Thursday, June 8, 2017

No, Donald Trump's Impeachment and/or Resignation Is NOT Inevitable

Today, recently fired FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress, only this time, as a private citizen. Many people who cannot stand President Trump - and there are a lot of us out there - are putting much of their hope that this testimony will not merely undermine President Trump's credibility (now, Trump and credibility are two words combined that do not make sense), and they hope that it will ultimately contribute to Trump being impeached.

Now, as mentioned earlier, I am no Trump fan, but still find it difficult to believe that the whole Russia hacking the election thing will undermine Trump so much that it will lead to his impeachment. Maybe Russia was involved with the hacking and/or undermining the presidential election, and maybe this was an act of ill will by Putin. Maybe even Trump received some help, directly or indirectly. And maybe indeed, Trump's own intolerance for criticism led to his acting very suspiciously once he became president, when he kept firing people who were in position to investigate him. For a little while there, following Comey's firing, I personally became suspicious, hardly believing that even Trump could be that stupid.

However, all of that failed to convince me, personally, that this whole Russia story is worthy of all of the attention that it has received. What this story feels like, at least to me, is a reason for explaining and understanding what many otherwise thinking people simply could not understand: Trump winning the presidential election. Ultimately, it was not the reason that Trump won the election. To put it bluntly, the main reason that Trump won was because Hillary Clinton was so mediocre, and failed to excite people as a candidate. While the election should have been about issues, and Trump should have been stopped precisely because he was so bankrupt and, frankly, hard to understand and/or believe on the issues, the fact of the matter is that due to her overwhelming mediocrity, it became an election about which candidate was considered the worst, the most hated and the least trusted. And unbelievably, Clinton managed to lose even that contest to Trump.

The Democrats had to force her weak candidacy through, as her campaign was effectively stalling, and rival Bernice Sanders had all of the momentum. She lost ten states in a row, and in the national polls, Sanders was closing in on a tie with Clinton. Just to put that into perspective, less than one year earlier, most people had hardly heard of Sanders, and most everyone expected Clinton to win a virtually uncontested Democratic primary. When she was challenged on the issues, her campaign sank quicker than a boulder in water. This is something that alarmed the Democrats, rightly. But the lessons that they learned from it were all wrong, as they panicked, buying into their own invented narrative that Sanders was unelectable, and supposedly too liberal to be elected. Ultimately, they provided Clinton with so much assistance, that it finally helped her through the primary that was supposed to be a walkover, and in the process, they increased the perception that Clinton was not trustworthy. American conservatives had hated her for a long time, but she managed to make progressives feel perhaps even stronger dislike of her in the process, and this was not helped by her own wishy-washy position on the issues. She was too much in favor of corporations to be credible on the issues, and her receiving big money from Wall Street and major healthcare and pharmaceutical players compromised her already eroded credibility further yet.

Her nomination went through because the Democrats were deathly afraid that Sanders was unelectable and would lost the general election as a result. Ironically, all of the polls suggested otherwise, as his fortunes were rising so fast, that he was beginning to look capable of stealing a primary that had once belonged to Clinton, and all of the polls also had him winning the general election. At least as important, all of those same polls suggested that Clinton would lose to many of the leading Republican presidential candidates, which should have served as a warning, but apparently did not.

What is ironic, and almost tragic, really, was that the Democrats were supposed to be the progressive option. They were the party that did not stand still, that was not so afraid of changes, like the Republicans. Yet, the Republicans allowed their outsider candidate, Donald Trump, to win. They did not get involved or conspire to make sure that he would not get the nomination, while the Democrats, behind Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, did everything possible to make sure that Clinton would not lose. It was a classic case of being careful for what you wished for, because you just might get it.

Since the November defeat, these same mainstream Democrats have gone to extraordinary lengths to point the finger of blame at anyone and everyone but themselves. They blame it on Russia, and they blame it on James Comey, and is it not ironic that today, they are relying on the same James Comey to help the credibility of the whole Russia hacking story? They blame it on the same pro-Bernie Sanders crowd that they cheated in the primaries to begin with, which seems the irony of irony. Give us someone solid to vote for in November, and we'll vote for them. Give us a corporate shill like Hillary, and we feel more than ever the need for a serious third option, and not platitudes and lectures about how now is not the time for a protest vote, something that they have mentioned in every single election since at least 2000.

Some are also suggesting that Trump should be impeached based no his conduct while in office, which feels to me to be on more solid ground, although even this is hopeless. Why? Because Trump's party owns a majority in every branch of government, and that is not a non-factor. The recent Rolling Stone article demanding Trump's resignation based on his disgraceful conduct (particularly his irresponsible tweeting) is a case in point.

Frankly, although I agree with many of the ideas in this article, it seems to me more wishful thinking than anything else.

What appalls me far more than Trump are the people who empowered him, who really apparently could not see through him before giving him the most powerful audience in the land, without apparent idea or, worse, concern, that he likely would try to abuse these powers.

Whenever I try and think about what those who supported him were thinking, it is still difficult to not see what they saw in the guy and, perhaps more tellingly, what they either did not see, or were willing to overlook.

Look, the guy is a first class douchebag. Always has been, and always will be. This guy is the ultimate example of everything that is wrong with America, having made his fortune and being able to live such a decadent, opulent lifestyle by stepping on the necks and backs of all those people who he took advantage of in order to get where he is. He seems legitimately to be an unpleasant, frankly miserable, human being. Never smiling, never reflecting on just how grateful he should be to have all that he has been blessed with. Never showing an ounce of humility, but instead only complaining about how he was cheated so unfairly by everyone else.

It's ridiculous.

And this guy is considered a "winner" by all of these people, most of whom Trump would never give the time of the day to, either back in the 1980's, or now? Everything that this guy does or is involved with winds up being a scam. This is not something that you can simply overlook, or dismiss as some kind of irony, or a smear campaign. This all relates to Donald Trump, and he is the reason for these kinds of stories. In other words, he generates these controversies because he is responsible for them. 

What kind of a world are we living in when that is okay?

Well, it is never okay, although you would not know it today in the United States. This man was well known for being crass in language and in the way that he conducted himself, both professionally and personally. Yet, he won the presidential election, which allowed him to add still one more notch on his already grossly oversized ego belt.

Predictably, his favorability ratings took a nosedive almost right from the moment that he was elected. As of right now, a whopping majority of Americans - over 60 percent - believe that the country is going in the wrong direction, and a similar number disapproves of the job that Trump is doing so far. All of that reminds me of George W. Bush, who let us not forget, had eight long years at the helm in the Oval Office.

Many people have been despairing ever since. And I do not want to separate myself from this now, because at times, I have been close to despair with the endless, unbroken slate of bad, and often even horrible, news that has been streaming out of the White House. It is hard not to.

However, a lot of people are putting all of their figurative eggs of hope in the basket of impeachment, and that is one thing that I refuse to do.

Now, don't get me wrong: I would love to see this president get impeached. He desperately deserves it. His egotism has gotten carried away, and he knows no limits to his power and privilege. No American deserves some serious lessons in humility more than Trump, and besides, there should be reminders that nobody is above the law.

But it's just not going to happen. Congress is controlled by the Republicans, and they are not going to vote to compromise their own party like that. So, Trump is likely here to stay.

That said, I think that Trump might be guilty of some things, such as trying to obstruct justice in his attempts to quell the Russia investigation, because he thinks it is so ridiculous and overblown. Now, a normal guy might just let this boil over, recognizing that any action on his part would inevitably make it look and sound far worse. Not Donald Trump, though, apparently. If there was ever any confirmation needed that this man is far from the genius that he claims he is, just look at his bumbling in handling controversies and scandals thus far. It is ridiculous!

If the mainstream Democrats were smart, they would have finally accepted responsibility for the election loss, and start focusing on opposing this clownish president. Instead, the Democrats are what they are criticized of being, the haughty know-it-all's who simply cannot believe, or cannot accept, that people who are clearly stupider than them - from their perspective - could dislike their arrogance so much, and could decide elections against them. People from both the left and the right could not rally behind the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency, even though they assured us that she was the most qualified person in history ever to run for the White House. That itself was an overblown claim worthy of Donald Trump's own grandiose and exaggerated sense of self. Of course, if it were actually the case that she was so historically good, she would have won, especially against Trump. The fact that she did not is something that baffled the mainstream Democrats ever since, although it really is not that difficult to figure out. It takes making an honest assessment of what the Democrats have become, and why the American people dislike and distrust them so much.

But honesty was a compromising issue in that past election, for both parties, and the Democrats still have difficulty with taking an honest look at the real reasons why they lost. They can, and will, continue to grasp at straws and blame supporters of Sanders, or of Jill Stein, or blame Comey, or Russia, or racism, or sexism, or whatever else. Blaming others for one's own problems is disingenuous, though, and until the mainstream Democrats can accept blame and finally regain focus on the issues, and not on making everything a contest about winning and losing elections, then the Democrats will indeed continue to lose elections precisely because their credibility on the issues has itself become the main issue.

Finally, much like with what many people believe to be the inevitable decline of Trump, either by impeachment or resignation, I would not hold my breath waiting for mainstream Democrats to come to their senses and recognize their own role with what went wrong. Until they do, you can also bet that Democrats will lose plenty of future elections, and will continue to grasp at straws for reasons why, while the actual reasons are right in front of their faces every time they look into the mirror.

It's Time to Demand Donald Trump's Resignation by Jesse Berney, June 6, 2017:

Noam Chomsky on Trump: The Worst Is Yet to Come This administration's legislative agenda is uniquely cruel, even for the far right.  BY ALEXANDRA ROSENMANN | JUNE 6, 2017

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