Yeah, I know. I’m a “traitor to the cause.” I’ve been called that before and I know I’ll be called that again. The problem is, the people who usually call me that are generally not worth my time.
First of all, I do worry about Trump. I worry because he’s seemingly incompetent, but it also worries me that he’s tending to fill his White House with people who don’t give a damn about the American people as a whole. The last time we had an incompetent in the White House (George W. Bush, of course), he nearly led us into a depression. Trump is not qualified to be president and he is extremely narcissistic and vain and cannot handle anything said or done against his wishes. He is what he has always been, will always be and there is no changing that. There seems to be a fantasy among the professional left that “the media” is somehow “normalizing” Trump, but the fact of the matter is, what you see IS “normal,” as it pertains to Donald Trump. He will suck as president; there is no doubt of that. He will be the national version of Governor Jesse Ventura.
Yes, that worries me. It worries me a lot. However, is the alternative really better?
Think about it. Trump loves to be adored by the masses. It’s the only reason he ran in the first place. He doesn’t want to be president, he wanted to win the election. He sees it as a trophy, not a job. He can’t stand it when people don’t like him. Look at his Tweets for a clue. He attacks anyone who says something non-complimentary about him, but if anyone compliments him, he bends over backward for them. The Republican Party is hanging onto Congress by a thread, which means they are going to try their damnedest to make themselves look mainstream. At the beginning, they will try a flurry of crap designed to play to their base, which means we on the left side will have to form a brick wall along with Democrats to encourage them to block as much as possible. At the same time, we have to take advantage of the malleability of Trump. He’s never going to change, but he can be manipulated.
You know who is not malleable, though? Mike Pence.
Look; an impeachment is not going to happen unless something monumental happens, along the lines of setting up a burglary ring inside the Oval Office or some other obvious violation of a very serious law. You’re expecting a majority-Republican House to draw up and pass articles of impeachment and a barely-majority Republican Senate to muster up 67 votes to impeach? These are people who won’t even debate a gun law that 92% of the American people want, including most gun owners. These are Republicans who mostly hate Trump and don’t believe he’s a “real Republican,” but who swallowed their (pride?) and voted for him anyway. More importantly, this is a Republican Party who basically manipulated Trump into naming good Tea Party soldier Mike Pence as his running mate. Hell; Trump doesn’t even seem to like Pence, and Pence rarely agrees with Trump on anything. Look at the “Hamilton” debacle. Trump was all over Twitter claiming that the cast of the musical were “rude” to Pence and demanding an apology, while Pence took the statements with reasonable humor and class because he knows he’ll be in charge soon. This is in no way a Trump White House will be in sync anytime soon. And that is a good thing. We can use our system of checks and balances to stop a Vice President from acting like a president and having too much power, by leveraging the actual president against him. However, if we were to elevate Pence to the actual presidency, we would have a Tea Party majority in the entire government. Put simply, we would have a full compliment of Tea Party Republicans who don’t care whether people like what they do or not.
Trump has such an ego, we can play to it. Does HE want to be known as the “President who killed Medicare”? My bet is, Trump would object to that, whereas Pence would not. Trump bristles at being called a racist because he doesn’t think of himself that way. We can use that. Do you think Trump wants to be the “President who took away health care and returned us to a broken system”? I think it’s worth betting that he would not want to be known that way, whereas we know Pence wouldn’t care, because his appeal is limited to the current Republican “base,” and they don’t care about anyone else.
In short, Trump wants to be seen as a hero, whereas the troika of Pence-McConnell-Ryan don’t give a shit about anyone. We can possibly use Trump’s ego to our advantage. And no, I am not suggesting that we accept the Trump presidency. In fact, I’m saying quite the opposite. Like I said on today’s podcast, it’s time for all liberals and progressives to stop playing defense and play some serious offense. We will have a narcissistic blowhard in the White House; let’s use that to our best advantage. Hold his feet to the fire and call him out every time he threatens to do or say something stupid. When Paul Ryan threatens to privatize Medicare again, which he has already done, don’t just scream about Ryan; go after Trump and let him know that he’s taking health care away from old people. A lot of old white people voted for Trump; that will resonate. When Republicans suggest major tax cuts again, remind him that, if he cuts taxes for the rich, Trump will be remembered for causing the deficit to explode again. When he recommends going to war again, we can remind him that he will be known as the president who never met a war he didn’t like. We need to be on him like white on rice and we need to use his ego against him constantly.
This is why all impeachment talk needs to be shelved. As bad as Trump will likely be, having a far more skilled and cunning politician like Mike Pence replace him may actually be far more dangerous. Like I said, Trump can be had, precisely because he is an egotistical moron. The last thing we need is a very smart and cunning career politician like Mike Pence in charge. The next four people in the line of succession are all very smart, very capable right wing Republicans. There is nothing to be gained from impeaching Trump, even if it was doable. Be careful what you wish for.
Our strategy is actually simple. Make sure Democrats take as many state and federal elections as possible in 2018 and reduce Trump’s effectiveness and his ability to get anything done. Then, in 2020, we finish the job, by replacing even more Republicans with Democrats, just in time for the census and redistricting. Then, for the time being, we work with Democrats to make sure there are few Republicans left. That will cause the GOP to reject the far right and take back the actual conservatives in the Democratic Party and give us a better chance of getting progressive shit done.
We should demand a complete vote audit of this election and see if we can fix the results, to be sure. But if the electoral college votes Trump in, don’t think there is any quick fix available to us, because there isn’t. Impeachment could actually make a bad situation worse. And we don’t need worse, thanks.