For me the notion of “Radical Resistance” is simply an update of the Radical Republicans of Reconstruction. House Democrats need to knock some heads. They need to do whatever they have to do put the fear of God (or the Constitution) into the heart of House Trump.
I would not do this willy-nilly, however. I would be methodical. I would have Nancy Pelosi on TV on a regular basis laying out the case for why Radical Resistance was an absolute must. I don’t know if she would want to adopt the moniker — Americans are spooked by “radicalism” — but the end result would be the same.
Whenever the case is made for a vote on a formal impeachment inquiry, the same day I would ram through a change of the rules so the House could deputize its Sergeant at Arms to start arresting people. I would start with Rudy and go from there. House Trump is no longer moored to any form of democratic norms, so fuck’em. Let’s rock.
House Democrats would simply have to be prepared for Trump to finally be transational in his bloodlust. If they use inherent contempt, he might very well tell his MAGA cult to take up arms against House Democrats and, well, kill them. Or, he would “joke” that something bad should happen to the “traitors” involved in an “unconstitutional coup.” The Right has already adopted his messaging, probably because they not-so-secretly hope that if people start to die the momentum for impeachment will come to a grinding halt. (I have my doubts.)
But I just don’t think House Democrats have it in them. Or, if they do, it will be too late. They need to radicalize…NOW. Like, TODAY. This is a political war and the sooner they start to see it as such, the better. The only thing keeping the Constitution in effect right now is Trump’s criminal incompetence at being a lawless tyrant. If we were dealing with President Kobach or President Cotton, we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place. There would be no window of opportunity.
I have no ready answer to any of this. I just know Nancy Pelosi should throw down the gauntlet. Congressional Democrats should shut down the government until Congressional Republicans stop with the pretence of caring about liberal democracy in the first place.
One thing about impeachment is it’s so alien to how Americans think about their relationship to the president that they just don’t really understand it. A president is elected for four years and that’s that. But if Trump keeps it up, there’s chance we’ll reach a tipping point.
The tipping point can be summed up with people going from, “Oh, why would we get rid of Trump early? The election is next year,” to “You mean we could get rid of Trump immediately?” The would be a macro change in public opinion. It would be how the press frames the debate. It would also mean that Trump’s support among Independents had finally jumped off a precipice.
But it’s debatable as to how likely it is that this would actually happen. Yet, Trump is really bad at his job and he hasn’t actually lost his mind yet. So, maybe?
Get this — Ambassador Sondland is going to say is going to say that Trump did, in fact dictate to him the “no quid pro quo” text, but that he took it at face value and did not know for a fact that this was the case.
What’s more, he believes that while there may have been a quid pro quot, it was not “criminal” in nature.
There’s a lot to unpack here. This is a very lawyerly way of answering the question. I know this and I’m not even a lawyer. What he wants to do is stake out the idea that lulz, quid pro quo! Or somehow excuse both himself and the president of any criminal wrongdoing. There is a big problem with this thinking, though — it’s easy to call bullshit on it in a single tweet.
This is not a complex thing to explain. Law Twitter could explain how bonkers this defense is very easily — and probably will, over and over and over and over again.
For any other president, this would be a significant blow. But FOX News exists and Blue States and Red States are growing to hate each other with a white hot rage because of, well, fucking Trump, so I dunno what will happen.
Oh, Ivanka. You so crave the presidency so much. Your stringbean husband with a warbling voice, too, craves that position but he has the stage presence of a gnat. But let’s supposed she gets her wish. Let’s look at how she might get it and what might happen.
First, we have to accept that she’s not going anywhere. You can’t be as directly connected to the levers of power as she has without having some serious long-term electoral prospects. She’s barely 35 and has 40 odd years to make her dream a reality. But she’s a member of House Trump, so, of course, she probably wants it now, now, now.
The first possibility that comes to mind is Pence appoints her his veep in a sop to the MAGA base. In fact, the things you have to address in any daydream about her becoming president is how she would be able to get the ignorant mouthbreathers (or plutocrats) of MAGA to accept her as they have her father. A lot depends on Ivanka not having any type of fight with her brother about “who gets the base” once her father is no longer politically viable. Seems to me that Don Jr. is much better positioned to get the base and as such the presidency, but lulz.
Ok, back to her being Veep. There are about a half dozen paths for her to become president should House Trump’s leader find his political prospects imploade. I could see Pence naming her Veep to placate her Daddy as a way to ease him out of office. Or…the list goes on.
But let’s say in early 2020, Ivanka is president. She at least seems to be the most put-together of House Trump. But she is only about 36 or so. To date, she’s had the perfect equation of all the power and none of the responsibility. She would find herself in something of a bind, however. She at least superficially appears somewhat moderate and fact-based, so there’s a real chance that her political honeymoon might be counted in days. The MAGA base will flip out when she doesn’t babble about a fucking wall or isn’t the bonkers orator that her father is.
Meanwhile, the center-Left will despise her on a personal level. They will resent not only how she never spoke up during her father’s presidency, but that she would be the first female president only because of the influence of her hateful father. Her Administration would likely crater so bad that she wouldn’t get the Republican nomination. She would limp politically to Jan. 20, 2021. Republicans would point to her administration as to why women should never be president.
But, remember, she’s not going anywhere. Maybe it’s not immediately. Maybe she simply lurks in Republican Administrations for a decade or two and then pops out when she’s 50 or so. That’s a very real possibility.
I can only get comfort in the fact that being president doesn’t exactly do wonders for your looks. So, honey, get ready to get really, really old really, really fast if you should happen to become president anytime soon.
As I understand it, it’s Ambassador Sondland who is the guy who made it CLEAR in the released text messages that Trump did not want a quid pro quo. He’s testifying against the direction of State, so there are some on Twitter who are oohing and ahhing that this some sort of crack in the case.
He’s not releasing any documents. He’s already had a tet-a-tet with Sec. Pompeo. He’s on the record saying no quid pro quo.
All he has to do is show up, make it clear there was — at least in his mind — no quid pro quo and it’s a win for House Trump. Or at least the optics will be. We won’t know what he said to Trump in the time leading up to the “No quid quo pro!” text.
Thus, theoretically, Ambassador Sondland could lie, or bob and weave, and give Chris Wallace all the bad-optics-for-impeachment he wants and the air will leave the impeachment proceedings as quickly as they arrived. The only reason why I still have any hope is that the House Democrats are interviewing other people involved in quick succession, so…I dunno?
Let’s be honest — we’ve reached point where Republicans are a cult. In their eyes, the only legitimate way to impeach a president is if they, themselves, gain politically by it. So, really, in their view, only a Democrat president can be impeached.
That’s it. A Republican, by definition, is immune to any Constitutional punishment for their actions.
So, you can pull any kind of reason why this or that thing might help Democrats make their case going forward — Mich McConnell is simply not going to hold the trial. It’s a win-win for him. Senate Republicans don’t have to defend a vote if it’s never held. And the move gives Trump free reign to help Republicans in the 2020 election cycle by doing whatever the fuck he wants to do. Bribe Electors. Dox them. Appoint Rudy as a Special Prosecutor to look into the Bidens. Directly ask the Russians to hack the election. Whatever. It will help Republicans keep the White House. And the base will be happy so they keep the Senate.
Republicans keep power, which is all they care about. They have no shame. None. Zero. They are completely detached from any form of political reality at this point.
Why this is extremely troubling is the Senate simply not holding a trial is sort of a Constitutional singularity in that it’s the point where politics and the Constitution meet. Even if SCOTUS tells the Senate it has to do it, McConnel could simply ignore them. That would be fun.
I honestly have no way to address this. If we revolt, Trump simply abolishes Blue State governments, purges Congress of Democrats and, well, MAGA?
Watergate was a national tragedy. “A long national nightmare,” as Jerry Ford called it. It was a tragedy in that it was the beginning of our modern political era. The Republican Party of 2019 is essentially made up of the the people who supported Nixon after the tapes were released. And so, TrumpUkraine is shaping up to be another one of those politically redefining moments.
A prime example of this is Kris Kobach’s recent ernest declaration that Senate Republicans should en masse commit jury nullification by pledging not to even hear the case against Trump. Such a statement is a savvy political move on Kobach’s part because it’s a win-win. If Trump survives, he’s a suck up. If Trump somehow manages to actually get convicted, he could very well be the core of the Republican Party going forward. Kobach has proven himself to be a lazy doofus when it comes to the hard work of politics, but, then, Donald Trump is a also a lazy doofus. Kobach really, really REALLY hates brown people coming into the United States. Given that the systemic problems that caused Trump in the first place are going to linger even if Trump is removed, he’s probably going to court the MAGA base pretty hard.
One of the things that has served Americans well is the stability of our government. There’s a little problem with this, however, we don’t deal with government instability well. We don’t have any traditions to lean on. There’s no precedent as to what to do when we have an existential crisis like the one we’re in now.
I honestly don’t know what is going to happen to Trump at this point. The United States is not a functioning democracy right now. In fact, the only reason why the system is fighting back at all is Trump uses his galactic mind when it comes to self-owning. I’m reluctant to say we’re in that weird period of time before a president unexpectedly leaves office because it’s only happened once, in 1974. That’s the only historical guide we have as to how the system would work.
But, let’s sketch out some sort of scenario. Trump is never going to resign. In fact, he’s more likely to start a war than resign. Yet, suppose he is convicted. The first problem is getting him physically out of the White House. I’ve written about this scenario before some time ago and it’s not pretty. It would be a 9/11-level crisis for the United States. In fact, it would be if the OJ trial had a baby with 9/11. The reason is, it wouldn’t happen in hours, it could happen for weeks. I mean, Trump is demonstrably bonkers and has a twitter feed, what’s to stop him from telling the MAGA base to gather up their AR-15s and surround the White House? Then what?
At this point, we have to bring up House Trump. However Trump might finally leave office, he’s not going to go willingly. He’s going to demand a pound of political flesh. The most obvious expression of this is who would replace Pence as veep. Don Jr. is simply too much like his dad to fill the position, even though he’s got a serious clam to it. The base loves him and the Senate Republicans would approve him in a heartbeat. It just seems more politically likely, from a macro political standpoint that it would be Ivanka Trump who would play the role of Nelson Rockefeller. Jerry Ford was seen as a partisan hack when got the job of president. Really, at this point, that Republicans haven’t done The Pence Pivot is beginning to seem a bit surreal. Under all conventional political metrics you might use, Trump’s goose is cooked. Pence is a traditional politicians who is willing to at least play lip service to traditional democratic norms. That The Pence Pivot hasn’t begun to be formulated this far into the game is a very bad sign. That means Republicans are willing to ride the MAGA pony all the way to the bottom.
But anyway, back to Ivanka. Nikki Haley may think she has a claim to be Pence’s VP, but…no. It’s going to be a member of House Trump. Ivanka is so much like Nelson Rockefeller that it’s almost as if we’re going simply use the Watergate final days as the basis for a reboot. The only problem with using her to maintain House Trump’s connection to the White House is there’s a good chance not only would the MAGA base sour on her immediately, but everyone else would hate her for being complicit.
We’re still not really into this crisis yet. There aren’t enough datapoints to make any kind of serious scenario about Trump’s fate. But I will say tentatively things aren’t looking good for The Thousand Year Trump.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer working on his first novel. It’s meant to be an allegory for the Trump Era. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com. He welcomes your comments as long as they’re not insane.