The Administration of Imminent Doom
Since the startling moment it became clear Donald Trump had somehow won the presidency, we have been prepared for his inevitable collapse. He would be impeached. He would quit. He would be tried for treason.
Even this weekend, the talking heads on CNN discussed anonymous sources fear that increasing pressure is causing the president to fall apart.
An announcement of this variety seems to come at regular intervals, and it rings more hollow every time.
Not because Trump and his administration is not a problem. It is. There are the Tweets. There is the sympathy he can only remember to express if it is written on a cue card. There are sudden, unilateral decisions, like imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel, which is legitimate, and tossing transgenders out of the military, which was not. There was the sexual assault, along with support for other sexual assailants. There was the hostility towards immigrants underpinned by racism that is so racist even half of white people admit it, as described by The Washington Post.
No, the warnings ring hollow, because the immunity that bubble-wrapped Trump’s journey to the White House has, so far, persisted, and shows no signs of truly dissolving as he begins his second year as president.
The man who once said he could shoot someone and not lose voters, has proved that shooting someone is only one crime on a long list of them that he could commit with impunity. Most of his actions, however, are not criminal. They are just alarming and offensive, and wildly inappropriate for his position. The Tweeting, the cyberbullying of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the unapologetic nepotism, and pathological lying are all examples of wild impropriety. Treason, on the other hand, if tried and proven, would be criminal.
But none of these things appear to matter to that much to Trump and his apologists. He has not visibly changed since his campaigning days. He is a man who thrives on chaos, and when he accidentally hits the calm eye of one of his previous storms, he creates another storm. His insane Tweeting did not begin with his presidency — there is a several-years-long trail of them featuring attacks on President Obama and random celebrities, including famously shaming Kristen Stewart for cheating on her boyfriend. A New York Daily News story said he Tweeted about the couple’s relationship five times in 2012.
Now that same impulsive, childish personality is at the center of global politics, feeding Trump’s narcissism so satisfyingly that the very notion of any weakening or mental breakdown seems absurd.
It is important to remember that Trump has no skin in this game he is playing. He is 71 years old and a billionaire, and therefore, virtually untouchable. Should he leave the nation in far worse shape than he found it, which seems inevitable, his money will continue to insulate him, and he will be the same wealthy old man he would have been if he had not been president.
Because of this, Trump drives his life like a bumper car, comfortably aware of his immunity. What can the world do to an old, rich man? Nothing, really, compared to what he can do to the world.
It is those of us who are horrified and mystified by his behavior that are coming up with exit scenarios, and applying our own logic and sensibilities to a man who does not share them.
But I believe this president has as much steam and Tweets in him to take him clear through a second term. If he does not, it will be external forces that stop him, forces like Robert Mueller, the FBI director, or — and this is more likely — voters. Trump seems as energetic as ever, unburdened by any grip on reality, and buoyed by group of fawning yes-men.
Trips to Mar-a-Lago are also met with a group of rabid fans dubbed “The Bridge Family,” a community bound by mutual Trump love, introduced by The Washington Post. These warm greetings could make anyone forget, for a minute, how the rest of the country feels about you, especially if you were about to be swallowed up in a tropical sanctuary strategically packed, no doubt, with more fawning yes-men.
As Trump, an ardent admirer of authoritarian leaders worldwide, works to erode democracy — or at the very least, refuses to protect it — it will likely be democracy that saves itself. He may or may not be impeached, or charged with federal crimes, or suffer mental breakdown, all of which Democrats have fantasized about since that grim election night in 2016.
But we can vote his ass back to Mar-a-Lago when the time comes. And we can vote extreme-right Republicans out of office in every election until then. And we can continue to fill the streets.
Because, as the chant goes: That is what democracy looks like.
Cover photo via unknown artist. If someone recognizes the artwork, thanks for sharing the link to the artist's portfolio.