With only 24 hours in a day and so many people out to get him, Trump is so busy trying to slay his foes that even his faux friends can’t keep up with the effort. Never has this been more apparent than in the present Trump abuse of power scandal. This all has been and will continue to be very taxing on key enablers like Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the private army operating under the Rudy Giuliani banner. And there are so many more.
Trump’s polling is not good, “fake news” is everywhere, the word “impeachment” drifts from unfriendly lips more often than the word “moron” ever did, and there is open talk of recession abroad in the land. Even soybean farmers are having second thoughts after China decided that Brazilian soybeans make just fine soya sauce. And the news only gets worse, as it turns out that unemployed coal miners may actually have the skill set necessary to understand the false promises and turn on the false prophet.
Then, just when it seemed that Trump’s daily political triage was at least slowing the bleeding, up pops a real whistleblower blowing a mighty powerful whistle in Trump’s face. The weary enablers got quickly to work again, propping up the “boss” by telling him how great he is while suggesting that he keep his mouth shut, watching him open his mouth anyway, blaming Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (throwing in Joe Biden and his son) and all Democrats for Trump’s troubles, and just plain lying about connected events to obfuscate the truth. Socialists and communists can’t be ruled out either.
Next, a most extraordinarily unexpected event occurred. The enablers let down their guard at a critical moment and permitted the public release of truly incriminating documentary evidence against Trump. Maybe they were just run ragged by all the ongoing efforts to keep Congress from getting at the documents and the witnesses who would incriminate Trump in any of the vast array of allegations of official misconduct and personal criminal wrongdoing swirling around him. Or maybe, and more likely, they made a big mistake.
The Genie Is Out of the Bottle
Since this genie can’t be put back in the bottle, any effort to impede congressional inquiry will not only appear to be, but will be, a further obstruction of justice. All the obfuscation, resistance to subpoenas, claims of executive privilege and witness tampering that has preceded this critical moment may possibly have been for naught. This time, the Democrats in Congress already have the goods and seem energized to get the remaining mother lode quickly.
It will help the nation understand the depth of Trump’s corruption if the responsible press can stay focused on the facts and give no breathing room this time to the “alternative facts,” lies and fanciful conspiracy theories that the right-wing media will peddle in response. There is no need for panel discussions, unschooled “experts” or equivalency analysis. In this case, a media that simply presses forward on a comprehensive and understandable factual narrative will be the best response to previous media shortcomings that have fueled Trump’s perfidy.
Now, with congressional Democrats finally leading the way, it falls on Americans to end the Trump scourge. The American electorate started it all by themselves when their self-professed “better angels” took flight amid a torrent of “alternative facts,” corporate cash and bigotry.
Now, it is time for Americans to get rid of Trump, consigning him and his enablers to a historical scrapheap, while working diligently to ensure the prison sentences that should follow. But much more than that, Americans of goodwill must regain trust in government and work feverishly to restore the institutions that have been allowed to decay through decades of attack and misinformation.
As this latest Trump assault on governance plays out, Trump will again become unhinged and strike out at all of the usual targets in an effort to deflect scrutiny. Maybe this time, the nation and the world will pay more attention to the danger Trump poses than the theatrics of his personal drama. Those paying attention may be growing weary of this drama and increasingly aware of the institutional and security costs at stake.
The Iranians, the Taliban and the North Koreans have already called Trump’s ignorant bluff; the Israeli government continues in disarray as Trump’s buddy, Benjamin Netanyahu, struggles to corruptly cross the electoral finish line; and that special relationship with the Brits has imploded in Trump’s face. Only those who are themselves a major part of the problem perceive Trump to be part of any solution.
Betrayed His Oath
There is no magic to America’s “success,” but the institutional framework that is established in the nation’s Constitution provided a foundation for a governing continuum that historically has been taken for granted and given far less critical attention than it should have been. In fact, it is likely that Trump’s reign has focused America’s intellectual core on the need to modernize the foundation in order to ensure the survival of the institutional infrastructure upon which the nation’s future depends.
The problem with this prescription is that the required intellectual rigor and debate will never get needed oxygen while Trump is in office and is ceded so much of the public stage. Now, thanks to a courageous whistleblower, there is a new possibility that congressional Democrats will take their oath of office seriously, and loudly and proudly lead the nation to a condemnation of a president who has betrayed his oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
While I have no illusions that the Republican Senate will drive Trump from office, I am encouraged at the moment that an impeachment fight will further expose Trump’s perfidy and marginalize his support. But this will only happen if the Democrats in Congress act forcefully to press their case, try to make news every day with factual charges and bring the matter to a vote by a date certain but within 60 days.
Once Trump is “impeached,” Democrats can decide how to characterize the ratified impeachment charges and how best to memorialize those charges.
With that done, Democrats can immediately move on to continue their fight for gun control, universal access to meaningful health care and immigration reform. Maybe this time, the American electorate will comprehend the simple truth that doing what appears to be politically advantageous at the expense of public duty is simply wrong and at the heart of the case against Trump. Maybe this time, doing what is right will prove to be a political virtue.
*[A version of this article was cross-posted on the author’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.