by Shelton Bumgarner
Robert Mueller is a brilliant guy and as such he must know that there’s a good chance any report he sends to Attorney General Bill Barr may be extremely bowdlerize and otherwise hidden forever.
As such, it would make a lot of sense if soon — say Friday — he wrapped up his investigation by indicting a series of high profile, politically powerful people and then walking away. The report itself wouldn’t really matter that much because the crux of the report would be in who he indicted.
Now, let’s be honest — America is so politically divided right now for various reasons — and the economy is strong enough — that Trump is effectively above the law. And it’s likely he will be re-elected handily and we’ll be fighting over his “legacy” in 2024. So I wouldn’t get your hopes up that Trump is going anywhere.
In fact, let’s address that. A lot of Republicans say that all the investigations into Trump is simply warmed over sour grapes and we should simply leave Trump alone. “He won, he’s president, the economy is doing well, fuck off,” is essentially their line of reasoning.
There’s not a lot you can say about that. Though my response is that is only half the story. Trump has done a lot of impeachable things since he became president and as such if you can’t seen past your own partisanship, then there’s not much point debating anything, now is there.
With that in mind, I fear all we can hope for is FOX News simply being quiet for about 24 hours while they process whatever big name indictments Mueller may hand down. That’s it. Then after that 24 hours, they’ll take their cue from Trump’s twitter feed and after about a week of people being angry on Twitter the whole thing will fade and Trump will divide-and-conquer his way to a 2020 re-election.
But I like to play pretend, so let’s step away from the what will actually happen and talk about what won’t happen — Trump actually faces a real existential threat to his presidency.
This is where things get difficult to predict because we just don’t know how far Trump would be willing to go to defend himself. If he simply plays the greatest hits, then he’ll be impeached in the House and acquitted in the Senate. He’ll then turn around and say he’s been vindicated and there will be absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.
But let’s walk even farther away from what will really happen. Three things might change things in unexpected ways. One, if Mueller indicts some really big names, there’s a chance Trump will completely lose it and overplay his hand to such an extent that his support begins to wane a little bit. While the flipping out bit is possible, I just don’t see anything getting him below 37% of the electorate. The scary thing is, even if he does over play his hand with 60% of the electorate, there would be people who got off on that and people would start to die in the streets — or shit might get blown up — MAGA finally gets radicalized to such an extent that it has real bloodlust.
Meanwhile, there’s No Deal Brexit that likely to happen in a few weeks. If the impeachment process has finally begun to pick up steam in the States and suddenly the global economy comes to a grinding halt because of No Deal Brexit, that might push Trump’s support down to anti-Vaxxers, mouth breathing gunnuts and flat-earthers. But, like I said, even then if MAGA has gotten radicalized enough, the violence they inflict might be enough that there is never the political willpower to get rid of Trump, even if his actual poll numbers are in the 20% range.
The last thing I might speculate could pose an existential threat to Trump’s administration is there might come a point either sometime next year or sometime in Trump’s second term, when things get so absolutely bad in real terms that the Republicans do some white knuckled political calculus in their soulless minds and do the PencePiviot.
In other words, they wouldn’t even blink and eye in their move to Pence, saying, “Shut up, libtard, I really voted for Pence in the first place.” But that’s only at about maybe 10% probability. The sequence of events that would lead the Senate to convict Trump should he ever be impeached in the House is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. Trump’s not going anywhere and there will be a lot of talk in 2023 that MAGA should push for either Trump to ignore the Constitution and run for a 3rd term, or he should push for a change of the Constitution so he can run. The only thing that might reduce that momentum is Trump picked some young, passionate — and competent! — ideological MAGA firebrand as his chosen successor. So, in that sense, we would look back at Trump as simply the bridge between the democratic America of the past and the “managed democracy” of the present and future.
Lastly, let’s play pretend even more. There’s only about a 1% chance Trump will not be a two term president in my opinion. I say this because Trump is an avatar for some pretty massive structural problems in American political life. But let’s say for the sake of argument that the asteroid strikes Planet Trump, then what? I would expect Trump to tweet all day in an extremely passive-agressive manner, to rally MAGA to the White House to physically protect him and for there to be an actual armed, deadly battle on the White House lawn as we figure out how to get Trump physically out of the Oval Office. It would be the most tramatic event in American history since 9/11.
Like I keep saying, however, Trump’s not going anywhere. He’s an elected dictator and things are probably only going to get worse, not better. I have no hope. We’re in a dystopia. This isn’t really a matter of hope as it is simply an observation — no one can predict the future and the deadhand of history always has a few tricks up her sleeve.