With the general election less than a year out and the Trump administration aggressively leaning into openly self-serving behavior, there’s no better time than now to look ahead to 2020 and a nightmare scenario which is becoming likelier by the day.
But first, a few important points.
Number one: Trump is unpopular. Historically so. The current President of the United States is the most unpopular president of the United States in modern history. Sometimes the resilience of support among his diehardsobscures what would otherwise be patently obvious: Trump does not enjoy widespread support among the voting populace.
Number two: Trump is a criminal. He’s not even trying to hide it anymore. The no quid pro quo argument originally put forward regarding the Ukraine/Biden investigation scandal has quickly morphed into OK so it was quid pro quo but everyone does it get over it.
The implications of point one — Trump’s widespread unpopularity — do not augur well for his chances in the upcoming election. Head to head polls, even from his favorite source, Fox News, regularly show him losing by wide margins to the likeliest Democratic contenders.
In a scenario where Trump loses, the implications of point number two are magnified many times over. Former personal attorney Michael Cohen is in jail. Former Director of National Intelligence Michael Flynn is in jail. Former campaign chair Paul Manafort is in jail.
Current President Trump is not in jail, shielded from the consequences of his sloppy, brazen, pervasive, breathtaking criminality by the protections afforded by his office. The Mueller report, for instance, laid out multiple instances of obstruction of justice. Only an internal memo ruling that sitting presidents cannot be indicted stood between Donald J Trump and a criminal referral.
Citizen Trump will not enjoy these additional barriers. Donald Trump knows this. Panic has clearly set in. It’s in the tweets. It’s in the unhinged press conferences. He’s in a tight spot.
We don’t have to guess where this goes next. Trump has evinced time and again a brutal, animalistic survival instinct. The flailing escalation of desperation emanating from the White House provides the blueprint.
President Trump is currently testing the limits of the public, the opposition party, and his enablers within the GOP. In the midst of an impeachment inquiry for self-dealing behavior, he’s doubled and tripled down, even attempting to host the G7 at a Trump resort (before being reined in.)
Thus far, Republicans have chosen blind loyalty to Trump over the oaths of office they all swore. The question is not whether he’s guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He has admitted to the crime in full view of the world. The real question is how pervasive the blithe acceptance of criminality and autocracy is within the Republican Party.
Because make no mistake, the Republican Party is complicit to the hilt in this administration’s criminality. Beyond those with obvious liability, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff Mulvaney, and Attorney General Barr, the depths of culpability in the Republican Party have only been hinted at with each new revelation.
Two of Rudy Giuliani’s associates were arrested last week trying to flee the country, indicted in a campaign finance scheme which saw millions of dollars funneled from shady Russian sources into GOP coffers, including Trump, Governor Ron Desantis of Florida, former Senator Pete Sessions and others.
There are two ways this can go. Trump loses. A new administration takes over. Trump is left exposed to the full force of the law for the first time in his life. He goes down, his friends in the GOP are implicated in crimes.
Or... he doesn’t lose. The election was stolen. There were irregularities. The Democrats were up to their old tricks. We will need to hold off on installing the new president until we get this all sorted out. Everyone involved in law-breaking stays in office and out of jail.
Why would we think this group has any qualms about election integrity? The whole thing with the Ukraine is about election integrity. The whole thing with 2016 was about election interference. Trump openly welcomed the interference. They got away with it.
With everything on the line, why wouldn’t the same bad actors try to get away with it again?
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