Monday, January 2, 2017

Will Donald Trump Quit Before The Inauguration? Can Republicans Hold Onto Their Power?

Participants in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. 
From Library of Congress. Photo by Peter Pettus

25 March 1965. The day Martin Luther King led thousands to the capitol steps in Montgomery, Alabama, after marching for five days from Selma, Alabama, to support African Americans, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership had campaigned for voting rights. King told the assembled crowd:
 "There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes." 
African Americans had endured generations of violence and assault to every part of their being, but they endured and their spirit of resistance slowly gained momentum until it peaked under the leadership of Martin Luther King. The world lost one of its greatest men, and thousands endured further assaults and violence for the Civil Rights Movement to succeed, but it prevailed in the end.

Fast forward to Nov 9 2016. The day the world got pretty damn dark again for millions. The day the quintessential banana republic bigot was elected as president of the most powerful country in the world—the country thought of as the most advanced democracy—with the help of a rogue FBI Director and the Russian government and now America is on the brink of being rolled backwards at the speed of light, to pre Civil Rights Movement days.

We share joy and triumph and hope, but grief is the most isolating experience. A predominant fear among many has been that with time grief will heal and the outrage will fade. Don't let this be the new normal has been a common theme.

This being Donald Trump's ignorance, stupidity, racism, bigotry and sexism, and culture of covert and overt white supremacy, promotion of inequality, discrimination against women, minorities and Muslims, exploitation of people and the earth's resources, the many being sacrificed to the few, rolling back clean energy, embracing policies that will enrich the few, destroy the poor, erode the middle class again and accelerate climate change.

How could what Trump personifies, and has exposed as the underbelly of our lovely Western culture, ever become a new standard for what's acceptable, the new normal? Because we do become inured unless we make a conscious choice not to be. But a huge body of people have already made that choice to fight for and preserve a coherent world for everybody. Including some powerful legislators and media organisations who aren't allowing Trump to become the new normal. As an example, the New York Times, which made a decisive switch from sitting on the fence to condemning Trump and endorsing Hillary Clinton during the primaries, actually increased its digital readership by 21% in the third quarter of 2016.

The investigation into Trump's charity foundation continues and he's powerless to stop it. Democrats in the Senate are delaying their acceptance of eight of Trump's cabinet picks while they call for more information, tax returns, and ethics investigations. They can't block the posts because they don't have the votes but they can delay and jam up the process. And that's what they're doing.

In North Carolina, a judge delayed the law overhauling the elections panel, a law that would severely restrict the powers of the soon-to-be Democrat Governor.

It's obvious from Trump's body language and his utter inarticulacy when questioned on matters of state that he's totally out of his depth and very uncomfortable with the heavy investigative spotlight on him and his family. Whatever he's hiding by not releasing his tax returns will come out in the wash somewhere.

He's been horribly—or wonderfully—humiliated by so many celebrities refusing to perform for his inauguration, and by the recent defection of performers in two of the groups that he did manage to secure, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Rockettes. Trump's response was to say that he'll have a protracted inauguration day parade and he'll only attend three balls (Obama attended eleven), because he wants to get to work immediately. The notion of Trump working is ludicrous; all he's doing is showing his vulnerability.

His transition team is a shambles, his tweeting is still out of control and now he's intimating that the Intelligence report on Russia's hacking prior to the election was inadequate. Even GOP politicians who have weak-mindedly endorsed him are putting boundaries down. So he'll be up against his own team as president.

Trump never wanted this job, but when he 'won' the election he obviously thought he could carry on lying, cheating and exploiting. Now that he and his posse of children are waking up to reality they're scrabbling around like crazy.

Trouble is, he's made a lot of very smart, very informed people very angry. And they have the law on their side. It's ironic. Trump craves constant approbation and to be able to do whatever he wants, and he only ran for president to pump up his profile so he could expand his businesses. Now he is being excoriated every day by the press, he's despised by millions in America and around the world; he's in a job that's virtual straitjacket for somebody like him; his charity foundation is under investigation; and he's having to divest!

Poetic justice. Speaking to Seth Meyers, Michael Moore predicted Trump will find a way to quit the presidency before the inauguration. I'm half inclined to agree with him but even if that happens, the battle has just begun. 
"Collectively we come together and we say, you know, we're going to preserve some things that last beyond our individual lives, that we're going to pass that on. And we have to do it together. You know, that is hopefully part of what is best about our government. And so every once in a while we need the ability to step back from our personal wants and project something finer and better for future generations." 
Barack Obama said this in 2010. He was in Yellowstone talking about the preservation of State Parks, but his words apply to preserving anything important. Throughout history, when decency and democratic legitimacy have been under threat, people with integrity have instinctively come together and fight, and it's happening now. A force like this might isn't bully-driven so it might not seem powerful at first, but it gathers momentum that's unassailable and it sustains itself until it succeeds, no matter how long that takes.

Liberals and Democrats are already looking to 2018. If they can reach Democrat voters for those mid-terms, they could regain control of Congress because all 435 House seats, and 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for grabs. And to illustrate the interest, if you Google "what congressional…" the sentence completes as "seats are up for reelection in 2018". With 27 million search results.

Enjoy your power while you have it, Republicans. It's not going to last very long.