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Disrupting Trump’s disruption



Donald Trump promised to disrupt the normal course of events and he’s doing exactly that. It’s thrilling to his base, but I don’t know why. Do they want drama for its own sake? Because that’s what they’re getting.

If you’d asked rightwing Republicans two years ago if they were concerned about Russian expansionism, they would have said, Hell yes. Today, they seem to like Putin more than they like any Western leaders. Why? Because their leader, Trump, told them to.

Two years ago, if you’d asked rightwing Republicans if they were worried about tariffs, they would have asked you what “tariffs” are. Today, tariffs suddenly are a driving issue for Republicans. Why? Because their leader, Trump, is obsessed with them.

Two years ago, if you’d asked rightwing Republicans if they knew or cared about NATO dues from our allies, they would have wondered what you were talking about. NATO dues? What’s that? Today, Donald Trump is making a big brouhaha about NATO dues, so all of a sudden, Republicans have discovered that as an issue. (It also feeds into their rabid xenophobia.)

The mindset of the Republican base is a remarkable thing: soft as mush, unformed and uninformed, ready to be impressed by any mold set upon it, pliant to the point of enfeeblement–the mind of a baby. That mindset is particularly receptive to propaganda. It is an amazing twist of history that Trump has managed to let Republicans know that they care about a whole bunch of stuff they never thought they cared about before. Go to Breitbart and see rant after rant about tariffs, complete with images of American flags, MAGA slogans and exploding bombs. What do those people know about tariffs? Do they know that a tax on, say, imported Chinese steel means a rise in the cost of an American car by hundreds of dollars? Do they know that a retaliatory tax by China on American soybeans represents the loss of thousands of jobs here and threatens the existence of midwestern farms? They don’t know these things. Had President Hillary Clinton imposed the same taxes as Trump, with the same consequences, the right would be screaming bloody murder: Hillary the job killer! Hillary declares war on the middle class! Killary…well, you know the routine.

But it’s not Hillary who imposed these tariffs, it’s the right’s fuhrer, Trump. Therefore, the right has to make believe it actually cares about tariffs. The right even doesn’t pretend to have thought carefully about tariffs, or analyzed their implications. All they know is that Trump likes tariffs when he imposes them on other countries, and doesn’t like tariffs when other countries impose them on us. That’s simple enough: it makes it easy to find your political position when you don’t have to think, but merely obey. This is one more reason why Trump’s rule tends towards authoritarianism.

And now we are about to have Justice Kavanaugh imposed upon us, the gift of a generous Federalist Society. This is the judge who has stated on previous occasions that a sitting U.S. President cannot be indicted, cannot be tried, cannot be investigated, cannot be removed from office except through Impeachment. A President is, in other words (according to Kavanaugh) invulnerable. What if a sitting President commits treason? Nothing to be done about it, says Judge Kavanaugh. What if a sitting President fires the investigative arm of the Justice Department for daring to look into his suspicious activities? Nothing to be done about it. What if a sitting President commits sexual crimes? Nothing to be done about it. What if the avenue of Impeachment is closed because a partisan Congress desires to protect their President, no matter how serious the evidence is against him? Nothing to be done about it. That is the way they did it in Nazi Germany, when the Parliament and the Courts ceased to exist except as vehicles of the Will of the Fuhrer.

I sometimes conjecture about what it would take to bring the Left and the Center into the streets. I think if the Supreme Court were to once again make gay marriage illegal, there would be hell to pay (which is why I don’t think it will). Ditto with abortion. But there are any number of more realistic possibilities that could lead to massive civil unrest. Surely one of them is the following: Mueller issues his report and it’s scathing against Trump and his family. Mueller attempts to indict; the issue goes to the Supreme Court, where by a 5-4 vote the indictment is thrown out. Or Mueller tries to subpoena the President and by the same 5-4 vote the High Court rules that the President cannot be subpoenaed. Or Trump fires Mueller, and/or Rosenstein, and/or whomever else he perceives as a threat, and the High Court rules that Trump was within his rights, i.e., nothing to be done about it.

In any of these cases there will be an uproar, and deservedly so. I sincerely believe that Democrats did not begin this tearing apart of the fabric of American society. Obama—such a gentleman!–repeatedly sought to be a bipartisan President, often to the discomfiture of the Democratic left. No, it was Republicans who began this assault, and specifically the evangelical/hardcore Christian wing of that party that hates democracy and diversity and wishes to impose a Taliban-style theocracy upon our country, based on ignorance, resentment, fear and superstition. (I do not mean to exempt the racist white supremacists who happen not to be Christian, but it’s the evangelicals who are most abhorrent.) For me, the frosting—or, in this case, the merde—on the cake was when McConnell refused to allow hearings on Garland. That was an insult, a body blow to Democrats that we shall never forgive nor forget.

Liberals and independents quite rightly rose up to resist all this infamy, and we did well enough to protect Obamacare and to prevail in the gay marriage fight. We will be called upon to resist again, in even stronger numbers, should things get bad enough, as they’re almost certain to. It’s called The Good Fight. Think of it as the disruption of Trump’s disruption or, in plainer words, Revolution.

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