Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

06 September 2018

The End Seems Nigh

[For comment on Trump’s deal with Mexico, click here. For a brief homage to John McCain, followed by reasons to support Stacey Abrams, click here. For a brief note on vote suppression in Georgia as a reason to support Stacey Abrams, click here. For other good candidates and causes and how to contribute easily, click here. For links to the most recent posts together with the inverse chronological links to recent posts, click here.]
    “The darkest hour is just before dawn.”—Old Proverb
At the end of the second day of the Kavanaugh Hearings, other news inspired a welcome sense of hope. For the first time since I woke up from surgery on November 8, 2016, only to watch Donald Trump win his election, I can visualize closure. I can foresee the end.

Of course the Trump Presidency was a mirage from the very beginning. It required so many lies and pretenses.

Workers in the White House have had to pretend that their Chief is sane, steady, competent and experienced enough to lead. In fact, as we learned today from Bob Woodward’s book and an anonymous pol’s confession, his “team” has had to “manage” Trump by such means as taking papers from his desk and ignoring his direct orders.

Republicans in Congress have had to pretend that they love their “leader” and enjoy following him. Journalists have had to pretend that a steady diet of lies, anger and hate, delivered with a child’s vocabulary, justifies their lifelong dedication to truth and the English language. All whom Trump touches have had pretend that they can work comfortably with an irascible old man whose only concerns are himself and his twisted public image.

Of course all this has been charade. It’s not how life works. It’s not how politics works. It’s not how this country works; it’s not even close.

The linchpin that has held held the broken train on the tracks so far has been Republicans’ goal orientation. They got their tax cuts. They busted so many regulations. They managed to postpone the inevitable consequences of letting global warming run away. They got their stolen Supreme Court seat and appear on their way to securing a second conservative appointment. And for those who had to suffer primary contests in a Trump-dominated party, the ones who kow-towed for an endorsement managed to win, while those who didn’t lost.

But here’s the thing: there’s no second act. There’ll be no more tax cuts; there’s nothing left in the kitty but debt. The regulatory revolution is working its way through the “deep state,” but doing so will take months or years—maybe decades of litigation!—and resistance is growing. No more Supreme Court vacancies appear on the horizon. And the consequences of unaddressed global warming are becoming self-evident, with massive fires in California, hurricanes in Hawaii and Mississippi, and algae blooms and toxic red tides tormenting Floridians from both sides.

As for the primaries, they’re rapidly coming to an end. Most of the pols who pandered obsequiously to Trump will lose their general elections. Those who win may drink or drug themselves out of office in shame. Those who haven’t had to suffer primaries will come to realize that they hate Trump’s guts. They hate him because he’s mean and nasty, because he’s tormented them with demeaning nicknames, bragging and insults, and because (unless they’re newbies) he’s broken every rule they ever learned in their careers—including basic tact and diplomacy—and then rubbed their noses in his undeserved victories.

As for the much-vaunted resurgence of bigotry in America, there’s a backlash to the backlash, and it’s much bigger! The silent majority is turning around. It’s feeling the tug of traditional American sympathy for the underdog. It’s voting for minority candidates in record numbers—as if to thumb its tens of millions of noses at Trump.

That’s only part of the meaning of Stacey Abrams’ upset in Georgia, Andrew Gillum’s in Florida, and Ayanna Pressley’s in Massachusetts last night. Most white Dems don’t care what color their reps are, as long as they’re progressive, smart and courageous. And black, brown and yellow voters will come out to vote for black Democratic pols because they know they aren’t white supremacists in disguise. Everybody is happy, the more so as Trumpism appears the last, dying gasp of white supremacy at the dawn of new age of equality and meritocracy.

Florida, in particular, is a key swing state and one of the three Southern states that can give the Dems a lock on the presidency without the upper Midwest or Pennsylvania. And Florida is the locus of a perfect Democratic storm. Together African- and Hispanic- Americans are about 40% of the population, and they are awakening. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of displaced Puerto Ricans, enraged at Trump’s neglect of and disdain for their Island, waiting to register and vote their revenge. Finally, the explosion of algae and red tides, devastating Florida’s tourist industry, has given the lie to the usual GOP attitude toward environmental planning and regulation: “Don’t worry; everything’s OK!”

No, it’s not OK, and it may never be OK again. Millions of workers and owners in the tourism industry are about to experience their personal political epiphanies.

So it’s now possible to foresee a likely endgame. The Dems will take the House in November, probably handily. They will start an investigation with a view toward impeachment, for treason, corruption and obstruction of justice. They will have the votes to impeach, which requires only a simple majority in the House.

When the case goes to the Senate, GOP senators will have a choice. They can keep an unreliable, dangerous, and increasingly senile and erratic man, whose guts they hate, in the White House and ride with him to almost certain defeat in 2020. Or they can switch him for a reliable, conventional Republican, Mike Pence, and a second chance. What choice do you think they will make? It will probably take less than a third of the GOP caucus to convict and remove.

It’s too soon to say that the long national nightmare is over. In politics, anything can happen. But a perfect electoral storm is shaping up, and the GOP appears to have only one reasonably reliable path out of its way. All that’s really needed to force it onto that path is Democrats registering, voting, and keeping the faith.

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