Trump slump sabotages Moscow Mitch’s thuggery
Political suicidal is anything but painless, or quick. Trump has finally done himself in, indicted by his own craven self-dealing — mismanaged in an especially stupid manner. The great truth is that, however appalling, Ukraine cannot be the only such disgraceful national betrayal in three years.
As the Ukraine scandals expand, dwarfing in seriousness all prior impeachment inquiries, his presidency is fatally broken — toast in terms of legislative wins. Sure, his outrageous rampage can plunder on, for Trump’s “genius” forever finds new ways to break the law, violate his oath and betray the office.
But the big cat is out of the bag. Trump’s undeniable witches brew of Ukrainian crimes — bullying/blackmail/election abuses/obstruction of justice and coverup — spotlight once again how he grossly shames the presidency, the government and the country. Really, did the most corrupt president ever need another monumental disgrace to dramatize this walking, talking, insatiably self-serving time bomb?
So, the presidency aside (even if Pence takes over), the 2020 focus should be on Senate control. The longer top Republican senators refuse to isolate themselves from Trump’s never-ending misadventures, the greater the party damage. What was an improbable prospect only weeks ago — Democrats retaking the Senate — increases in direct proportion to the severity and duration of the Trump train wreck. Hear, hear: investigate everything but don’t worry when or if there’s a House impeachment vote until well into next year. The Trump poison now threatens to spread his illegitimacy party wide — and that sets up a Democratic rout, from the top down.
Time is not Trump’s ally
If Trump simply holds on, rife with knee-jerk, infantile slanders against “treasonous” critics, the beat goes on. If he stonewalls against the now merciless, deserving punishment befitting an illegitimate president, both he and Republicans will pay the price. And if he takes too long — or refuses — to resign, then we’ll play the game of how low can this presidency go, in credibility and approval numbers. Even if VP Pence eventually takes over, this rightwing zealot (unelectable on his own) inherits a corrupt throne, especially if he’s further implicated in the Ukraine mess. And there is sideways good news for progressives: if Biden (however unfairly) is tarnished by all the maelstrom of rhetoric, then Elizabeth Warren, the best Democratic campaigner so far, takes front-runner status — without a whiff of scandal in office.
In short, when 95% of Senate Republicans stand mutely by their buffoon, or like Lindsay Graham spout “nothing-burger” foolery on Ukraine, they prompt full guilt by association. As lackey senators refuse to criticize (let alone separate from) manifest high crimes, 2020 Senate candidates wither. More than a dozen House Rethugs are retiring rather than run in 2020.
History is replete with electoral sweeps where presidential coattails cause party routs. The opposite effect — like magnetic repulsion — happens, too, as when Nixon badly impaired the Republican Party, elevating the unknown, outsider Carter. Weeks ago, Wash Post columnist Max Boot captured reality then: “Trump is dragging Republicans deeper into the fever swamps of climate denialism, nativism, protectionism and isolationism.” That was yesterday. Now, thanks to the Ukraine/Trump botch (and there is no “Biden scandal”), we can add criminal misdemeanors, if not a mind-boggling misjudgment about the risk/reward ratio.
Who thinks rightwing senators, many of whom are reportedly aghast at Trump shenanigans, will loudly sound the alarms? Trump (and FOX) now own the party, professionals be damned, under the sway of followers blind to law, ethics, fair play or the Constitution. Here we have a shamelessly corrupt, scandal-riven presidency, an icon of impunity, who devastates as treason all dissent that questions this genius. When the Trump Scam ends, and that appears sooner rather than later, guess what happens to suckered loyalists? Senate candidates in 2020, already under the gun, go down with the ship, or get tarred, feathered and exiled, forever stained by collusion with the Donald. Collusion with Russia is nothing compared to collusion as a discredited Trump crony.
Between rocks and harder rocks
Were the Senate not to convict (if impeachment gets that far), then outraged voters in 2020 can “convict” Senate candidates for both stupidity (aiding and abetting the deranged) plus acquiescence to corruption — aiding and abetting the Great Abuser. I’d almost feel sorry for manipulated rightwing senators if they weren’t so immune to reality by missing the handwriting on the wall. How now does mindless, uncritical support for Trump look on career resumes?
Looking ahead, if Trump acted with such outlandish impunity with Ukraine (at best a second-level ally), what says there aren’t more land mines primed to explode? Does any sane person for a moment think Ukraine is the only yet undiscovered, unmitigated disaster? Is a president so bereft of awareness he would openly blackmail a newly-elected Ukrainian president, instead of having an underling (one less conspicuous and smarter than Giuliani) to do such dirty work?
As transparent to all but suckered Trumpers from day one. this is a blundering, astonishingly criminal presidency that continually broadcasts an unprecedented range of sins sandwiched by utter contempt for law, history, and accountability. Finally, heavy-duty accountability has reared its necessary, predictable, moral head — and Trump appears cornered, desperate and without defenses. Blustering slurs against accusers fail when disgraces eviscerate your credibility. Attacking critics honing in on your own self-revealed, bullying threats is no smarter than lying every other breath.