I know I've been a bit scarce here of late and I could give any one of several reasons why I've barely blogged this year, but I find nothing more exhausting than a blogpost promising to do better. (Usually they're the last blogpost of a dead blog, anyway.) I'd rather just do better. So onward and upward.
I, like all reasonable, intelligent human beings, was intensely worried, perhaps even panicked after the sociopathic man-child who was "elected" president took office earlier this year. From the day after the election until fairly recently I was wringing my hands in worry about all the damage someone like Trump could do while occupying the most powerful office in the world. Now, though? Not so much.
I'm not feeling better because I expect Trump will be impeached or otherwise removed from office. In terms of simple math impeachment is an almost statistical impossibility. For reasons I hesistate to attribute to loyalty, (but perhaps I can at least offer that complimentary term to the insane side of the aisle) Republicans don't eat their own. Trump's been buffeted by scandal and sitting in the mid-thirties in terms of his approval rating almost since he took office. If the Republican congress hasn't turned on him by now, what would it take? Would he have to devour a live infant on camera? He's done just about everything but, including talking about grabbing women by the pussy. No, Trump will be safe from impeachment as long as the R's are in charge.
And even if (because it's far from a guarantee) the House of Representatives flips to the Democrats in 2018, and even if they then impeach him (also far from a guarantee) the Senate even as ideally constituted for the purpose will still have enough Republicans to block removing Trump from office. So impeachment, should it ever occur (which it probably won't) will have about the same practical effect as it did on Clinton: making the other side look petty for doing it.
Other forms of removal from office, barring unexpected death (I mean, the man is 70) are even more outlandish. Plus, and I didn't even want to get into this, but even chopping the head off the snake won't make much difference. The difference between a Trump presidency and a Pence presidency will be one of temperament, not ideology.
So I don't expect Trump to leave office before 2020. I certainly hope he does then. Why, then, am I feeling cautiously optimistic? Because the man is fucking worthless.
I mean, maybe I should have already expected this, but somehow I had convinced myself that Trump would come into office and actually enact all the crazy shit he promised on the campaign trail. I halfway believed he would actually surround himself with brilliant advisors who would do all the heavy lifting, and the country would tilt rightward into a fucking ditch.
But Trump never surrounded himself with brilliant advisors and at this point, most know to steer well clear. Instead, he's surrounded by his daughter, son-in-law, and some low-rent Goebbels wannabe. And they're all at each other's throats. By all accounts no one working in The White House knows who's in charge. Trump himself is apparently always convinced of the rectitude of the last article someone shoved under his nose. The whole thing sounds like a page out of the Kremlin court squabbles of the Soviet Union.
A preternatural gift for demagoguery has translated into precisely jack and shit when attempting to govern. (I say "govern" to be kind, because it's obvious that Trump would much rather dictate, and seems frustrated by the very idea that his pronouncements are not actually instantly obeyed as law.) I mean think about this: Trump couldn't get Obamacare repeal passed with a Republican House and Senate. That's like McDonald's running out of beef. I don't even know what to make of that. But this buffoon cannot get the one thing that has united Republicans of all stripes for the past decade passed?
Legislation is a difficult, grueling process of compromise and discussion. And Trump is absolute shit at it. He nearly ruined the budget reconciliation by demanding his stupid wall, which both sides considered idiotic to even be discussing at that point in time. Imagine that. Republicans and Democrats in the congress, normally at each other's throats, are suddenly united in how stupid they consider The White House's demands.
As for the scandals, well, Trump will weather them. I'm not convinced anything can disgrace him anymore. He's incapable of shame and his followers have erected a nigh impenetrable cult of personality around their own five senses (six, if you count "common.") Trump is right and therefore right is Trump in their eyes, so it doesn't really matter what he does, he's always right. The scandals won't bring him down. What they will do, though, is keep him distracted. While all his fury is focused on James Comey and the news media being mean to him (poor guy) he's not concentrating on enacting his stupid campaign promises.
The scandals also keep him boxed in. Legislators who don't have the advantage of being as Teflon as Don himself are already giving him a wide berth. Even Fox News seems to be tentatively stepping away from their constant beatification of him. It's easy to pretend it's still sunny when you feel a lone raindrop, but it's harder to dismiss a storm. As long as the crap keeps piling up, people with a survival isntinct (read: politicians and pundits) will continue to distance themselves from Trump.
And what this all adds up to is that Trump is so incompetent he can't ruin the country. In November I was worried about him establishing a fascist dictatorship, but now I'm not convinced he could cut the ribbon to a strip mall without breaking the scissors. I think, in the end, Trump will run out his four years as essentially a lame duck. He's what the press used to call "embattled" when they meant a politician was all out of friends and couldn't get anything done any more. And he's already embattled six months into his presidency.
Sure, things will be fucked up. There's already another right-winger on the Supreme Court. He could fumble a war or a terrorist attack. But mostly I expect a whole lot of nothing happening. And when the alternative to nothing is rabid right-wing policies, I'll take it.