Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Case for Ousting Trump

It doesn't have anything to do with money laundering or colluding with the Kremlin to rig the election. It has everything to do with the ruinous impact of a dysfunctional presidency on American governance. The New Republic's Jeet Heer that Trump's failed presidency has left a dangerous power vacuum at the top that Congress must address before the damage becomes worse, perhaps irreversible.  He argues that relying on the White House generals to keep Trump in line could easily backfire.

It’s understandable that some Americans are turning to the generals, since the alternative is watching Trump botch the final decisions of life and death that we usually trust a president to make. Still, the truth is that any rule by the generals that stretches beyond their established role can only be deeply anti-democratic. The military is supposed to offer policy choices to the president, not the other way around. Trump is ceding presidential power to his military advisers, and this subtle move toward authoritarianism is winning bipartisan support.

The rise of the generals is aided and abetted by Congress when it fails to do its constitutional duty and check the president. Congress has many remedies available for holding a president accountable, ranging from blocking his nominations all the way up to impeachment, but so far, under Republican control, Congress has been loath to exercise them. Instead of relying on constitutional measures, lawmakers too are putting trust in the generals, hoping that they’ll keep Trump from any truly reckless act.

What makes this situation truly dangerous is that the president seems intent on encouraging his own form of street theater. Post-Charlottesville, Trump is peppering his messages with winks and nods to some of the only people who still seem to be taking him seriously: white-nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK. This is a recipe for more Charlottesville-style clashes, with Trump shoring up his base by stoking their fear of radical leftist protesters. He did just that in Phoenix, growling, “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything—Antifa!”

Democracy does not work with a power vacuum for a president. As Trump makes a mockery of his office, he has left America to drift in two fundamentally anti-democratic directions, with the military exercising ever greater power as neo-Nazi street protesters form militias of their own. People of good faith around the country may be trying desperately to counter both, but this is fundamentally a political crisis that has to have a political solution. The president is unfit to serve, and until Congress comes to its senses and remembers its constitutional powers, this is what we can expect: a weakened president subservient to the military egging on armed fascists as they take to the streets.


Anonymous said...

Trump is only part of the problem. The problem is the Republican Party. Trump only says out loud what the GOP's been saying in coded language since Lee Atwater crawled out of the swamp. Any general willing to serve in Trump's cabinet is part of the problem, not the solution.


Owen Gray said...

I agree with Cap. Until the Republicans come to their constitutional senses, things will only get worse.

Dana said...

The republicans have no motivation to change anything. More US voters vote for republican candidates than any others - local, state and federal - and hve done for years and years.

Until US voters stop doing that ...

So as far as I'm concerned the US voting public is a very large part of the problem - yuge.

Anonymous said...

If you impeach Trump, you get President Pence, whose agenda differs only in details from the average Taliban leader. Take out Pence, and welcome President Ryan, who learned everything he knows from the long-winded ravings of Ayn Rand. Take out Ryan, and say hello to President Hatch, who's a religious hardliner with a taste for expanding states' rights. Take out Hatch, and say zdravstvuyte to President Rexxon, proud owner of the Russian Order of Friendship with Vlad Putin.

I could go on, but you get the picture. All of these guys are huge assholes in their own right, and all of them are committed to the GOP goals of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich while making life as miserable as possible for anyone not rich, white, male, Christian and straight. The party and its agenda are the problem. Getting rid of Trump is just changing the dressing on a gangrenous leg.


Northern PoV said...

Cap nailed it. Be careful what you wish for!
Pense = a more effective Trump

Apparently 55% of Republican voters (the ones that count in a hopelessly gerrymander-ed system) agree that the next election should be delayed until Trump finds those millions of fraudulent votes that cost him a (popular vote ) victory in 2016. They aren't paying attention to the 'fake news' you cite.

Anonymous said...

Ditto! Be careful with your replacement wishes, or you might get a bigger problem(s) back: "The Democratic Party’s liberal interventionists, who are closely allied with the Republican neocons."