Posted by: Bruce Allen | January 13, 2018

The Clock is Ticking for The Donald

Democrats and independent voters, along with an increasing number of straight-ticket Republicans, are enjoying watching the lights slowly and figuratively going on inside the head of Donald Trump. Trump, who for decades could have things exactly the way he liked them by snarling, snapping his fingers, and threatening to sue anyone who got in the way of his getting his way, is finding out that things don’t work that way in Washington.

During the 2016 election, the majority of Clinton voters would have told you that most if not all of Trump’s campaign promises were untenable. From jobs at Carrier Corporation in Indianapolis, which has sent almost 40% of the jobs Trump bragged about having saved, to Mexico in the past three months, to pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. From implementing a “beautiful health plan for all, you’re going to love it, believe me” to advancing the damage of an already-damaged ACA. True, he helped hijack a supreme court nominee, and rammed a grossly regressive tax plan through the chests of democrats.

Utility companies have announced plans to close and/or convert a record number of plants from coal to natural gas in 2018. The heavily-promised jobs in the coalfield are not coming back. China is cutting back its consumption of coal in favor of natural gas and renewables.

The Wall, once the central plank of his many momentary platforms, will not be the monolith he portrayed during the campaign. It most certainly won’t be paid for by Mexico. His America First program, when examining foreign trade, will reduce the size of the market available to American manufacturers from $21 trillion, across the globe, to $4 trillion, the size of the US economy. The World market can survive much more easily without the U.S. than the U.S. can survive the loss of the World market. Not gonna happen.

Meaningful immigration reform–not gonna happen. DACA and a long term budget agreement–not gonna happen. Even infrastructure, once considered a bipartisan slam dunk, is not gonna happen in any meaningful way. Which is okay, actually, in that the economy is doing pretty well without more fiscal stimulus.

The Russia story does not go away because Trump wants it to. On the contrary, it seems to grow like a snowball rolling down the side of a snow-covered hill, baby. It’s always been about obstruction of justice, the justice to be enforced for money laundering, doing business with Russian oligarch banks which, in turn, leads to blackmail from Putin on behalf of his oligarch buds. “Donald, we have no interest in releasing documents relating to your ownership position, and leverage, in these Russian businesses. None. It is my job to ensure they do not leak. It is far easier for me to attend to this if I am not being whipsawn by questions relating to collusion Every. Single. Day. Kindly make these questions go away.”

He simply can’t keep most of his campaign promises, as they were a fantasy to begin with. His political capital is virtually gone. He has no political strategy and no one to help him develop one, with Sloppy Steve now pissing outside the tent. More indictments–Don Jr., Jared, family–are going to come down any day. McMasters and McGahan are history; Gary Cohn won’t be far behind them. There are virtually no capable candidates to replace them.

So, Trump’s political viability now depends upon the November mid-terms. If, as expected, the House turns over to the Dems, and perhaps the Senate, too, all will be lost for him. His Maginot Line, the Republican majority on the Hill, will have been breached, with nothing standing between constitutional process and his own disgrace but, well, nothing.

By then, the Trumpian dismantling of the United States as a functioning bureaucracy and world leader will have had another year to undercut American institutions, values and conventions. China will be a major beneficiary of the fact that Russia is playing us for a rube. We are taking every bait Putin offers Trump, and the Chinese are buying the world, especially the “shithole” countries. Not surprisingly, these countries react better to a prospective ally with money to invest and who does not call them a shithole country, than they do to one that threatens to take away money, and calls them a shithole country. China’s Vampire Squid plan, to suck out every third world natural resource on the globe through the blood funnel of international trade, is being abetted by Trump’s ignorance and crudity.

Once Congressional Republicans internalize the fact that their support for Trump at this time amounts to obstruction of justice, they may or may not react. So far, most haven’t. Many are choosing retirement rather than facing the passenger train of national anger likely to arrive in November. Mueller, who runs a tight ship, is likely to start making noise in the spring and summer. Getting the prosecutorial flywheel up to speed.

Democrats can hear, in the faint distance, the sound of a heavy train picking up speed. Onboard the train will be registered Democrats and independents, women, people of color, moderate Republicans, people with student loans, people who have lost their health insurance, people who have seen their paychecks go up by $17 a month since the tax bill passed and that Warren Buffet’s companies stand to gain $37 billion.

If both the Senate and House turn over, there is little doubt that impeachment proceedings will commence early in 2019. By then Trump will have likely offended his last remaining apologists in Congress. Someone, a Marc Rubio perhaps, will stand up and proclaim himself The Opportunistic and Loyal Opposition Personified, in early 2019, preparing for a primary challenge to Trump, in the unlikely event he is still around, winning, for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Beginning in January of 2019, Democrats on the Hill may be able to attract sufficient “safe” Republican senators and representatives to be able to override presidential vetoes. This would offer a profound opportunity to stop the bleeding that has marked the Trump administration, that will portray him as an obscenely bad joke, an interloper in the basically decent parade of American presidents. One who is, contrary to his repeated false and vulgar statements, not winning, and not making America great again.

The Republican party is going to have to answer for their enabling support of Donald Trump, of putting party before country. Another congressional committee chair retired just today, wanting to distance himself from the tsunami gathering in the Pacific. Part of the epidemic among centrist Republicans of suddenly wanting to spend more time with their families.

Patriots should brace themselves. Democracy is under assault. The Battle of the Bulge is in front of us. Until Trump is convinced of his own political death, he will fight harder and dirtier than anything we’ve ever seen. Robert Mueller must time his actions right, and this will end well for those who see themselves as Americans first and party members second.

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