Not long ago, the notorious evangelist and crypto-fascist, pseudo-Christian scold, Jerry Falwell Jr., suggested that Donald should get two years tacked on to the end of his Presidency as “reparations”, since the first two were stolen in the failed coup attempted by Mueller and the Democrats. I shit you not. Would I shit you about something like this? You know I wouldn’t. (As an aside, when did evangelical proselytizing and profiteering become dynastic – was there some sort of laying on of hands or the like? Is there a Jerry Falwell III we have to worry about?) The question isn’t so much where to begin as why, but anyway, of course the signal failure of Trump to get anything but a grotesque tax cut for the rich through Congress in those first two years – OK, plus two appointments to SCOTUS, both slam-dunks engineered by McConnell – had little to do with the Special Counsel, who, recall, doesn’t even get a vote in either the House or Senate, much less a veto. Recall too that throughout those two years, the various arms of the GOP had complete control of all branches of government, including, let’s face it, the Supreme Court, and basically stumble-fucked themselves with internal squabbling, as the Tea Party, AKA the Freedom Caucus – Jesus, these guys are kind to themselves, the “Freedom Caucus”, God give me strength – was never satisfied with how cruel the legislative proposals were. Down in the House, arch-ninny Paul Ryan couldn’t corral this cabal of pasty white morons any better than Boehner could before they drove him into retirement. But it was Mueller who ruined Trump’s first 24 months, was it, Jerry? Is the idea that Trump would have got more done, but he was so distracted by Big Bad Mueller that he couldn’t function? Jerry?
Uh-huh. He was distracted by counting his cash and playing golf, Jerry. He was distracted paying granular attention to which foreign supplicants were and were not paying him proper tribute when they came to town, by staying at his big new hotel. He was distracted grifting the government for golf cart rentals. He was distracted watching eight hours of Fox News a day, and Tweeting his little fingers down to nubbins. You know that, Jerry, and mark me, you will rue the day you made this compact with Satan. You will rue it to your very core, you smug, bullying, carnival barker.
Still, the idea’s out there, and naturally Fat Donny is all over it. He’s always been generally in favour of somehow sticking around after the Constitution says he’s supposed to go away, and has Tweet-floated all sorts of suggestions similar to the one copied above. Whenever he cracks wise about proclaiming himself President for Life, everybody chuckles nervously, and pretends he’s just kidding, you know, that’s our Donny! It’s just a joke, folks. Relax. He doesn’t mean that – he’s just goofin’ around!
As the alien played by Vincent D’Onofrio said in the first Men in Black movie, don’t count on it, meat-sack.
If you want to do the research, you’ll find a great deal of very thoughtful legal and academic commentary out there on the prospect of Donald refusing to leave office even if he loses the next election, and what would happen next. Alarmist? Yeah? You think? Well, bear in mind that he’s been laying the groundwork for the rejection of an electoral outcome since he was still a candidate in 2015. The idea that if he lost, the election had to have been rigged, was a constant refrain on the stump, remember? Then during the debates with Hillary, he refused to commit to accepting the verdict of the electorate, right there on camera. Having gained office via the machinations of the tragically obsolete and undemocratic Electoral College, he whined that his loss of the popular vote to Hillary was the result of millions of ineligible voters casting ballots for his arch-nemesis, most of them illegal immigrants – in other words, the Dems indeed tried to rig the election, but thank the Almighty they failed. He then tried to set up a sham commission to look into it, and I think they actually bumbled around in the corn maze for a while before the sheer lack of anything approaching evidence forced them to call it quits. During the mid-terms, Trump was again banging the drum for the evils of non-existent voter fraud, making up anecdotes about voters coming in to the polls, then walking around the block, changing clothes, and doing it again, over and over, all day long – this in a deeply dysfunctional election system in which people often had to line up for hours to cast their ballots. Meanwhile, he’s not only poured love and affection all over foreign tyrants, he’s applauded their moves to secure their positions, and mused about doing the same; when China’s Xi basically declared himself President for Life, Donald said he thought that was a great idea, and that he might look into that himself. Hyuk.
Look, sorry, but I’m afraid we’re a lot closer to the cliff than you probably want to let yourself think. Trump isn’t just goofin’ around. His vile id is connected directly to his yap, and what he craves most dearly is what comes out when he talks and tweets, unfiltered and unfettered from the teleprompter. There’s no subterfuge to this monster, no hidden agenda, and no sense of humour. Donald wants what he wants, and tells us so, again and again.
It would be nice to believe that if push comes to shove, those who carry the cudgel for American society will remember their oath is to the defence of the Constitution, not the Executive, and that they are pledged to oppose all enemies, foreign and domestic. That would be nice. Sadly, having payed perhaps too much attention to the various goings-on from Watergate, through Iran-Contra, the mendacious run up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and now everything that Trump is able to get civil servants to do – well, I guess that I just don’t know. The signs aren’t great. On his recent visit to Japan, for example, aircrew on the USS Wasp were sporting Make Aircrew Great Again patches (complete with a sewn image of Dear Leader), slyly – or not so slyly, actually – donning MAGA symbolism. This is flat-out prohibited. Nobody in the US military, for reasons that I hope are obvious, is allowed to display any preference for any political candidate or party at any level. Those are the rules, anyway, but look what happens. Look at all those ICE agents running around deporting veterans and taking children away from their mothers – those orders are of dubious legality, but they don’t care. You’ve probably seen Trump give speeches in front of beaming crowds of soldiers or cops, getting laughs and applause as he recommends, say, that the police should rough the perps up a bit, maybe more than a bit, when they place them under arrest. Maybe bang their heads on the car roof on the way in, yeah? Big laughs. Applause.
It bears remembering that those charged with defending the American way of life and its Constitution are, all of them, men and women in the uniforms of military or para-military organizations that pledge their daily, practical allegiance to the chain of command. They are, virtually by definition, authoritarian. I’m sure there are circumstances of clarity in which they would not follow unlawful orders, and I’ve said so in the past, but Trump will be muddying pools and weaving his web of lies, screaming about coups and voter fraud and fake news from the Enemies of the People over at WaPo and the Times, and when these people are in doubt, the general prudential rule is follow orders. Trump will see to it that they don’t know which way is up, the time comes.
I don’t know any longer. I have hope, but I can see no grounds for quiet confidence. I may not believe in a higher power, but I’m growing desperate, so if anybody’s listening, please, for the love of all that’s holy: God save America.