What an excruciating waste will be the Trump deviation if it does not take down the craven, unprincipled, past due Republican Party! That would be the permanent, democracy-saving payoff to offset in part the Trump nightmare. Otherwise, a nation rife with broken systems (what else would have spawned Trumpery?) will surely have squandered a crisis. I affirm, along with savvy Republican strategist, Rick Wilson, “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” Why should the party Trump crudely hijacked be immune from apocalyptic downfalls?
Today’s carnage proves how shockingly vulnerable are our political foundations, especially on checks and balances, let alone removing the unfit. We now endure what few ever sought to know: how to disable America. Only when a scoff-off lawbreaker goes over the line do we realize where critical, structural (less visible) boundaries lie. As an old friend and top private detective once quipped, “we only know what ‘too far’ means when someone goes too far.” Trump will break every norm until stopped cold — and mock all adult resistance in the meantime. Eventually, the world will observe, with shrieking certainty, that pride goeth before the fall. Trump epitomizes the indefensible fool who ignites his own nemesis.
Though the right still dominates many (smaller) state governments, a blue wave solidifying Democrats is surging, even in curious places. Since 2016, Trump’s electoral might withers: Alabama, House majority, Kentucky, and Louisiana, among others. As in California, this shift has legs. Virginia is the latest reversal and overall more prominent Democrats reign in red states than Republicans in blue.
All over but the shouting
What’s all over but the literal rightwing shouting— and what looms as Trump electoral nullification. The Senate will not only refuse to convict: it will, as with abused Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, trivialize the mandated trial, falling over backwards to deliver the final Trump delusion: not just not guilty but innocent. And worse still, not just innocence but the martyrdom of a saint: failure to convict will buttress the rarest elements on earth: Trump’s virtuous character, good intentions, and good faith. In the short run, the bad guys win, going away.
Potential good outcomes offset this disheartening news. Trump and the Senate could overplay this slam-dunk, fumbling and turning the process into a self-defeating charade. That disgrace would cement Trump’s fate (were he to lose convincingly in 2020), even the Republican Senate (and as with Bloomberg, centrist, Never-Trump Republicans will eventually emerge). That would prove how a discredited Trump, despite the cheerleading, could scar Republicans beyond Goldwater or Nixon, Gingrich or George W., even Cheney.
In fact, single personality cults are tricky to sustain and in our politics fairly rare. No mere Republican politician, with a real record and the remnants of mushy principles, could replace this anti-politician, anti-government, anti-taxes, anti-minority, anti-overseas allies, and anti-regulation — but pro-Putin, pro-dictator, disorder-loving misfit.
Certainly not the pallid Pence. Or servile senators like Lindsay Graham or Ron Johnson. McConnell and others will have enough trouble winning re-election. Name any Republican and/or fellow crook linked with Trump who will not share his departing stench? And if Trump the Great Corrupter falls from grace,, for how long will rightwing partisans at risk stick with Trump simply out of fear of alienating the base? Even FOX doesn’t have that much power.
What the entrenched Republican party will have to resolve is precisely the Trump propaganda that elected him:
1) if the entire “rigged system” (define as you like) is corrupt, don’t we need more masters of corruption to represent the base’s interests? The GOP conundrum: hacks rule; expertise is crushed, cynicism reigns supreme.
2) since politics is reduced to war by other means, must the GOP not sustain the Trump mantra, “you’re either with us or the enemy against us,” thus dividing all between slavish loyalists vs. treasonous, immoral villains?
3) if craven lawless self-interest is the end that justifies all means, as Trump teaches, how do Republicans counter this philosophy with programs adn spending that might benefit even the 40% loyalists?
4) finally, because our democratic, Constitutional status depends on good faith (implied social contracts, trustworthy norms, moral/peer pressure, legal check/balances), how do Republicans, a shrunken minority, simply return to the trashed nostrums that once defined conservatism. After the lying Trump deviation, how can the corrupted GOP get away with its old lies and knee-jerk “free trade, small government” patter.
The Center will not hold
In short, if Trump goes down in disgrace, thanks either to mounting evidence of despicable behavior or his own sick, oblivious revelations, the GOP cannot escape its sustained slavish loyalty. Live by the Trump, die by Trumpery. Even rightwing hypocrisy, typified in the extreme by Lindsay Graham, has its limits. Pandering and denial cannot offset mortal body blows to everything Trump touches.
My argument today simply follows this logic, that an incompetent, arrogant, ill-trained, undisciplined, self-entitled egotist is a time-bomb — and the greater his presumption, the greater the fall-out. Everyone knows how many appointees, once with decent reputations, are besmirched, then discarded, like last week’s trash. It is no compliment to American business “checks and balances” (to repeated failures) that a rampaging, bullying buffoon thrived by being good at only one task: self-promotion and survival of the phoniest.
Perhaps the Senate trial won’t be a joke. Perhaps Trump will get nominated, even win re-election. But that changes nothing long-term about his disgraced career and unstable personality (even his ill-defined health issues). That only postpones the final resolution: Trump will leave office in disgrace, if not next year than sometime afterwards.
With the inevitability of Greek tragedy, Trump’s fate is not for me a mystery: he will go down, and hard, and the only question that remains: whether the badly tarnished Republican Party will take a temporary hit — or a permanent one that re-orients American politics. Political parties after all are not eternal — just google “political parties in America” and see how many we’ve had in two centuries. Happy Thanksgiving!