08 March 2017

Trump as prelude, and the challenge ahead

Charles Blow recently put into words what millions who have been following the news must be thinking.  Since we've known for months that the Russian regime interfered in our election, including by spreading fake news designed to undermine Hillary, Trump should not be regarded as legitimately President, at least until a thorough investigation is completed.  Blow calls for a "pause" in Trump's administration -- a cessation, at least until the investigations are finished, of his authority to carry out any substantive actions.

The problem, of course, is that no one has the authority to impose and enforce such a "pause", nor does Blow suggest how it could be done, other than that "the American people must demand" it.  (That, in turn, is pretty much what's been happening anyway, as the public marches in protest and deluges Congress with furious opposition to various items of the Republican agenda as they come up.)  If, as already seems clear, Trump owes his election to Russian interference, then he could be impeached, especially if he collaborated with the Russian efforts.  But that would leave us with Pence occupying the Presidency, which would presumably be just as illegitimate, since he won the Vice Presidency in the same "hacked" election.

If we determine that the election result was actually illegitimate due to foreign interference, the only way to truly rectify that would be to hold a new election.  But I'm not aware of any Constitutional basis for doing that, and if it were done by some ad hoc process, then further questions of legitimacy would arise.

In reality, I'm convinced Trump will be impeached within a few months at the most, because the Republicans in Congress would actually prefer Pence in the Presidency, and no rational person can be happy at having Trump's bizarre and dangerous personality in such a position of power.  (Oliver Bullough at The Guardian argues that Putin himself didn't intend this outcome and is alarmed as well.)  If so, the illegitimacy angle needs to be emphasized as much as possible, for practical reasons.  History will remember Trump as a loud and colorful but ultimately trivial footnote, a mere brief prelude to the Pence administration.  Our challenge will be to keep up the intensity of protest and resistance that Trump has inspired, after Trump is no longer there.  The fact that Pence owes his position to the same illegitimate election will help to do that.


Blogger One Fly said...

I'm not as convinced as you. He has to go for sure. The reality this has happened and how, is worse than a shitty soap opera.

Even without the Russian interference the fact that millions in my country think this man had/has credibility of any sort blows me away.

Give me a fucking break.

With Pence and his credibility having taken it up the yang yang the Right may be able to be held at bay a bit.

08 March, 2017 07:10  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"Our challenge will be to keep up the intensity of protest and resistance that Trump has inspired, after Trump is no longer there."

Our challenge is also to get out the facts after each and every false statement Trump makes in his tweets and in his speeches. His falsehoods about Guantanamo releases, for example, have been refuted, but have the facts reached his base? And if they have, does it matter to them?

I'm not sure I can call what he says "lies," because a liar needs to actually know something about the subject he's deliberately misrepresenting. I don't think Trump knows much about anything, except beauty pageants, golf courses, and casinos. So I guess I have to call what he says "imbecilic bullshit." Actually, I really don't know how to define someone like Trump. I've never seen anyone like him in American politics.

08 March, 2017 08:07  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

"History will remember Trump as a loud and colorful but ultimately trivial footnote, a mere brief prelude to the Pence administration."

I sincerely hope so, Infidel.

The truly sad thing about this imbroglio that we find ourselves in is that it was completely avoidable. The evidence was there right in front of us, but some people--in our media, on the Right, on the Left--chose to ignore it and focus on the emails of Hillary Clinton and alleged crimes committed by her and the DNC against Senator Sanders--unwittingly falling into a trap laid by Wikileaks (and in turn, Russia).

Some people, like the unhinged H.A. Goodman, are still beating this dead horse, calling the Trump/Russia connection a "'Jedi Mind trick' by the DNC to take the attention away from Bernie Sanders' revolution" (yes, he really did tweet that).

Still, there is reason for genuine hope. As you pointed out, the protests and pressure from people has had an effect on the GOP. The Russia/Trump scandal--and it really is a scandal--is not going away. The GOP stands poised to suffer massive losses in elections this year and in 2018 (provided, of course, that they don't try to cheat or steal those elections). And more and more people are becoming involved in standing up to Trump, even those who did not vote last year, but now realize that yes, voting really does matter and it isn't something you can just brush off.

I only wish that we did not have to suffer the harsh lesson being thrust upon us, but here we are. Now we have to stand against it, but never forget it, lest it happen again in the future.

(One more thing--well, more of a rather shameless plug--should be putting up more new drawings soon!)

08 March, 2017 09:52  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

Like you say, even if Trump is removed, Pence is still the beneficiary of Russian interference.

I don't know why Putin would be too upset. He's thrown us into total disarray. Trump will likely be removed soon and Pence will be in charge. So Putin's no worse off and he gets a year or two at least where we are not adversarial to any plans he has world domination-wise. And he has $40 to $70 billion in the bank anyway. Not bad for a poor kid from Leningrad.

08 March, 2017 14:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

One: It's the result of letting millions fester in an alternate reality kept seething with fake news and paranoia. When 20% of a culture becomes so ignorant and unthinking that they take astrology and faith healing and the National Enquirer seriously, eventually they start taking Rush Limbaugh and Drudge seriously. We need to do something about education for critical thinking.

Shaw: Certainly exposing Trump's lies is part of keeping the resistance going. Hard-core Trumpanzees are mostly unreachable, but some can be persuaded -- remember that many people who voted for Trump this time voted for Obama before. About a third of Trump's voters didn't even know that Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing. When they find their own insurance under threat it should concentrate their minds.

Marc: The both-siderists in the media, who tried to depict an equivalence between the left and right in the name of "even-handedness", have a lot to answer for. It's why I push back hard against that whenever I see it being expressed.

Goodman sounds like a Republican, or an idiot (but I repeat myself). If the DNC was able to cause so many of Trump's flunkies to hold dubious meetings with the Russians, its powers must be vast indeed. Electing Hillary should have been a cinch.

The importance of voting seems to be a lesson that gets forgotten every few years and has to be re-learned. The experience of Bush led to massive turnout for Obama, but eight years later the memory had dimmed. Let's hope Trump and all these Republican attacks on the basic social safety net get the message across in time for 2018.

News of more art is always welcome!

Kevin: It depends what Putin was trying to accomplish. He's certainly humiliated and disrupted the US, but one recalls admiral Yamamoto's observation about awakening a sleeping giant. And as the Guardian article argues, it may not be in his interest to disrupt the West too much. Still, there's no denying that the bad guys sometimes win one, and that has happened here.

08 March, 2017 18:45  
Blogger E.A. Blair said...

The big problem with getting rid of Trump is that Pence, while he may not be an unhinged idiot, is an unapologetic fanatic Christian dominionist. He will do everything he can to undermine church/state separation and the gains in equality that have been achieved by women, LGBTQs and others. Pence jailed a woman for using an abortifacient; her initial sentence was 20 years (later reduced). The bill he signed that legalized religious-based discrimination caused a loss of revenue for the state and was both reviled and ridiculed as much as North Carolina's laws have been. He was not well-liked as governor of Indiana the residents of that state may have been relieved to get rid of him, but at the cost of inflicting him on the rest of the country. If some way was found to disqualify Pence, the next in line is the zombie-eyed granny starver, Paul Ryan. Maybe the best we can hope for is for the Democratic Party to retake the House and Senate in 2018 (unless Trup destroys the country by then) and find some way to remove the both of them and put a Democratic speaker in the Oval Office.

09 March, 2017 06:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire republican ticket "won" not just Trump so they both must go. Then the real winning ticket must take the "win" as they are rightly entitled. Remember the popular vote tally!

09 March, 2017 09:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Eric: I'm well aware of Pence's record, and personally I'd have a lot more to worry about with him in the Presidency than Trump. But he's less insane and less dangerous to the outside world than Trump is, and he can be effectively resisted (here's an essay from the enemy's viewpoint arguing that he's too weak to be a real fighter for the theocratic cause). And I can't see leaving Trump in office for two whole years.

Anon: I wish Hillary could be made President, as she rightfully should be. Unfortunately I can't think of any plausible process or scenario which leads to that outcome.

09 March, 2017 19:47  
Blogger Will4Earth said...

It's not the russians that threw the elections. It was the voter registratration crosscheck program supported with taxpayer and Koch money by 30 states bit.ly/2mhotS0

14 March, 2017 11:08  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Will: Vote suppression was certainly a major factor in the outcome. So was the Russian interference.

14 March, 2017 19:05  

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