Impeachment State Of Play For Oct. 1st, 2019

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am not very sanguine about the ultimate endgame of impeachment because if things are as bad as they appear, it’s unlikely there’s going to be any Watergate-level definitive conclusion. Far more likely is the whole system collapses, in a sense, and the United States becomes a Russian-style “managed democracy.”

I say this for several reasons. One, no one is resigning out of any sense of shame. That they’re not resigning gives the public the sense that what they’re accused of doing isn’t really all that bad, so, lulz. What’s more, once Barr releases his “Anti-Mueller Report” in an effort to lay the groundwork for a Manafort pardon, that will give the bad guys control of the narrative again.

We need to pause for a moment as to what Barr has been up to. Barr is running around the globe pressuring our allies to prove that the basis of the Mueller investigation was illegitimate and, as such, Trump has a free political reign — at least in his own mind — to both pardon people and consolidate power as we rush towards the 2020 election. If the country finally cracks in two and MAGA is spooging over Barr’s report while everyone else is in shock at how it was investigated, then it’s something of a draw and Trump wins. He barely has a trail in the Senate and he has free reign to ensure that the 2020 election is anything but free and fair.

This situation grows even more grave when you realize that the conditions that produced Trump aren’t going anywhere even if we somehow manage to find the political will to get rid of him. About half a dozen passionate young racists are chomping at the bit to succeed Trump. So, lulz?

So, really, our only way of “winning” this particular political war is a not only a clear victory but addressing what’s systemically wrong with the United States. That’s just not going to happen. Get your affairs in order. It may not be immediately, but sooner rather than later the ICE camp infrastructure is likely to be weaponized and people will begin to be “disappeared.”

You probably need to read Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.” The scenario layed out in that novel may be our future.

Wargaming Impeachment

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

When I was in college, there was an urban legend where people were sitting around drinking and having fun when someone mentioned that they stole someone’s vanity license tag. In Virginia, such tags are no big deal, but in the North, they’re often very expensive. The story goes that the person who learns this is from the North and they grow enraged. That’s what’s going on in America right now — House Trump stole America’s vanity license tag (our liberty) and we’re in shock. House Trump, meanwhile, is lulzing it all off.

What, you stole my license plate?

It’s easy to despair when thinking about impeachment because the stakes are existential. Let’s go through some datapoints to illuminate why this is the case.

Bill Barr has apparently been preparing an “Anti-Mueller Report” designed to debunk the entire thing. That not only would he run around the globe in search of dirt to debunk a report that Trump screams at the top of his lungs exonerated him, but most of the Right’s inteligensia is totally cool with the whole thing is extremely disturbing. This is the setup to Barr very, very soon holding a press conference “proving” that Trump was “set up” by the Deep State.

What’s so troubling about this in the extreme is how brazen Barr and Pompeo have been in all of this. They have broken so many laws in the process trying to debunk the Mueller Report at the behest of the president that the whole thing is surreal and existential. The kicker is, it doesn’t matter what Barr even finds — he’s setting up a battle royale of historic proportions.

The MAGA base will latch on to whatever he found to such an extent that they will completely ignore the biggest political scandal in American history. This will give the messaging cover that Republican lawmakers need going forward with impeachment and Trump is acquitted in the Senate after a super-fast trial of maybe a hour total. Since the Republican Party is a cult that has no shame and only wants power for power’s sake, this is a win for them no matter what. Trump is free go full Putin between now and the Nov. 2020 election and darkness falls. They weaponize the ICE infrastructure and the American spirit is squashed.

And, yet, while all things being equal that seems the most likely outcome, there are some serious, serious problems for House Trump. One is there is serious momentum behind impeachment. Also, every day Republicans have no cogent answer as to why Barr and Pompeo (and Gorka!) (and Rudy!) were racing roughshod around the globe in an effort to pull a conspiracy theory out of their butts is a day the Good Guys grow in power. If they can’t release their bullshit within a matter of days, not weeks, even if they manage to come up with a Grand Unified Theory Of The Deep State Plot Against Trump they will have lost everyone but the 35% MAGA base of the electorate.

Also, House Trump is now so unmoored from any connection to liberal democracy that they are their own worst enemy. They no longer even pretend to care about facts, or law or ethics. They are willing to destroy everything in defense of House Trump. There’s a real chance that even if they manage to convince the MAGA base that the Dear Leader is, in fact, infallible, that the rest of the country will look at them in amazement that they are oblivious to what they’ve done.

Really, I guess what I’m trying to convey is the stakes are so high that if it’s a draw, Trump wins. He is free to do exactly what he’s wanted to do all a long — become America’s Putin. We don’t have free and fair elections, the ICE infrastructure is weaponized and people — like ME! — are simply “disappeared.”

If we can’t not only remove Trump but put him on trial and ultimately send him to prison for the reason of his life, all is lost. He’ll just keep doing what he’s been doing, only for Ivanka and Don Jr. And given that there are half a dozen would-be Trumps in the pipeline who know how to use the path that Trump has paved, things grow even more problematic. I honestly don’t know how this doesn’t end in a dystopia.

I wish I was overreacting, but I’m not. Again, as I have repeatedly stated, the only reason at this point that maybe we might have a possibility of victory is Trump is a galactic-brain self-own artist. And he’s going to crack under the pressure of impeachment, no matter what. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Otherwise darkness falls.

My Latest Dystopian Scenario

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

This one is simple.

Barr very soon comes out with this long-awaited probe into the Deep State. He presents it to the MAGA base a the Grand Unified Theory of The Deep State. Chris Wallace says it’s “bad optics” for impeachment.

The end.

Trumplandia’s Motto: ‘Malevolence Tempered by Incompetence’

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have been searching for the origin of the concept that Trumplandia is “malevolence tempered by incompetence” and I think it came from Lawfare Blog. Regardless, it’s perfect. It sums up the world we live in today. If Donald Trump was, say, in any way qualified to be president, the damage he could inflict on all of us would be truly dystpian.

Yet, he’s so bad at his job that he can’t do any of the things he’s threatened to do. So, while he can still inflict some serious harm to democratic norms and the Republic in general, he is a really, really bad leader and may, in fact, be daft.

That incompetence is all that stands between us and all-out fascism is something to worry about a great deal. It’s something very troubling and it will be a minor miracle. I mean, imagine the history of Nazi German if Hitler simply was so incompetent that he couldn’t muster the government to actually inflict harm on anyone, much less Jews.

But that is the world we live in. It really is.

That was the part that we totally missed during the election when rhetoric was running high and people like me were really scared that the worst would happen. We simply had no idea how bad at governing Trump would be. He’s really bad, really, really bad. You have to look no farther than his incessant tweeting to see how bad he is. He tweets about things in ways that not only give us painful insight into his thinking in real-time, it also does a huge amount of damage to his drive to turn the American Republic in a “managed democracy” run via executive orders.

Regardless, only time will tell if any of this will change. Only time will tell if Trump will get his act together and begin to use the levers of power to enact the darker aspects of the Trumplandian vision.

Don’t Rage, Engage: Who Are The People Of Trumplandia?

By Shelton Bumgarner

As I have mentioned before, I am looking for to help me write this blog.I have very low expectations for various reasons and at this point, I don’t even know how much longer I will find the energy to continue such a seemingly meaningless exercise.

But this blog still a little bit fun despite virtually no one reading it, and I posted to Craig’s List recently, hoping to find someone willing to write for free while I grew the product. Well, all I can say is apparently only Trump supporters are willing to write for free.

Everyone who has answered my call for writers have in very eager, earnest ways explained that they’re only interested in attacking, well, people like me. I feel like shooting off an email telling them, “You’re everything wrong with America right now,” but that wouldn’t be cool and would only make things worse.

So, I am quiet.

But it does make me a little bit uneasy. It reminds me that just because all the people I follow on Twitter agree with me, doesn’t mean there is any universal consensus about Donald Trump. In fact, it’s abundantly clear that Trumplandia is a live and well.

There continue to be a surprisingly large number of people who really support Trump to this day and they are eager to say so. People like me got burned during the 2016 campaign cycle by bots and paid trolls, so we have come to assume that anyone who disagrees with us is one of those two options.

Yet, obviously, that is not the case. Obviously, there are, in fact, actual live human beings who continue to support Trump despite everything. Despite all the cold hard facts that would seemingly make it impossible for any right minded person to continue to support Trump, there are, in fact, people who do.

This is the point where I scratch my head and don’t know what to say. We have reached a level of polarization in the United States body politic, a level of tribal politics that I can’t even grasp the logic behind someone supporting Trump. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t empathize with a Trump supporter because I can’t grasp their world view in all its surreal glory.

Given that civil discourse in a liberal democracy requires that the center-Left and the center-Right be able to talk to each other at least to the extent necessary to come to some sort of synthesis, some sort of compromise, this is a dangerous realization. If a person like me — who strives to attain some sort of understanding of people I disagree with can’t understand the reasoning of people on the other end of the political spectrum, we’re all completely fucked.

And, really, that’s where Donald Trump gets his power. You can tell me all you want to about how mean liberals like me cause “Trump curious” people decide to throw their lot with Trump completely, but the people of Trumplandia have to, at some point, take responsibility for this problem as well. It would be a lot easier for me if Trumplandia people would, like, chill out and at least attempt to form an opinion based in fact, not some sort of guttural opposition to progress.

But it doesn’t seem like this is going to happen anytime soon. Trump isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and the sooner people like me understand that, the better. It’s going to be tough, though. People like me too easily assume Trump will quit or be impeached and convicted and all of this will go away like a bad nightmare.

That, sadly, isn’t going to happen. This is a nightmare that we can’t shake. I wish there was an easy answer to these problems that we face, these difference of opinions that divide The Resistance from Trumplandia, but that is just not going to happen anytime soon.

We’re going to have to find a way to meet the residents of Trumplandia halfway. Only by doing that will we be able to mitigate the tribal politics that give Trump his power. If we don’t crack this nut soon, we may wake up eight years from now with Trump doing a victory tour and someone even worse than Trump by his side, accepting the Republican nomination.

If that doesn’t clear the mind, I don’t know what will.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He is always looking for new writers. He can’t pay, but you’ll get experience. He may be reached at migukin (at)

The Damage Wrought By The Trump Administration May Be Irrevocable

By Shelton Bumgarner

The truly frightening thing about the Trump Administration is the damage it inflicts upon the United States both domestically and internationally may be irrevocable. The damage might have been mitigated if Congress wasn’t run by Vichy Republicans, but, alas, that’s just not the case.

With Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords, the United States has now begun a dangerous, unprecedented journey into unprecedented and turbulent waters. What’s worse, for the residents of Trumplandia, they see Trump’s decision to pull out of the accords as yet another campaign promise kept.

All of this is pretty surreal to me. The very people who 20 or 30 years ago would have called for the head of anyone who so willfully played into the strategic aims of the Russians, now applaud someone who seems hell bent on completely upending some pretty core beliefs that the people we once considered the Part of Reagan were supposed to hold so dear.

Again, I have to reflect on how similar all of this is to Vichy France. This is a truly bizarre situation politically and it’s even more bizarre given that it takes four years to get out of the Paris Accords and we won’t be officially out of them until the day after election day in 2020.

What concerns me the most is that while we’re all so busy falloning over the latest comical screw up on the part of Donald Trump, we’re going to totally miss the significant, long-term damage Trump is going to inflict upon us. The only thing I can compare this to is a even more damaging version of the Reagan Revolution of 1981 that caused so much harm to the American middle class.

We may very look back at this period as the moment when not only did America grow sicker, poorer and less educated, but we lurched towards an semi-imperial autocratic form of government, with the Constitutionally mandated open presidential seat every eight years being the only thing the only thing that prevent us from conspicuously no longer being a republic.

The truly horrific quality to all of this is there a slow-moving train crash quality to it all. We can see what is happening, but because of the callow, complicit nature of the Vichy Republicans, there is little, if nothing, we can do in real terms to stop what we’re seeing and experiencing.

With America in retreat, there now exists a moral power vacuum. A land rush is now happening as different regional powers struggle and jostle to figure out where they stand in this new reality. Even if the United States at some point in the future came roaring back through effective leadership, the damage is already done. And that doesn’t even begin to address the chaos we’ll have to live through should the DPRK attack South Korea or Russia attack Ukraine in a general war.

So, this has stopped being funny to me. I’m not saying I won’t laugh when Stephen Colbert tears into Trump during his monologue, but we’ve reached the point where there is officially a serious edge to things. We have a mad, tyrannical emperor on our hands whose only check is his own egregious incompetence and active malfeasance.

If there’s anything we can do to fix this situation, it is to actively use our rights while we still have them. Don’t rage, engage. Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t lose hope. I would like to think that the American spirit is stronger even than a president with unchecked power because of the surreal obsequiousness of his party.

Americans aren’t Russians, so you can spout all the political theory you like at me about how easy it will be for Trump to inflict a “managed democracy” on the United States through the tried and true methods of a modern autocracy, I just don’t buy it.

I’m not saying that Trump will be impeached. Nor am I saying that even if he is impeached that he will be convicted. I am saying, however, that while I honesty do fear for the fate of the Republic, that I fear my long-standing worry that Trump is an existential threat to its continued success is being realized, I also have an innate hope that we’ll bounce back a lot quicker than anyone might expect.

I just don’t see the American people standing for the dystopian reality that is too easy for me to project. It just seems like something’s gotta give eventually. I don’t know what it will be, but it seems like even if we’re living in an autocracy now, that the traditional ebb and flow of American politics will simply be too great for it to last.

We survived the Civil War, we survived Prohibition and we’ll survive this.

I hope.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at)

Let’s Face It, Trump Probably Isn’t Going To Get Impeached

by Shelton Bumgarner

A cold hard fact of modern American politics is the Republicans are so complicit, so Vichy in their support for the possibly treasonous administration of Donald Trump that we’re stuck with Trump for a solid two years, if not longer.

The conditions that have brought us to this point are so complex that they probably would require a few fairly long books to fully detail. The United States is so politically polarized — and the Right so well organized when it comes to a culture of faux victimization — that even if it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump personally colluded with the Russians, he just ain’t getting impeached anytime soon.

And I am not one who believes there is any assurance that there will be a “Blue Wave” in 2018. It could be that there will be a lot talk but for various reasons nothing will happen. That two, four, six years from now we’ll still be talking about how if only this or that thing happened Trump will be impeached.

What’s more, remember that even if Trump was impeached by the House, it doesn’t mean he would be convicted by the Senate. That’s something that’s never happened in our nation’s history and since Trump will never resign, his conviction would be the only way to get rid of him.

We’re entering a surreal time in our nation’s political history where we’re so polarized that while about half the nation is openly talking about collusion, treason and impeachment then conviction, the other half think it’s just an evil plot by unpatriotic loser liberals who are looking for a reason to explain their unexpected Electoral College loss.

It’s all enough to leave you bewildered.

Even worse from my point of view, there’s no reason to believe Trump won’t right his personal ship of state and not only survive, but prosper. He may very well serve out his term and manage to use his weirdly adroit political skill to get Mike Pence elected as his successor.

A lot of my worry about this possible scenario comes from the division and weakness of The Resistance. The Democratic Party is split between the liberal Hillary Clinton wing and the social democratic Bernie Sanders wing and it’s easy to imagine that rift opening up to such an extent that a major center-Left independent candidate would run in 2020 and we’d really be fucked.

History rarely goes in a straight line, so there are any number of different ways things might play out. An unexpected strong candidate out of left field like Jon Stewart might throw a lot of my personal assumptions out the window.

But my main concern is that the United States isn’t a liberal democracy anymore. That we’ve entered a new epoch in our history where the only thing that prevents us from being a semi-imperial autocracy is the fact that there’s an assured open presidential seat every eight years. When the final political history of the United States is written that quirk of our Constitutional system may be seen as the thing that made it more difficult for us to realize that we had finally evolved out of our traditional republican roots.

The really scary thing about the Trump Administration is there is a real risk that it will do irrevocable harm to the country in ways that may take generations to fix. Our decades old reputation as the moral leader of the free world may be gone for good. It might require some exceptional leadership on the part of future presidents to bring that back and the system we have now is so corrupt that it’s unlikely that is going to happen anytime soon.

If it weren’t for that particular aspect, the Trump Administration wouldn’t be so scary. The thing about Trump is it’s too easy to fall into the trap of falloning him when he tweets something like covfefe to such an extent that we totally lose sight of him leaving the Paris Accords or appointing psychopathic Federal judges or whatever. The amount of damage Trump can inflict on the republic is so wide and deep that it is breathtaking.

What’s even more disheartening is there is really no recourse other than being politically engaged. As I have begun to say at every opportunity: Don’t rage, engage. Do your civic duty on an individual level to help, even in a small way, the continuance of our civil society. Don’t assume that just because someone disagrees with you that they are trolling you. Vote. Protest. Speak out when given the opportunity. Call your Representative and Senator on a regular basis.

The strength of American civil society is pretty much all we got at this point. It may take generations for the full impact of the Trump Administration to be fully understood. But don’t have any regrets. Don’t look back and realize you didn’t do your part to prevent a dystopia from being not just the thing of fanciful dreams, but a very cold, hard reality.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at)