Meh. The Russians are bothering us again.
I am not one of those who thinks the Russians managed to actually hack into our election booths and throw the election, and, yet, it is kind of weird that Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania and Florida. Spooky weird.
So, let’s play pretend.
What could we do, after the fact, if we proved 100% that Russian hackers had managed to hack into our election systems and throw the election for Donald Trump. Then what?
Well, the short answer is: WE ARE COMPLETELY FUCKED.
There simply is no effective method to nullify a presidential election. It’s not like we can recall the Electoral College and tell them to vote for someone else. That ship, as they say, has sailed. It is not a bug, but a feature of our system that it’s so difficult to get rid of a president once he or she is in office. It’s that stability that has helped us weather any number of catastrophes over the centuries.
I mean, even if we got rid of Trump, we still have Pence who is not as bad as Trump in some ways because he’s at least sane, but worse in others because he has an ideology that he adheres to when it comes to his absolute world view. And there is zero possibility that the Vichy Republicans would impeach BOTH Trump and Pence, and even if they did, we have Paul Ryan to deal with, who is a gutless stooge to Trump if ever there was one.
So, really, there’s nothing we can do. The revelation that the Russians had successful hacked out election would probably cause a epic, if momentary, Constitutional Crisis, but the thing that people like me want — a center-Left president who does what Hillary Clinton would have done had she become president simply is completely, totally impossible. It simply is not going to happen.
We’re stuck with Republicans for a sold two year and they can do all sorts of damage to the traditional welfare state between now and 2019, which would be the earliest we could start to fix this problem and that only works on the assumption that a Blue Wave might flip the Congress Democratic.
And, really, the only scenario that comes anywhere near being a reality is in 2019 the Democratic Congress manages to impeach both Trump and Pence, blocks Pence from naming a successor and then we endup with President Nancy Palosi. That’s pretty much an impossible scenario for various reasons, in large part because the hysterical 30% of the population who hates Hillary Clinton would hate Nancy Palosi just as much. America has some serious fucking problems in its political system and they ain’t going no where anytime soon. Let that sink in, folks.
So, dry your tears. Pull yourself up. We’re fucked. Really, the only thing we can do is, as I keep suggesting, engage people who disagree with us. Try to overcome tribal politics as best we can and try to heal the bizarre wounds that risk tearing the nation asunder.
If the rise of Trumplandia has proven anything, it’s that a fool and his nation’s self-respect and autonomy are soon departed. That core 30% of the electorate who is Donald Trump’s base simply won’t care if we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his 2016 campaign colluded — hell, even co-ordinated — with the Russians. It’s just not important to them as they sit back in their recliner threatening to smack their wife and drinking a cold one as they think about the job at the coal mine.
The Tsar-a-Largo scandal that is rattling its way through Washington is pretty much a Washington issue. And there is a real risk that even if Trump is impeached and convicted that instead of going the fuck away,he, like Richard Nixon before him, will become some sort of warped martyr for the those people who are so extreme in their conservative world view that down is up and hot is cold.
And that wouldn’t even begin to address the fundamental crisis that the American Republic current is suffering. Trump, a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue managed to make his way through the system and not only survive but prosper. Something is not right with this picture.
Additionally, there is no sign that the Vichy Republicans have in any way grown a backbone. They are still callow, complicit and prostrate before King Trump I, Autocrat of All The American States. It seems as though history is moving at light speed these days and we simply don’t have time to catch up.
It is very possible that we’ve entered a new, dangerous dystopian epoch in our nation’s history and it could be a very long time before we can look back and have some frame of reference to figure out how fucked up things are. There are some basic questions that I simply don’t have the answer to. Will the Vichy Republicans ever care about the nation and its Constitutional order? What will be the ultimate outcome of this chronic Constitutional crisis that seems to flare up every few weeks?
I just don’t know the answer to these and other questions. And, just like Watergate, people could still be puzzling over how it all happened and why decades after the fact. Given how elaborate and epic this imbroglio is, it is probably very likely that many, many, many books will be written about Tsar-a-Largo, regardless of the outcome.
Just the idea that the Republican Party, the party not only of Lincoln but of Ike, Nixon and Reagan would kowtow to a foreign power so willingly — especially Russia! — simply for the sake of obtaining and maintaining power boggles this child of the Cold War’s mind. This is seriously fucked up, is all I gotta say.
It’s a modern historic tragedy, on a par with Vichy France, and because it’s happening to us right now, we can’t make sense of it all. We live in extraordinary times and my only suggestion is that perhaps this is a knee jerk reaction against eight years of “No Drama Obama.”
But, regardless, as I’ve said before, American civil society continues to reel from the growth and power of Trumplandia and we just have to have hope. We have to stop raging at the insane things that happen as a part of Trumplandia and we need to start engaging with its citizens to try to figure out what makes them tick.
Only then, maybe we can bridge the gap between us and figure how to get them to take Tsar-a-Largo as the serious threat to the Republic that 70% of the electorate thinks it is.
It seems like there is a growing possibility that instead of attacking North Korea as we all feared, Donald Trump instead pulled out of the Paris Accord as a kind of value free wag the dog. Instead of killing millions of people in the short term to save his administration, he put the lives of billions at risk in the long term.
One trap that is too easy for people like me to fall into is the notion that Trump finally, finally did something so egregious that he will face some sort of political consequence. It is far too easy for people like me to throw up our hands in giddy outrage, and think that there’s no way that Trump can recover from his latest screw up.
But given his strategy is to pander to a base that is surreal in its hysterics and unwillingness to have any connection to reality, and given how that base has almost absolute sway over the Vichy Republican Establishment, it seem as though Trump will not only survive but prosper politically.
That’s the whole point of all of this. People like me get angry, people who support Trump are ecstatic and everyone is distracted from the horrific agenda that the Trump Administration is pushing through Congress. There comes a point, however, when this cycle has to be broken. There comes a point when The Resistance can’t be distracted from the goal at hand: finding out the truth about the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians that hacked into the American political cycle in 2016. That’s where we need to focus our political might and political questions.
Of course, there is the very real possibility that given how callow and Vichy the Republicans are a this point, we could literally find evidence of direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians and that still wouldn’t be enough to make them raise an eyebrow. They would simply shrug and say no laws were broken and if you really are all that upset about it, come back in 2018 and flip Congress.
That, in itself, is an outrage because such thinking only leads to a chronic Constitutional crisis that will flare up now and again. What’s more, in the 18 months we would have to wait, there would be plenty — plenty — of opportunity for the now illegitimate Trump Administration to do get into all sorts of mischief. Out of sheer desperation, there is a chance they might do something significantly more desperate than simply pull out of a treaty.
Leaving the Paris Accord might not be the last straw politically for the Trump Administration, but merely the first step. If it sees that it has successfully waged the dog with such a distraction, it may feel forced to take the strategy to the next level and actually do as we all fear and actually get people killed by starting a real war with real lives at risk in Korea or Iran.
This is not some idle, imaginary situation. It seems a very real possibility that if the gross malfeasance of the Trump Administration to date is any indication, they won’t blink an eye to use whatever means necessary to push through their hateful agenda.
That I’m getting so worked up about this proves I’m right. Trump is using the Paris Accord departure to piss people like me off, while fluffing the base. All Steve Bannon cares about is placating the base and if there is one thing that core 30% of the population that makes up Trumplandia loves, is seeing the liberal Washington Establishment run around like a chicken with its head cut off.
So, you can explain to me all you like how Trump’s reasoning for leaving the Paris Accord is complete and total bullshit, that’s besides the point. Trumplandia elected Trump to stir the pot, and the more Trump does just that, the more Trumplandia gets a raging hard-on.
That’s why we really need to cool it about getting so upset about the Paris Accord. We have to prioritize. We need to put issues in something akin to triage. And while it may hurt to do this, to not be so angry about leaving the Paris Accord, it’s far more important that we focus absolutely on Tsar-a-Largo.
Proving collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, while not criminal, would be a very effective hammer against the Vichy Republicans in 2018 and would likely eventually result in impeachment proceedings. Remember, impeachment is a political act and so collusion and the coverup of such collusion would likely rise to the bar of an impeachable act. And that doesn’t even begin to address all the crazy bullshit Trump has done since he got elected.
Hence, I would suggest we keep our eyes on the prize. Don’t get distracted. Don’t allow Trump to wag the dog through his decision to leave the Paris Accord. Keep your powder dry and get ready for the real fight, the fight that may eventually bring Trump down at last.
Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of the Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.
If there is any central event that signifies how fucked the United States is because of the rise of Trumplandia it’s the fact that as we careen towards the very real possibility of proved collusion between the Russians and the 2016 Trump campaign, there’s a growing chorus of people on the Right who shrug and say: So what, no laws were broken.
That’s pretty much the core belief of Trumplandia. There is no shame, no sense of how bad something might look as long as you win and keep power.
This intertwines quiet well with the absolute complete inability to recognize the repeated, staggering hypocrisy that members of the Right have to engage in on a daily basis to maintain their absolute support for their Dear Leader, Donald Trump.
Trumpandia citizens rail about liberal celebrities telling them how to vote, then turn around and vote for a celebrity. They make the use of a private email server on the part of Hillary Clinton a huge campaign issue, then their Dear Leader asks world leaders to call him on his personal insecure cellphone. The list goes on and on.
But the idea that even if we prove collusion that it doesn’t matter because no laws were broken really takes the cake. It seems to me that this is the first step in the defense of Donald Trump down the road once collusion is, in fact, proven.
This brings up an interesting point. The Right acts as if they’re so fucking oppressed and yet they are on a hair trigger to attack any screw up on the part of the Left. President Obama gets caught on a hot mic once that he will have more flexibility with them diplomatically after the election and Right Wing Nut Jobs try to compare that to could have been a wide-ranging, sweeping collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign in 2016.
Let that sink in for a moment.
All of this, of course, gets even more murky when you realize that the Vichy Republicans are so complicit this collusion that it is highly unlikely there would be any consquences even politically for Trump should it be proven beyond a doubt that there was active collusion with the Russians. It goes without saying that had Hillary Clinton’s campaign done anything like that, there would be hell to pay.
So all of this makes the rise of Trumplandia even more dire. It makes even more urgent that Congress flip in 2018. But given the shameless nature of the Republicans and the very methods that they actively use to prevent voting, it is a possible there will be no “Blue Wave.” It could be that we’re no longer a democracy at all. It could be that Trump will be proven to be, on an ethical level a traitor, but on a legal level not so much.
As I keep saying, the only thing I can compare this to is Vichy France. That’s the only time in the last 100 years or so where a nation was prostrate to another nation in such a willful manner. Also, if anything shows how we need to stop falloning Trump everytime he makes a stupid typo on Twitter, this is it.
I know it makes us feel better to get a good laugh from the boorish behavior of the president, but we need to wake up. We need to start taking all of this a lot more seriously. Instead of laughing, we should be figuring out more effective ways to combat Trumplandia.
So, as I keep saying, don’t rage, engage. Think of constructive ways you can engage in the political process to help save this nation that we all hold so dear. We no longer have to worry about the prospect of a dystopian future, we now live in a very dystopian present.
Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.
by Shelton Bumgarner
When people are openly talking about the leader of the free world maybe being a Russian agent, we got a problem. But that’s pretty much what one of my favorite writers, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, is suggesting this piece at the magazine’s website.
What Chait can’t quite figure out, though, is if Trump is a willful participant in treason, or if he’s just so stupid and easily influenced by flattery that it just seems that way.
The latest huge amount of smoke in this growing scandal, which I refer to as Tsar-a-Largo, is the weird backchannel that Trump’s ever-silent son-in-law Jared Kushner wants to setup with the Russians during the transition. It’s all very weird.
The whole thing is murky and there are no easy answers. It is chilling, however, that Trump is pretty much doing exactly what you would think a quisling would do in this situation: he’s trying to destroy the post WWII liberal order that has kept us from all dying in WWIII.
But now we’re having to brace ourselves for some extraordinary times. Some pretty weird things are going to happen in the coming days and there are no easy answers, in large part because the Vichy Republicans simply refuse to do their Constitutional duty and be a check and balance on the presidency.
It’s just not going to happen anytime soon. We’re all very screwed, it seems.
by Shelton Bumgarner
I have a personal theory about the backchanel that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner tried to set up with the Russians. Since he wanted to use their super-secret communications equipment, it may have been that Donald Trump at that point was really paranoid about the U.S. government tapping his communications just in general and so he told Kushner to do it.
That seems to make the most sense to me.
This, of course, does not explain what, exactly, they wanted to talk about in the first place. It also does not explain the continue fascination with the Russians that Donald Trump continues to display. It just makes no sense. I don’t get it. I don’t understand what is going on.
There is all this smoke, it makes you wonder what the fire is. I am troubled that even if it does come out that Trump and his associates were actually doing something treasonous, that because of America’s tribal politics, the alt-Right and their ilk won’t blink an eye at it.
That is the truly troubling thing about all of this.
By Shelton Bumgarner
One thing that Donald Trump made clear from the beginning of his campaign is he loves the Russians. Now, there have been various explanations for this, from his general love of strongmen to a “pee tape.” But I suspect the actual reason is much more prosaic.
My guess is Trump has so many dirty deals involving the Russians that he has many fiduciary reasons to be nice to the Russians. You hear reports about this or that oil deal that will go through should sanctions be lifted by the American government, but that, at least not yet, has not happened.
But let’s talk about that for a moment.
Trump is supposed to meet Russian President Putin in July as part of a broader summit and the question that lingers is, will the Trump Administration lift the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama Administration as some sort of nefarious quid-pro-quo. Though I have my doubts, I still am not ready to say this won’t happen. It’s still possible. It might happen. Maybe.
Given that Trump had no problem firing FBI Director James Comey and then admitting he had Russia on the brain when he did so, it is not too much of a stretch to believe Trump might lift sanctions on Russia after a personal meeting with Putin.
The reaction on the party of Trumplandia probably would be muted. There would be the usual rationalizations on the part of the center-Right and the usual insane outrage on the part of the center-Left. But in the end, things would settle down.
I am much more concerned about what might happen with Ukraine. The Ukraine front has been really quiet the last few years and it is difficult to believe that President Putin would give up a historic opportunity to invade Ukraine in a general way given that it’s likely Trump wouldn’t say anything about it.
That’s something that we really haven’t seen yet — an outside crisis not of Trump’s making. Most of the damage to Trump’s administration since Jan. 20th has been self-inflicted. If the Russians would to invade Ukraine abruptly as part of a huge land-grab that might be a crisis that Trump simply would not be prepared for. His Russian sympathies would be put to the test in an epic manner and I think ultimately he would show he has zero backbone when it comes to the Russians.
But, as I noted, I doubt that would really matter much to the stalwarts of Trumplandia. They won’t care. All they care about is abortion and tax cuts. The bullshit of FOX News has hardened to a smell diamond and there is little we can do it about for the time being.
It is kind of sad that we are going to have to wait until for months, if not years, before the Special Counsel’s investigation into Trump comes to any kind of conclusion. Trump can do a huge amount of damage between now and then and it’s sad that we have to wait that long.
Our only real hope is the 2018 mid-terms. But even then, my expectations are muted. We’re no longer a Republic, so it’s possible we’r screwed for good.