstructing justice, Trump notched all these with serial immediacy. No president competes with Trump’s muddled, untransparent financial finagling – confirming what matters above all is not what he knows but what he owes and to whom. No one matches his undisguised contempt for even the notion he and family are chockablock with conflicts of interest.
Despite Clinton’s tawdry excesses, he at least waited to trade cash for influence until he departed. No one before Trump so single-mindedly eyes political office as plucking golden apples, nor executes more media mayhem to facilitate “returns on investment” – just count the time, energy and alleged brilliance on the line.
So, here’s why I think Trump won’t have to run for re-election:
1) The Smoking Gun of Obstruction: By crudely firing Comey, Trump obstructed the spirit, if not justice itself, then openly confessed his own self-serving calculations to shield Flynn. What non-banana republic tolerates its discredited top dog demanding “loyalty” before firing a non-partisan investigator of that dog’s own malfeasance? Later he added literal personal insults to the injury. The bluntness of Trump’s confession make it game, set and match for bigly corruption. Good news coming, the Mueller Massacre should add fuel to every scandalous violation.
2) Divisively Clueless on Governance: Getting elected (thanks, Electoral College) doesn’t negate being a “moron,” nor prove you have a clue about acting presidential. Who’s made more of a mockery of being “president of all the people”? Trump’s equally clueless on the Washington swamp, hypocritically feeding the worst, greediest alligators. What about scorn for both parties, the good “establishment” and the bad, or bedrock agencies (the FBI, federal judiciary, let alone top intelligence agencies). That Trump believes in nothing (other than status and treasure) is bad enough. But decimating collective assumptions that unify any democracy (that reality exists, that we have a non-politicized judiciary) makes him a disruptive anarchist, not populist insurgent. Knowing so little (and about so much) is worsened only by his refusal to learn on the job: “governance” for Trump under duress comes down to inventing whoppers that hardly deflect intrusive scandals and gruesome failures.
3) What Smart Demagogue Plays Only to Shrinking Base? Is anything more suicidal if re-election matters, even keeping hard-won control of Congress? Rampaging erratically, as if loaded with permanent immunity, is a self-defeating delusion of epic proportions. When does disapproval by 2/3s or more not sound his death knell? All the billionaire money in the world won’t offset belligerently, even stupidly offending centrist swing voters in key states.
4) “Alternative Realities” Without Populist Payoffs: Fake populism won’t wash when you screw your own on health care and taxation, plus do nothing for either infrastructure funding or better paying jobs programs. How long will the base tolerate Trump grandstanding, wherein sound bite pandering obscures a void of real-world deliverables? Because fake reality eventually becomes real news, Trump lacks enough smarts to pull off his own blatantly infamous hustle. No idiot gets away with talking constant nonsense without irreversible exposure. It would take a political genius to pull off all the Trump cons which, aside from virtually undoable (the Wall, the Ban), inform his festering presidency.
5) Sexual Harassment Not Going Away: Just because Trump sleazed his way to winning doesn’t mean this explosive issue is dead and buried. Our positive Era of Harassment Exposure cannot leave its most prominent malefactor untouched. The key metric is awakened suburban women, convinced there’s hurtful fire behind the crassly boasted Trump smoke. Rank patriarchy is now the biggest media bulls-eye – and thus deep, undeniable character scars don’t evaporate. Already, hiding years of tax returns pales against denying sexual predations, worse still, attacking the victims as liars and threatening litigation that never comes.
6) Deadly Doom of Nepotism, especially when the family is more dim-witted, more oblivious and less slick than papa. America does honor family legacies, but not when kin keep slipping on bananas, rising up only to go splat again. Nothing like having a brood that reinforces your worst self-dealing proclivities. And as for touted claims about deal-making – “fahget-it,” as they say in Queens, NY. What even tiny prizes surface from all that Russian complicity, or attacks on judges, Gold Star families or the FBI, playing nice with China, even pandering on Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol? Boy, are we tired of so much winning – or what?
7) Foreign Affairs Debacles. Is chaos and policy/cabinet contradictions the new normal? Must not a president occasionally agree with his own State Dept.? Okay, Donald Deal-maker, name one overseas relationship or region that’s made America stronger or more trusted under your watch? European allies are scandalized, the Middle-east is worse, Syria is lost, and Iran is dangerously pissed. Could the North Korea mess be worse (short of war) after juvenile name-calling? How long will Trump’s war on science, plus defunding all-important research, not impoverish American interests while handing opportunities to China, India, and Europe? On Solar? Wind? Transportation? Flight and rocket technology? High-profit environmental and climate solutions? How long will princely CEOs tolerate squandered power, less market penetration and shredded geopolitical hegemony?
8) Unimpeachable Unpopularity. Is Trump so arrogant to think he’s outlawed bad electoral reactions? Not in VA or AL! When does losing one-third of support in nine months indicate a trend? How low will Trump go before the GOP chooses survival over slavish sycophancy? Here’s to the unprecedented, fairly non-partisan resistance that shouts, “enough is more than enough.” Even gobs of GOP millions, gerrymandering and voter suppression can’t impede an unstoppable tsunami.
9) Perpetual Nastiness is Nasty. On a good day, Trump’s a nasty piece of work, a defective know-it-all who lies badly, far too often, then refuses to correct, let alone apologize. Dumb fabrications aren’t just easy pickings but laden with sneering moralism. Judging those more worthy and better informed is growing thin: he claims to know the price of everything while not knowing the moral value of anything. A religious hypocrite, Trump the fundamentalists’ favorite appears devoid of (Christian) compassion, charity, or trustworthiness. Thus bigotry, arguably channeled from his racist father, erupts from his cauldron of regressive mental stereotypes.
10) Trumpery Contrary to What Makes America Great. Trump seems hell-bent on reversing the idea of what truly makes America great: our vibrant, prosperity-serving melting-pot wherein immigrant origins do not determine choice, citizenship or success (slave and Native populations aside, hardly immigrants). Trump’s white, allegedly Christian nationalism defaults to hardcore racial, religious and ethnic tests for Americanism, an impeachable offense IMO. If Trump stays in power more than the minimum, that reinforces a reactionary lurch that favors the Trump-Bannon-Moore betrayal of our higher angels. Exiling Trump before 2020 can begin to re-establish the glory of American tolerance, on which depends our moral progress and prosperity. When a huge critical mass rejects Trumpery for what it is – a desecration of the best of America – pressure against Trump will gain inexorable momentum. Four years of having to endure gross unfitness is a long and treacherous time.
Happy New Year.