What is to be done?

Around January I wrote about some friends saying, “It’s worse than we expected,” and I said it’s not worse than I expected, because what I expected was very bad.

Well, OK, now it’s worse than even I expected. I thought Trump would better control his irresponsible impulses. Can we endure another 44 months of this?

Forget impeachment. Not gonna happen. Even if the House goes Democratic in 2018 (still unlikely), and he’s impeached, you’d need 67 Senate votes. Dems now have only 48 and can’t increase that much in 2018.

The 25th Amendment allows sidelining a president if the VP and a majority of the cabinet certify his incapacity. But if he resists, then it requires a 2/3 vote in both houses to override him. So forget that too.

Nixon was forced out basically because the whole nation turned against him for what he’d done. It was a different country then. One where Republicans could put country above party. One that was unforgiving toward politicians caught lying or otherwise transgressing — maybe even too unforgiving. But that’s turned upside down. Trump saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and lose no votes was (uncharacteristically) truthful.

And, indeed, through the train wreck of his first four months, full of lies, blunders and misdeeds that in past times would have sunk any politician ten times over, Trump’s core supporters have hardly budged. I guess if you can excuse the pussygrabbing, you can excuse anything.

What might shake them? Maybe nothing. They believe Trump that all the bad news is fake, and he’s doing great. Trumpeters have made a psychological commitment not open to reason (like their belief in a benevolent god). And as long as Trump retains that diehard support from a third of the electorate, few Congressional Republicans will have the intestinal fortitude to do anything but go along. They’re circling the wagons. That’s why he won’t be removed.

I used to bemoan political polarization and each side’s demonization of their opponents. And I considered the left more guilty than the right. But that’s different now too. When Democrats and lefties demonize Trump and Republicans today, there’s ample justification. If anything, they don’t come on too strong, but not strong enough.

Trump’s problems aren’t really White House disarray, bad messaging, press unfairness, “fake news,” simple bungling, a “witch hunt,” or any such. Instead it’s all character: a vile creep, who sought the presidency for all the wrong reasons, who is out of his depth and out of his mind.

America is full of wonderful people. It kills me that we elected as president such a stinker.

His supporters bizarrely continue the mantra that Hillary was the biggest liar in politics, while Trump seems incapable of not lying. But it’s not just a matter of one man’s mental sickness. It’s shredding the whole concept of truth, trying to destroy confidence in an independent press as an information source. Without that, the public cannot hold government and its officials to account; and without that, meaningful democracy is impossible.

The seriousness of the situation can hardly be overstated. I’ve closely studied American political life for over half a century, and this is a discontinuity. A change from one paradigm to a very different one. A downward cultural lurch. And I don’t see the toothpaste being put back in the tube.


Is my optimism dead? France has meantime decisively rejected — by a 66% vote! — a Trumplike candidate, electing instead Emmanuel Macron, a remarkably good man moved by excellent ideas. He now faces a terrific battle against entrenched interests. But who ever imagined I’d look to France for political inspiration?

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4 Responses to “What is to be done?”

  1. Lee Says:

    It can get much worse. If Trump loses significant support, he will rescue his numbers by putting our troops into a war. We are already being prepped for war with North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, and Yemen.

  2. Lee Says:

    I am no fan of Macron of France and would not have supported him under other circumstances. But when the choice is between Macron and Le Pen, you can count me a Macron supporter heart and soul. Way to go France!

  3. Bumba Says:

    Don’t worry. He’s on his way out. Mais après lui le déluge

  4. bruce Says:

    this intended for the general N.Y. ~ D.C. DNC not the highly esteemed host or the brilliant posters I witness here
    I am afraid, what we are seeing is the noble elite against the middle America. Up until now the losers in an election licked their wounds and designed their comeback. Assumed the position the country was still a wonderful place. Now its an all out war against who was elected because they know better and “hate” the elected man.
    Do you think this will end well, this disposal of living together and assumption of the notion our side right or wrong. Do you want to live in a country where the elected President is despised and “not our president” by half the population? I guess you do, but I wonder how you will feel when the shoe is on the other foot. When the man or woman of your people is dragged through the mud. Inferred guilty by nuances until it is a law. There are places in the world where such a system exists, they are ugly places, the country may be beautiful but the people have made it hell.
    To believe the current news cycle is driven by much more than politically driven drivel is to believe in the fairy godmother.
    When the facts are out, then you can rant. In the meantime grow a pair and try to think with a deliberate mind.

    IF I were President, things would be different sure. IF the owner of this blog were president things would be different. But neither of us was elected and earned the office.
    Let me fall further into the void, I only recently started watching the show VEEP (I think that’s the name). I always understood politics and governance was as depicted on the show but never saw it in the flesh. It’s a little strange, the difference, seeing and knowing.
    It’s not the same difference as believing and knowing, but even there you can be wrong on both counts.
    Forgive me this time and space, I surely have little chance to change minds, I only wish to suggest stepping back from the fray to ponder what it is we are seeing.

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