What if this camel’s back is unbreakable?
Those of us who see Donald Trump as a dangerously unfit, unprepared, uncouth and reckless occupant of the Oval Office have, for the most part, convinced ourselves that there’s no way he’ll serve out a four year term. Some of us think Robert Mueller will finish his investigation and present damning findings and Trump will be impeached and removed. Or maybe at that point Trump will resign. Or we focus on the 2018 midterms and see the Democrats taking back the House and beginning impeachment proceedings.
Then there’s the unknowable stuff. Perhaps another massive shoe crash lands and it forces Trump out of the White House. Sen. John McCain has often quipped that Trump’s troubles are like a centipede with multiple shoes dropping all the time.
I’ve heard people speak about other ways Donald Trump’s tenure could come to a screeching halt and frankly, I’ve been surprised at the candor people display in discussing such a morbid end.
The common theme is the belief that this surreal presidency, which feels more like seven years than seven months, will end before it’s 2020 expiration date.
But what if we’re wrong? What if the Mueller investigation finds no criminal activity to lodge complaints? What if we’re served up tons of questionable and ethically horrid activities by Donald Trump and his campaign and the Republicans do what they’ve been doing: issuing weak, limp condemnations and then moving on to the next item in their agenda? What if they simply ignore crimes? What if Republicans are shown evidence that Trump worked with the Russians to attack our democracy and they simply don’t care?
We make the assumption that as soon as Donald Trump does something truly egregious that these so-called leaders will suddenly stop behaving as his enablers and hold him accountable. Why? Why would we believe that when we haven’t seen any evidence of that? Why would we expect any normal moves to take place?
Remember the Access Hollywood tape? Republicans swore that was the final straw. They called on Trump to step down as the party’s standard-bearer. Republicans said they could no longer in good conscience support this man. The revulsion among some of them even seemed genuine. Speaker Paul Ryan famously told Republicans to run away from Trump.
And then, like with Trump’s slam of John McCain’s war record, making sexist and insulting remarks about women such as Fox News’ Megan Kelly and GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, mocking a disabled reporter, accusing a federal judge of bias because he was “a Mexican,” insulting a Gold Star family and 101 other vile or disturbing incidents that would’ve bounced anyone else from the presidential race, Republicans fell back in line behind Trump.
Recently, when Republican Sen. Bob Corker questioned Trump’s stability and competence media outlets treated it like Corker had said something earthshaking. Saying Donald Trump lacks the stability and competence to be president has all the shock value of proclaiming water is indeed wet.
Donald Trump pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was guilty of violating the constitutional rights of Latinos, caps off Trump’s racist salute to white nationalists in his base. It was a naked abuse of the pardon power and just a warm up for when Trump pardons members of his campaign in the Russian investigation and pardons himself. The pardon is Trump blowing a kiss to his co-conspirators that if they hold fast he has a pardon waiting for them. They’re above the law.
I don’t expect any outcry from the Republican Party. I mean, yes, someone might issue a tweet. Pearls may be clutched. Hands will wring. Someone might even get the vapors and require some quick self-fanning. But will they actually do anything about our national nightmare? Hell no.
This week also saw Trump pal Roger Stone say that if Donald Trump is impeached there would be a civil war. He said, “A politician who votes for it (impeachment) would be endangering their own life.” It’s sad but you can believe that.
Polls continually show a hardcore base that is unmoved by Trump’s lies, meltdowns, inappropriate tweets, nonexistent moral authority, abuses and mishandling of the executive branch. When Trump made fools of them in the leaked transcript with the Mexican president in which he seemed to acknowledge he knew Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall, they stayed with him. When Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any votes, he was touting the irrational dedication and gullibility of his base, and they cheered him. When he tells them his was the largest inaugural crowd in history, they believe it. And now, according to Roger Stone, they will take up arms on Trump’s behalf and lead an armed insurrection. This is the ultimate danger of this cult of personality.
What if his resignation isn’t inevitable? What if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell continue to demonstrate they possess neither balls nor spines? What if the GOP congress ignores Robert Mueller’s report? What if Democrats don’t take the House back? What if Republicans remain terrified to do anything after Trump pardons everyone? What if Republicans criticize but do nothing to halt or reign in this cancer on the presidency for fear of Trump’s rabid irrational base?
What if, like his improbable victory last November, we’ve all got it wrong and we’re in for four or eight years of Trump? What if the final straw doesn’t break this camel’s back? What then?