‘The Ides Of Mueller’ Would Be The Setup To Something Historically Messy In Scope

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Again, I don’t know anything about anything.

But if you want to waste time time with me, let’s reflect on what would happen if Friday (March 15th) was The Ides Of Mueller and The Mueller Report somehow not only dropped by was obviously an existential threat to the Trump Administration.

The thing that I’ve long thought is that if we got Trump by August 2019, we could put this all behind us and move on. But what I didn’t fact in was the the moment the polls closed for the 2018 Congressional mid-terms, the 2020 presidential campaign began.

As such, it is taking the American ship of state much longer to right its course. Furthermore, it’s possible that criminality associated with the Trump Administration is so massive that it won’t be sorted out until 2021. Thus, the drumbeat of impeachment will be just a lot of white noise in 2020 and people are really going to be more interested in the economy and paying off their mortgage.

And, yet, if The Mueller Report is the rhetorical and political equivalent of Caesar walking into the Senate in 55BC, the distance between what is politically possible and necessary may snap back into place in a pretty fast, pretty dramatic fashion. I say this because right now for some pretty white knuckled political reasons, both parties feel they have a vested interest in slow walking any talk of impeachment. They feel this, in large part, because of, you guessed it, the 2020 presidential campaign.

But what happens if The Mueller Report turns March 15, 2019 into The Ides of Mueller and the whole political equation of the moment is thrown out the window? I struggle to think of it would play out. It seems as though the House Democratic Leadership sees immediate impeachment ahead of the 2020 campaign as a fool’s errand.

I’m enough of a student of history, however, to know that occasionally the dead hand of history has other ideas. This, of course, is the worst case scenario. There are plenty of scenarios where what I expect will happen, happens — there’s a slow boil that finally begins to bubble at some point in Trump’s second administration.

If the issue of impeachment should happen to be become a crisis sooner rather than later, the most likely scenario is Trump is impeached in the House, acquitted in the Senate and he runs around saying he’s been “exonerated” of every illegal thing he’s ever done in his entire life.

But let’s play pretend.

Not know anything means there’s a chance that what I — and we — don’t know is far worst than we could ever imagine, so bad, in fact, that at some point in the next few months the “bipartisan” part of Speaker Pelosi’s demands for impeachment are met and away we go.

This is where things get crazy. Trump could literally stir up civil unrest on a massive scale. He could start to pardon everyone he needs to pardon. He hold up in the Oval Office and should be actually be impeached refuse to leave. And he might not leave unless Federal agents physically remove him.

But that’s the absolute worst-case scenario.

The absolute worse. Reality is likely to fall in some sort of murky, muddled in-between that takes far longer than any of us would like. That’s why I see Trump either being succeed in 2024 by someone like Tom Cotton or maybe, just maybe leaving power in some way around August 2022. Maybe if Ivanka is allowed to become VEEP?

Who knows. The macro problems that led to Trump aren’t going anywhere are likely bound to only get worse.

The Ides Of Mueller

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I don’t know anything about anything and you shouldn’t listen to me. But having said that, the conditions are there for Friday, March 15th to be The Ides of Mueller when The Mueller Report drops.

If it was, in fact, The Ides of Mueller, we probably would know pretty quick. Like, when we woke up. I say this because it would make a lot of sense for someone Big, say, Don Jr. to get arrested in the early morning hours.

It would make sense for Mueller to do that then turn around and submit his report to Attorney General Bill Barr.

But I’m grasping at the most gossamer of straws. It could be weeks, if not months, before the Mueller Report comes out despite all my speculation.

As an aside, while I thought if we got Trump by August 2019 that we’d be ok, I realize now that what I feared would happen at that point, that the conventional wisdom would be that we should “let the people decide,” has actually happened now.

So, in a sense, flipping the House was actually the first part of a much, much, much longer progress than I first imagined. It’d likely — almost absolute — that Trump will win re-election handily, so any impeachment proceedings would likely happen at some point in late 2021 to mid 2022. So, now it seems like we’re most likely to get rid of Trump about August 2022.

That would give Pence the ability to pardon Trump (and everyone else who needed to be pardoned) AND when two more terms in office as an incumbent.

Having said that, if things move far faster than any of us believe possible, we could very well have the absolutely surreal situation of it being absolutely clear that Trump absolutely has to be impeached — at a minimum — while the 2020 presidential campaign plays out in the background.

It would be historically messy, if nothing else.

If The Mueller Report is the rhetorical and political equivalent of Caesar walking into the Senate in 55BC, the distance between what is politically possible and necessary may snap back into place in a pretty fast, pretty dramatic fashion. I say this because right now for some pretty white knuckled political reasons, both parties feel they have a vested interest in slow walking any talk of impeachment. They feel this, in large part, because of, you guessed it, the 2020 presidential campaign.

But what happens if The Mueller Report turns March 15, 2019 into The Ides of Mueller and the whole political equation of the moment is thrown out the window? I struggle to think of it would play out. It seems as though the House Democratic Leadership sees immediate impeachment ahead of the 2020 campaign as a fool’s errand.

I’m enough of a student of history, however, to know that occasionally the dead hand of history has other ideas. This, of course, is the worst case scenario. There are plenty of scenarios where what I expect will happen, happens — there’s a slow boil that finally begins to bubble at some point in Trump’s second administration.

If the issue of impeachment should happen to be become a crisis sooner rather than later, the most likely scenario is Trump is impeached in the House, acquitted in the Senate and he runs around saying he’s been “exonerated” of every illegal thing he’s ever done in his entire life.

But let’s play pretend.

Not know anything means there’s a chance that what I — and we — don’t know is far worst than we could ever imagine, so bad, in fact, that at some point in the next few months the “bipartisan” part of Speaker Pelosi’s demands for impeachment are met and away we go.

This is where things get crazy. Trump could literally stir up civil unrest on a massive scale. He could start to pardon everyone he needs to pardon. He hold up in the Oval Office and should be actually be impeached refuse to leave. And he might not leave unless Federal agents physically remove him.

But that’s the absolute worst-case scenario.

The absolute worse. Reality is likely to fall in some sort of murky, muddled in-between that takes far longer than any of us would like. That’s why I see Trump either being succeed in 2024 by someone like Tom Cotton or maybe, just maybe leaving power in some way around August 2022. Maybe if Ivanka is allowed to become VEEP?

Who knows. The macro problems that led to Trump aren’t going anywhere are likely bound to only get worse.

Weighing Seriously The Chances That Brexit Will Cause ‘Trumxit’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The only reason why I think Brexit may cause Trumxit is there’s a real chance the global economy is going to slow down significantly should No Deal Brexit happen.

One of the several unique aspects of Watergate that lead to Nixon leaving office, besides the tapes — and Nixon’s physical inability to burn them (he was in bed with a problem caused by the veins in his legs) — was the economy went south just about the time he left office.

I just don’t see anything forcing Trump out of office. The economy could crater and while he might get impeached in the House because of it, you could have a Second Great Depression and you won’t be able to get enough Republican Senators to vote for conviction.

So, really, since the United States is no longer a democracy, Trump is going to cruise into a second term no matter what, groom his young, passionate ideological successor and the only thing that might save us is two or three presidential cycles down the road some sort of fluke happens.

And, by that point, the youngest of the Baby Boomers will finally begin to drop dead just as the browning of America reaches a tipping point and maybe the American ship of state will actually right itself before blood runs in the streets.

God, I hope so.

Strategically, Things May Be About To Get Very Messy For Democrats

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Between now and January 2021, the Resistance is going to face some pretty messy strategic decisions. If Trump survives until his second term — and I think he probably will unless No Deal Brexit causes the global economy to come to a screeching halt — then either he will talk about how he’s been “redeemed” or we’ll finally learn that his crimes against the Constitution are so egregious that he has to be impeached, if nothing else.

And, yet, I don’t know. There’s simply no easy answer.

No matter what Democrats in the House do, Trump is going to scream at the top of his lungs. Unless they act like Republicans, that is. Then he’ll be sweet as can be.

I’m Nervous About The DPRK

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Donald Trump is a big old doofus and as it seems the DPRK may be preparing a new missile test, there’s a chance that they’ve finally realize this as well.

If they did start shooting rockets off and testing H-Bombs again, everything would change pretty quick. And this would be the backdrop to Trump going to war against the Legislative Branch. Leave it to Trump to cause a nuclear war between the United States and the DPRK through sheer incompetence, then turn around and use it as his personal excuse to go full dictator.

You know he would, too. If he managed to bungle his way into a shooting war with the DPRK and they managed to blow up, say LA or NYC or DC, he would likely declare martial law and hunker down for the rest of his life.

I have no easy answers on that one, folks.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe things aren’t quite as dire as I fear.

This Is America — Mueller, MAGA and Trump As Elected Dictator

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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.

America 1776-2019.

RIP.

The Intelligence Community Is Atwitter About Friday Indictments…But What’s Going On?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I keep seeing chatter from people online about something big happening on Friday vis-a-vis Mueller and inducements. The interesting thing is it’s coming from intelligence community people online.

It makes you wonder what they know and who they think will be indicted. Given the purview of Mueller’s investigation, it makes you think that maybe it’s someone big. Someone really big, like Don Jr. Or maybe even Jared Kushner.

Whomever it is, it would be someone so big that things could come to a head pretty quick. Like, Trump starts to fire and pardon everyone he feels he needs to pardon to survive. One thing is, I continue to think not only has the distance between what the public knows to be true and what the House Democratic leadership is willing to do has grown to an unstable distance, I also believe that the conditions are for actual violence to occur from the Right. I could see a scenario whereby someone whack job blows up, say CNN or The New York Times once the impeachment process begins, then Trump turns around and uses that as some sort of Reichstag Event.

Or, put another way, the country is tearing itself apart in a macro sense, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since before the Civil War. One thing I would like to observe, however — the big difference between the late 1850s and today is the military. If there was some sort of crisis as impeachment began to pickup steam, the ostensibly apolitical military might be the thing that keeps the country together in the end.

Maybe not in the way we would prefer, but they might just do it.

Rather than people leaving the military for individual states like they did during the Civil War, if there was some sort of legitimacy crisis on the part of the Federal government, it’s likely the military would setup a junta of sorts for a few months to let passions subside. That, in fact, might be the really strange manner in which we actually slip out of what seems like a pretty inevitable civil war. The military simply won’t allow that to happen and in exchange, civilian control would end for a time being.

But anyway, back to the matter at hand — whatever may be about to happen, the IC things they have a heads up. For them to be so excited, it probably means someone, somewhere in the Mueller office has been gossiping with the IC.

I still, however, have my doubts that anything at all will drop Friday.

We’ll see, I guess.

The Great Political Conundrum Of 2019

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We’ve officially entered that strange twilight period in the Trump Era when on the face of it, we know Trump faces some existential threats to his administration, and yet the Democratic leadership of the House is sitting on its hands for various reasons.

The divide between what we know and what Democrats in the House are willing to do politically is beginning to grow so deep and large that whenever things snap back into place, it could be pretty astonishing.

What I mean by this is — while the House Democratic leadership is beginning to look into the vast amounts of crimes and abuses of power on the part of Trump, they continue to wait for the ostensibly “objective” Mueller Report to “force their hand” on the matter of impeachment. For various macro reasons, they feel as though only after the Mueller Report is released can they actively move to impeach Trump.

Alas, I fear that’s going to be quickly seen as quaint thinking soon enough. I have long believed that the moment the House begins to do its job, the political momentum for impeachment will race out the gate. The issue, of course, is about 37% of the electorate — the people who elect Republicans and vote for them in primaries — is so cult-like in their support for Trump that it would be some outside force, not anything that Trump may have done that would ultimately lead to his impeachment and potential conviction in the Senate.

Ultimately, it will be the economy. If No Deal Brexit happens and the consequences of it are as bad as we fear, then that, no anything Mueller may report to Congress, will be what drives Trump out of office.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the cold hard political fact that if Trump’s fate isn’t actively being decided in the Senate by August 2019, we’re going to have to wait for “the people to decide” in 2020. And, as we all know, America is now a corrupt autocratic plutocracy, not a democratic constitutional republic and as such, Trump is likely to cruise to a fairly easy re-election.

If Trump is re-elected in 2020 (which as of now looks like a political absolute certainty) he will likely go full autocrat and pardon everyone he needs to pardon and get his proxies on TV to say, “the people have spoken, they don’t care, let’s move on. Besides, shouldn’t we be at work with Iran by now?”

And, yet, there may come a point between now and August 2019 when a tipping point occurs and there simply is no escaping the absolute need to impeach Trump in the House. The worst case scenario in the Senate being, of course, that they will punt the whole thing and not even take up the articles of impeachment against Trump in the first place.

So there’s a very real possibility that the absolute worst case scenario for all involved is Trump eludes conviction in the Senate, he gets re-elected and then the economy tanks in a massive way…and even though his approval rates drop down to the flat earthers, Qanon believers and anti-Vaxxers, there simply will be no political will to do anything about it and the entire country will grind to a halt for about three years until we start fighting over Trump’s “legacy” in 2024.

What’s worse, should the good guys “win” and Trump be somehow miraculously convicted in the Senate, I believe Trump won’t physically leave the Oval Office without the “assistance” of Federal Marshals. In that case, it would be the most devastating domestic event in American history since 9/11.

I guess what I’m saying is I have no idea what the endgame to all of this is and there are a lot of real nasty ones you can think up. It could be that all things considered our best bet is some sort of extreme version of Iran-contra whereby we all know Trump should be impeached and convicted and somehow that is enough to maybe, just maybe allow a progressive liberal to be elected in 2024. (If we still have elections at that point.)

But if you literally use that as political history roadmap, it’s not exactly all that encouraging — Bush won in 1988 and Clinton only won because of the dead hand of history. Given that the youngest of the Baby Boomers won’t start to die for another 20 years, there’s a good chance it won’t be Trump who finally pushes until to a “managed democracy” like Russia, but his younger, more competent and indological successor.

V-Log: The State Of The Novel I’m Writing As Of March 3rd — Cars, Guns & Allegory

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Some thoughts. (Despite the preview, it’s actually watchable.)

Idle Mulling On Why We’re Probably Never Getting Rid Of Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

People who are opposed to Trump often times miss some basic facts about modern American political life, chief among them being that as it stands it is nearly impossible to hurt Trump politically in any traditional sense.

In other words, Trump has a base of about 35% and it’s not going anywhere.

Ever.

Trump is so obsessed with placating the CPAC base that what was once MAGA ideology is now bordering on a theology. The distance between Trump literally being an American Fuhrer for that base is, well, pretty finite at this point.

So, I saying that if you sketch out the future given what we have on hand now, we aren’t going to be fighting over impeachment in 2019, we’re going to be fighting over Trump’s “legacy” in 2024.

There’s a pretty good chance that in the end, the whole thing is value free. It’ll be as if Trump never existed. He, of course, is likely to damage basic political discourse in America for the rest of my life, but should a progressive liberal win the presidency in 2024, the now-MAGA “deep state” will do everything in its power to destroy him or her while at the same time former MAGA Republicans will act like everything they did in defense of Trump is “old news and they were just trying to get elected.”

As long as the economy continues the way it is, Trump is a king, an emperor, and elected dictator. For about 35% of the electorate, Trump could literally declare himself God King of the United States and all people like me would get from MAGA is cry-laugh emojis.

The only possible existential threat the Trump Administration faces at this point is something like No Deal Brexit will be sufficient shock to the global economy that Trump will go from a base of 35% to maybe 20%. But even then, Trump’s not going anywhere.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that all our worst fears about Trump could be proven absolutely right AND the economy could collapse and the only way he leaves office before 2025 is Republicans in Congress begin to believe they would have a better chance keeping the executive if Pence was the incumbent.

That’s it. That’s all I got.

Trump’s combination of zero shame, an absolute craven desire to put self-interest ahead of the needs of the nation and the religious devotion of his base is more than enough to keep him in office even if he strangled someone, anyone, in Times Square, married Ivanka, gave the nuclear codes to anyone interested, whatever, you name it.

Trump. Is. Not. Going. Anywhere.

All I can say is I hope the political fates prove me wrong. I really do. But Trump is such an absolute avatar for the feeling of disenfranchisement for a lot of white America that, well, the only reason why I stay angry is I can’t help myself.