The traitorous popular-vote loser Donald Trump may be loved by his party base, but the GOP establishment knows they’re in serious trouble. It’s not just the looming electoral disaster that awaits them in November, but also the longer-term alienation of pretty much every single demographic except “white uneducated male” and “values” (ha ha ha ha!) voter. And layered on top of that, Trump is a legitimate menace to our country and world. And everything he fucks up will be laid on the feet of the GOP for a generation to come.
Meanwhile, Republicans are forced to endure a humiliating stream of invective from Trump’s Twitter stream and his mouth-hole, regardless of where it’s directed (at Republicans or otherwise). For a party that pretended to be about “family values,” their tolerance for Trump’s modus operandi has made a farce of one of their supposed bedrock principles. Meanwhile, they are forced into complicit silence because of Trump’s 90 percent approval rating among Republican voters (not an exaggeration).
Yesterday’s release of the Anonymous op-ed in the New York Times is being seen as an act of defiance from the self-named “inside resistance,” in line with Bob Woodward’s explosive book. But it could be something much bigger—an orchestrated trial balloon designed to gauge appetite and reaction to invoking the 25th Amendment, allowing the cabinet to oust Trump and installing the more acceptable (to the Republican establishment) Mike Pence as president.
It’s the difference between the “soft coup” we’re currently seeing in action—in which insiders sabotage Trump, and a real, constitutionally sanctioned coup. Yet doing so would enrage the GOP base, costing Republicans at the ballot box for … a long-ass time. It would be far easier to let Democrats get rid of Trump via impeachment, allowing Republicans to rally the base against those dastardly libtards, instead of having to face their base fury themselves.
Only problem is that they probably can’t wait that long.
The anonymous op-ed had a curious line:
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.
That paragraph is ridiculous on its face. The 25th Amendment is inherently constitutional. Literally. Undermining the president is not. By trying to avoid a constitutional remedy, they’ve engaged in their own unconstitutional remedy. Their “soft coup” is the real constitutional crisis.
But it’s easy to see why they went with the soft coup anyway. They realized early on that Trump is a genuine moron, easy to fool and distract. So it was easier to humor the buffoon in the Oval office, while more competent ideologues shepherded their tax cuts and regulatory guttings.
And they could’ve done this for a long time! But ask yourself, why would anonymous speak up now, exposing the gig to Trump and putting an end to their sweet gig? If it was working so well, what with tax cuts and Supreme Court nominations, why let Trump in on the scheme? Surely, the author knew it would put an end to the arrangement.
The only reason that makes logical sense is that it’s a trial balloon. If the purpose of the piece was to get people screaming, “STOP BEING A COWARD AND INVOKE THE 25TH ALREADY!”, it worked. And it was further reinforced by Republicans like Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE):
Ben Sasse says anon NYT op-ed is "similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week" https://t.co/Zx5AsIy9Rq
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) September 6, 2018
And why float that trial balloon? Because Trump has been unarguably degrading before our eyes.
The presidency grays out the strongest presidents, and Trump is the weakest, both in mind and in body. His psyche is unable to handle even the mildest criticism, and he’s getting avalanches of it. He is visible strained, giving everyone a front-row seat, via Twitter, of his breakdown. Meanwhile, his staff leaks like there’s no tomorrow, letting the world into Trump’s inner sanctum. For a man that values (other’s) loyalty above all else, he can’t even think in his own office without those thoughts ending up in the pages of the Washington Post, NY Times, or Vanity Fair.
His inner-circle is decimated. His personal fixer Michael Cohen turned on him. David Pecker of the National Enquirer, his chief-keeper-of-secrets, turned on him. The White House counsel turned on him. His own company’s CFO has turned on him. His wife can’t stand him. She’ll eventually turn on him. Omarosa, who he created, turned on him. Investigators and prosecutors are swarming around his company and charitable foundation. No one wants to license his name anymore. His precious daughter, the one he wants to sleep with, already lost her company.
We’ve been treated to an endless stream of stories specifically detailing his paranoia and isolation. And it turns out his paranoia was justified—everyone around him at work has turned on him, humoring him to his face, undermining him behind his back. (And sure, not everyone has turned on him, presumably, but he can no longer trust anyone.)
Trump is not well, and as the world collapses around him, he becomes more and more a caged animal—and as president of the United States, a really dangerous one.
So it should be a no-brainer, right? Just get rid of the guy! Make Pence president! Disaster averted!
But there’s that electoral problem—if Republicans use the 25th Amendment to oust Trump, it would validate the entire “deep state” narrative, and worse, it would have a name: “The Republican Party.” It would crush base intensity and turnout, rendering the GOP electorally impotent well into the near-future. By no means can they do this before November, but even if they wait until after the election, Republicans still have the 2020 elections to deal with, including a very difficult Senate map.
Much better to wait for Democrats to impeach Trump. They take the blame for thwarting the will of the Republican electorate. And heck, getting some of those endangered 2020 Senate Republicans to vote to impeach would be a nice way to get Trump’s stench off them in their re-election battles. (Remember, we’d need two-thirds of the Senate to convict.)
But the impeachment process is long, and Trump is a menace TODAY. There is real anxiety and fear inside the White House.
Hence the anonymous op-ed trial balloon, and my gut prediction that Trump will be ousted sooner rather than later via the 25th Amendment. Definitely after November’s elections! But perhaps not much longer, and maybe even before the new Democratic congressional majorities get sworn in.
(How’s that for me going out on a limb?)