There comes a point when you have to finally admit that the Trump is not a cause, but a symptom of deep-seated, existential problems with the United States’ political system. As such, the moment Trump’s acquitted by the Senate, the Republic has effectively fallen.
At that point, it’s simply a matter of how bad things get and for how long. This is when you have to take a deep breath and realize that there’s a real risk that MAGA will rapidly mutate and go full Nazi very, very soon. If The Kooch or Kris Kobach becomes Trump’s Veep, not Pence, this is all but assured. All Republicans have to do is get Trump past Election Day 2020 and they’re set for a generation, if not more.
They can weaponize ICE camps, round up everyone they don’t like and start the American Killing Fields. I wish this was hyperbole, but, alas, it’s not. It’ll happen in fits and starts, but it will happen. Once Trump — or his successor — starts ranting about the need for a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment,” then, well, American Carnage is here for good.
There are any number of really dark scenarios you could pace out at that point. The literal end of the world. Millions dead. A Thousand Year Trump that lasts at least until global climate change shakes things up enough that the regime buckles.
I wrote all that to lay out what I believe will, in fact, happen, over the course of the next few years. But there’s one major unknown unknown — Trump’s mental state. It’s rather dark and tragic that in the short term, the only way that the Republic stands is not because we all come to our senses, but because Trump loses his so quickly — and manages to bring Pence down with him in a very quick series of events — that President Pelosi serves as a caretaker president simply for there to be a free and fair election in 2020. But that is so completely unknown — he could simply be a puddle in 20202 and still re-election — that I would not bet on it as saving us.
But it is, at least, something to think about. I just hope ICE lets me finish the novel I’m writing before they drag me out of my bed in the middle of the night.
The key issue before us is the Republican Party has finally, officially come detached from any connection to liberal democracy. On an institutional level, it’s the Trump Party now. The Republican Party is so completely consumed by Trump’s ideology — or lack thereof — that they simply don’t care about anything other than defending Trump em masse. They have a short term goal, and that’s it: successfully get Trump acquitted in the Senate by any means necessary, even if it means destroying civil society in the process.
So all the tut-tuting of Republican logic by Blue Check Liberals on Twitter is wasted time. This is not about logic or facts, this is about white knuckled political tribalism — identity politics for angry white male Baby Boomers, if you will. Throw in plutocrats, the Religious Right and gun rights advocates and well, here we are.
All of their talk about “letting the people decide” is a bad faith argument to its core. Given what Trump’s accused of — bribery, extortion and political cheating on a strategic level in the upcoming 2020 election — they know the moment Trump’s acquitted he will pretty much go full Putin. He will pardon everyone he needs to pardon and he will instruct Barr to indict (criminal referrals) whomever needs to be indicted. He will, at last, be the authoritarian autocrat he’s always wanted to be. The only things stopping him will be his growing mental instability and his general criminal incompetency. That’s it. That’s why I think their next immediate goal will be to replace Pence with someone like Kris Kobach, or Tom Cotton or The Kooch. Someone who can take over for Trump in his second term should he turn into a mental puddle.
All signs are pointing to the bad guys winning. ICE will be weaponized and I will die in an ICE camp or maybe an American Killing Fields somewhere like upstate New York. So if you see this worst case scenario as your BEST case scenario, you can really just fuck off you piece of shit.
Having said all that, there are at least some known unknowns at this point. Republicans are so completely invested in Trump’s fate on an existential level that they have one of two high-risk endgames before them. Either they “win” and we become a Putin-style “managed democracy,” or they lose and the crisis grows even worse for everyone involved (in a sense.) A major political party can’t grow this radicalized so suddenly without a bolt popping of somewhere. But before we get to that point, let’s see what might stop Republicans from finally destroying the Republic.
Trump Loses His Mind
This is a real wildcard. It’s a big deal because it’s a lingering issue that may pop up at any moment in a fashion that would throw the country into an unprecedented crisis. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be July 2020 (if he’s still in office.) In real terms, it’s the most likely thing that would force him out of office politically anytime soon.
Major Anti-Impeachment Violence On The Part of MAGA I used to think this might happen. Now, not so much. But if it did happen, that would be one of those impossible-to-spin-but-they’ll-try-anyway things that would really ramp up the political pressure to end Trump’s presidency sooner rather than later.
His Taxes This is one of those things that is so important and yet may only happen after he’s acquitted so it’s a lulz.
Unexpected Testimony Don McGahn or John Bolton or one of the Russians involved in Rudy’s “drug deal” unexpectedly testifying in a timely fashion would definitely put a different spin on things going forward.
But the thing is — a growing number of people not in the Republican criminal cult are flabbergasted at their complete refusal to see what’s going on with Trump. Americans are not Russians. While as of right the moment I think Republicans have a 110% chance of burning the whole fucking country down and successfully protecting Der Fuhrer — and indirectly leading to my death in an ICE camp sometime no later than maybe 2023 — there is also a greater-than-zero-sum chance that some pretty shocking things might happen in the near term to at least make that now near-inevitability a bit more complicated.
What those “shocking things” may be, I simply have no idea. But the conditions are there for political events the likes of which we’ve only seen rarely in American history. I’m talking 9/11-levels of shock to our political system. And maybe more than one! The sad truth is no matter what happens in the next few months, the nation is in a new political era. It’s up to us if it’s a good or bad one.
Shelton Bumgarner is writing his first novel. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
I am a nobody. No one listens to me. So when someone, anyone — especially someone from notable like Washington D.C. — looks at anything I’ve written it at least makes me curious.
It’s probably nothing. But all I know is, Trump is hanging out in the White House’s private residence a lot these days. And the whole administration is a bunch of criminal liars. So, it could be nothing, it could be that someone, somewhere knows enough about Trump’s mental and or physical condition to want to know what I’ve written on the political implications of him getting far, far worse.
The issue with whatever the fuck is wrong with Trump’s mind is it’s chronic and degenerative. It’s getting worse day by day, if in a somewhat subtle manner. I thought there was a chance he would snap under the pressure of impeachment, but I think he’s going to make out well enough to win a second term, weaponize ICE and ship me to an American Killing Fields whenever my ICE agent notices my anti-MAGA ranting online.
Mental issues are very difficult to predict. So, the absolute worst case scenario would be whatever it wrong with him reaches a critical stage at some point late enough in the 2020 election cycle that there is absolutely nothing politically we can do about it. The 25th Amendment is a dead letter and if at some point at around July 2020 Trump is obviously completely batshit insane, our entire political system will jam up. There simply wouldn’t be any way to do anything about it. Even if Trump was demonstrably fucking insane, he would still win re-election.
My absolute worst case scenario is Trump after he gets re-nominated simply says, “Fuck you, why even vote? I’m going to bribe the Electors and then pardon everyone anyway.” Legally, there would be nothing we could do. Politically, we would have exhausted the impeachment option AND Republicans would say “Let the people decide.” I don’t really expect anything that bad to happen, but it’s a least a possibility given what’s going on right now.
I honestly don’t know what the endgame would be in that respect.
Well, one thing’s for sure, no matter what the outcome of the impeachment process, the political hangover is going to be a bitch. MAGA Republicans were already a hysterical lynch mob before this all happened. The process of impeachment is turning them into fascist radicals completely devoid of decency and absolutely dedicated to destroying the Republic in the name of power and greed.
You know what I can compare it to? The old JMU urban legend about a group of friends sitting around drinking when someone confesses that they stole the personalized New York State licence tags off someone’s car. They, being from Virginia, think its a lulz. The person at the party who learns this, being from New York State is enraged because of how expensive the tags are. This leads to a huge fight.
The same with Republicans. Trump stole America’s personalized licence tags and Republicans want to lulz it. They see democracy as solely as a means to an end. Everyone else, meanwhile, is like, “Holy shit!” So, if what Republicans hope happens — Bill Barr successfully plays the part of Q, or whatever — doesn’t happen, they are likely to grow so worked up rhetorically that they damage themselves politically for a generation. Let me quickly qualify that statement — the Republican Party ain’t going no where. They’re bad faith political actors on an institutional level and they’re base is cool with that. They are so radicalized, so criminal, so fascist, that they honestly do think a fascist theocratic state would be an “improvement” over the Godless transgender one we now have (in their eyes.)
Macro, systemic issues caused Trump’s election and they’re only getting worse, not better. We have a solid 20-ish years before the youngest of the Baby Boomers begin to drop dead just as the Browning of America begins to kick in. Throw in, like, Florida vanishing into the sea, and there are some major things that are likely to cause Republicans political problems in the coming decades. But they’ve been aware of this since at least 1974. Trump just happens to be the moron at the right place and time to make their plot against American democracy a reality.
But let me be clear — the best case scenario for non-hysterical Americans is simply the context of this clusterfuck is a bit different. Ford BARELY lost the 1976 election after giving a full and complete pardon to Nixon. Barely. It was a razor thin defeat. So, it’s very possible that we could get rid of Trump politically and either Pence wins the presidency in his own right or some batshit insane racist fucktard like Tom Cotton, Kris Kobach, Don Jr or Tucker Carlson does the same thing in 2020.
I still think that in a surreal way, our best case scenario might be a president Ivanka Trump. She’s such a doofus that not only would the MAGA base be happy, but she’s probably so ill-equipped to be president that she wouldn’t be able to conspire with a foreign power to throw the election. She would effectively be a caretaker president who would take the blame if the economy went south, giving Democrats what they needed to win the presidency.
Remember, though, the clock would be ticking for any Democratic president sworn in on Jan. 20, 2020. They would have just over 2 years before Republicans would impeach them to make a political point. Republicans after Trump is somehow magically removed from office will be out for blood. They are going to lie in wait until they can strike and cause as much damage to a Democrat president as possible. Republicans have no shame. They will gleefully be huge hypocrites if it means they can bounce back into the White House in 2025.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself.
Even simply impeaching Trump at this point is still up in the air. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
I had a minor tempest-in-a-teapot run-in on Twitter with The New York Time’s Trump Whisperer Maggie Haberman. She sniffed – in so many words — that I was a hayseed rube in a flyover state who did not know how REAL journalism was practiced. It says a lot about my personal relationship to power I have a lingering resentment over this little minor event. It’s not like I have any recourse. She’s got fame, ACCESS, power and the respect of her peers.
All I got is a novel I’m trying to write.
Anyway, the whole point of that was to bring up something I feel Haberman gets so very, very, very wrong about Trump. Trump is a doofus. He’s a moron. Something is mentally wrong with him and he lacks any sense of empathy. As Benjamin Wittes of the Lawfare blog quipped once, Trump’s “ambivalence is only mitigated by his incompetence.” Trump won the political lottery of a lifetime. Someone like him was probably going to pop up between 2016 and 2024 do to macro socio-economic trends in the United States. Trump just happened to the would-be president of Sharknato who happened to jump in at just the moment.
You could, of course, make the case that Trump got a little help from his Russian friends along the way. But in real terms, just won because of dumb fucking luck.
Haberman and her fellow access journalists simply can not process that Trump is simply a doofus — nothing more than a deranged version of Being There’s Chauncey Gardner. They probably feel that if they accept that Trump is just a very lucky Right Wing celebrity Twitter troll then their own investment in their person ascent to power is somehow invalidated. They have a vested interest in making me believe that Trump’s latest clusterfuck is really him subtly messing white women ages 24-35 in the exurbs of Phillie.
There’s no there there when it comes to Trump’s acumen. Yeah, he’s an adept marking and branding guy. And he has a celebrity’s knack for knowing an intended audience. But to suggest he has some sort of native political acumen is an insult to my intelligence.
One need go no further than what’s going on at this very moment. Trump is such a fucking moron that he not only waited 24 hours to do the exact same thing that Mueller’s poor “optics” in front of Congress pardoned him for, he bragged about it on the very phone call! Then was so clueless that instead of slow walking the release of the damaging information until sometime early next year, he releases it so House Democrats had time to find their backbones and start the impeachment process with time to spare before the ever-critical 2020 primaries.
Trump is so stupid on a political level that instead of taking the L with impeachment and laughing all the way to acquittal in the Senate, he is actively doing everything in his power to produce the conditions for his fate being decided by extra-political means. By this I mean anti-impeachment violence. Of course, that problem goes hand in hand with the real likelihood he’s going to snap on a mental level at some point during the impeachment process.
So, Maggie Haberman, spare me the ever-so-serious tweets about Trump’s fucking political genius. He’s a doofus and your willingness to trade access for any semblance of journalistic independence is enough to make me smirk whenever I hear one of your peers tout your journalistic abilities.
Things are beginning to move fast now. Right Wing media is out for blood when it comes to the Whistleblower. They have apparently posted an imagine of the home of the person they believe to be the Whistleblower. So, that’s a pretty good indication that we’re racing towards some sort of situation where Trump feels he has the political cover to simply blurt the guys name out on Twitter.
I don’t think the average person realizes how bumpy things will get at that point. Trump is going try to message the base that this is all a witch hunt and or some sort of surreal attack on the guy’s personal character or history. My real fear is he’s going to get so fucking worked up about this poor guy that he’s going to say something so shocking, so transactional in a clueless way that it will be easy for the average person to believe a Trump tweet directly lead to an unprecedented indictment of political violence.
But that is, thankfully, the absolute worst case scenario. A more likely outcome is that in their desperation, Republicans will demand the guy testify before Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Committee so he can yell at the guy for 11 hours on TV.
I have lingering concern, however, that Trump is willfully going all-in on the Whistleblower that rational political thought will be sorely lacking for a pretty sizable chunk of the electorate. They will be so rabid in their desire to….uhhhhh….what? What point would they prove by physically harming the Whistleblower? What political objective, in real terms, would they achieve? None, of course, which is why after 24 hour hours of Republicans spinning this tragedy as a sign that impeachment has to end because “it’s obviously tearing the nation apart” the drive to get rid of Trump will go into overdrive. I just can’t see the average American shrugging if this horrible event happen. Political violence is so alien to American civil society that if there was even a whiff that Trump was somehow responsible for it that he may face some pretty serious political consequences.
But I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know. I guess anything is possible.
We are, however, just about to enter a very dark, very surreal moment in our nations political history, no matter what happens once the Whistleblower’s name is common knowledge.
It seems to me that we’ve crossed into a new phase of the pitched political war between Trump and his growing numbers of foes. Trump’s growing more noticeable in his mental instability. Not a lot, but some of his diction in his tweeting is growing a little more panicky.
I stand my prediction that this is a better-than-zero chance that Trump’s finally going to lose his shit in a rather spectator fashion before this is over with. So much so that when the history books of this shit show are written, they will note that but for Trump’s insane reaction to impeachment, he likely would have survived.
That is, of course, in a sense a little bit of my own liberal wishful thinking. It’s very possible that Trump will manage to hold it together just long enough to be acquitted, replace Pence with Kris Kobach, win the general — by any means necessary — then finally collapse into a puddle at some point in his second term so Kobach can establish The Thousand Year Trump.
Or, put another way, I wouldn’t start jotting Trump’s political obit just yet. But Trump’s already fragile mental state is going to be pushed to the limit as the existential nature of the threat he now faces grows large in his mind. If his usual mindfuckery doesn’t work and he gets impeached, he may be so far gone by that point that he isn’t even able to be acquitted by his Republican lackeys in the Senate because he’ll just be totally fucking bonkers.
I would note in passing that we are now at a crossroads. We may be in the pre-pre-pre-pre-pre stages of fabled, mystical Pence Pivot. If Trump’s too discombobulated to fuck with the election in 2020, the Republican Party may think long and hard about how Pence is a rather traditional — if insanely conservative — pol and in comparison he’s likely to do a lot better than Trump.
But, again, nobody knows nuthin about what’s going to happen with impeachment, least of all me. I have a few educated guesses, but I just can’t pace out any sort of endgame right now.
Well, buckle up. Trump’s now goading anyone who will listen to out the whistlebower so he can turn around and rant about every aspect of the poor guy’s life on Twitter. The fact that the guy’s name is bouncing around the MAGA-InfoWars Bullshit Echo Chamber and Trump feels he doesn’t have the political cover to do anything about it is obviously really beginning to eat away at him.
Trump allies keep queuing the information up for him to retweet — namely Sen. Rand Paul — and for some reason Trump’s yet to take the bait. So, what I predicted would happen is, in fact, happening. The pressure is now slowly rising. Trump is stoking it as much as possible, too. Since he can’t rant about the personal life of the whistleblower, he rants about how he can’t do it in the guise of how the press knows the name and won’t publicize t so he can get the poor guy murdered with a “joke.”
At this point, the issue how, exactly, the name becomes so widely known that Trump feels he can blurt it out on Twitter. This is when the Trump Train becomes the Crazy Train. If I was playing music at this part of the Trump movie, I would play Motorhead’s The Ace Of Spades over a montage of the procession of events we’re now seeing unfold before our very eyes. The average person — especially those not on Twitter — has no idea what is about to happen.
Trump is so very, very close to being comfortable ranting all day about every aspect of the whistleblower to such an extent that any normal non-fuckwit MAGA fascist racist misogynist — will be taken aback by how dangerous Trump’s rhetoric has become. It’s all going to come to a head one way another. Either Sen. Lindsey Graham calls on the whistleblower to testify in public under oath for 11 hours to distract from the impeachment process or the poor guy is literally murdered in cold blood by a fucking MAGA dipshit with an AR-15 who wants to martyr themselves for the Der Fuhrer.
Republicans will clutch their pearls and say the MAGA assassin was OBVIOUSLY mentally ill and the president can’t be held accountable for that guys actions, and besides, we OBVIOUSLY need to end the impeachment process immediately because people are dying.
While I generally have grown extremely jaded with Trump president, I have a least a minor amount of hope that if this unlikely — but not impossible — scenario occurs, Trump’s political days will be numbered. But, who knows, really.
All I do know is that things are on the cusp of growing far more surreal and dark than we could have ever imagined.
Impeachment is a political, not criminal, process. As such Republicans are growing increasingly desperate to change the media narrative so we’re not talking about Trump’s numerous impeach-and-convict worthy crimes, but the whistleblower on a personal level.
Republicans — especially Lindsey Graham — are itching to do to the whistleblower what they feel was done to Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings — it wasn’t policy that almost sank him, it was his personal life. So, Republicans want to out the whistleblower so they can first having public hearings where they scream at him for 11 hours but also so they can “kavanaugh”him in the eyes of the public.
Now, what’s bonkers about all of this is it really plays into the Republican base-only strategy. While about 35% of the electorate is fully prepared to dismiss the now-confirmed accusations on the part of the whistleblower because he was apparently Joe Biden’s pointman on Ukraine, the rest of the electorate can process this as rational human beings. Just because someone who you think doesn’t like you points out you did a crime, doesn’t mean you don’t have to face any consequences in the eyes of the law.
But, I suppose, Republicans feel as long as they can discredit the whistleblower strictly on his possible political motivations for 35% of the electorate, Trump survives in the Senate and they continue to rob the treasury, get young hack MAGA judges and drink a flood of liberal tears.
While on the face of this, this is a potentially winning strategy, there are some known unknowns that might — just might — give Republicans pause of thought before they go all-in on this strategy. Trump could get so worked up that he has a throwaway tweet along the lines of, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Some fucking fuckwit MAGA person murders the whistleblower with an AR-15 and the Republicans have to go on TV to spin THAT. (Which, of course, they will do.)
But that’s just a risk. I guess if you’re a fucking racist, misogynistic, criminal fascist organization like the modern Republican Party, as long as the Dear Leader is still in power at the end of the day, the rest is a lulz.