“This is a race to the bottom, and there is no bottom.” I quote myself here, and I think many of you are thinking the same thing, as week after week of hysteria, made-for-(bad)-television political drama, and the ever-growing middle-finger President Trump offers the media and Washington D.C., continues with no near-time end in sight.
For those who support Trump no matter what, the last year has been one brilliant 26-dimension chess move after another, engineered by an intellect so far beyond our puny human comprehension as to be totally alien in nature: the Great Wisdom of Donald J. Trump. The Syria pull-out maneuver was a genius distraction from the go-nowhere Russia probe and the dumpster fire of a Ukraine call.
And every little scandal is accompanied by Trump’s clarion call: “Witch Hunt.”
The key here is that there is, in fact, a Witch Hunt. A year ago, the New Yorker covered in exquisite detail Rep. Adam Schiff’s plan to “obliterate Trump’s red line.” This was in the ancient days when Matthew Whitaker was acting Attorney General, before the Mueller report was public, when all Trump’s men (and lawyer) were going to prison, and Democrats just knew they’d take the Boss with them.
Trump was one big ball of self-sabotage.
Then a funny thing happened: 24 Democrats entered the race for president, and so muddled their own field that nobody in the Democratic Party has any idea what they really believe, other than Orange Man Bad. The latest national polls still have Joe Biden in front, but Elizabeth Warren leads in first-caucus Iowa. Both Biden and Warren are irredeemably flawed; the former barely able to cobble together coherent sentences involving his current location and today’s date; the latter unable to quell even her own party’s laughter at her so-called “plans” that make AOC’s Green New Deal look practical by comparison.
But back to the Witch Hunt. Indeed, Adam Schiff had a plan to use the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to endlessly investigate Trump, and to find whatever crime meets the punishment of impeachment. His staff had/has networking assets (whistleblowers) embedded in Trump’s White House, and all those who implemented “Good Order and Discipline” there were/are gone. To Schiff, it’s a matter of saving the world from Trump and foreign Trump-a-likes.
As Schiff sees it, Trump is pushing the country in precisely the wrong direction, at a pivotal moment. “Normally, America would rise to this challenge,” he said. “We would be championing democracy and human rights. But we have a President who’s very fond of ties with the autocrats, who disdains our fellow-democracies, and he is just adding kindling to this global trend. There is a constituency with the same kind of xenophobic populism that you see in Europe, in South America, and elsewhere, and Trump tapped into that, but he has certainly made that trend so much worse and more pronounced.” He went on, “It’s not just that autocrats are winning in places like Brazil. The far-right parties in places like Germany and Austria are growing. He is undermining people like Merkel and Macron and others who are resisting that.”“Adam Schiff’s Plans to Obliterate Trump’s Red Line,” The New Yorker, December 14, 2018
And Trump’s grand goal is to be the gravity well of all news, putting everything in his own orbit until nothing else remains but his will and his opinion.
This is where Trump has really self-sabotaged. His need to be the center of evertything has expelled all but the sycophants, the family, the Good Soldiers, and the elephant-skinned from his administration. Nobody is allowed to have an opinion in Trump’s government except Donald Trump, and agreeing with him has its own peril. Trump regularly climbs out on limbs and saws them off–but like the Road Runner, he seems not to fall, yet everyone who climbed out with him goes down.
And each time Trump defies the political physics of gravity, his fans cheer more loudly and attack those who fell because they once stood with him. Soon, there will be no more limbs to saw, and all will become one large smooth trunk of a Trump tree with Adam Schiff swinging his axe to chop it down.
I still believe that Trump is begging to be impeached. He wants Democrats to hit him with their best shot and live through it. He wants to build an immunity so robust/a tree trunk so thick that in his second term, literally nothing can stop him from doing as he pleases, since any Republicans who could/would oppose him have retired or been forced out, and Democrats will have no more axes that can cut through his thick bark.
The question before us is who will self-sabotage more before the 2020 election: will it be Trump, diving ever deeper into personal worsts, or the Democrats, unable to contain their own disdain for critical thought and personal success?
What troubles me most about this isn’t the spectator-sport entertainment that our politics has become, it’s that since both sides have taken their hands off the wheel and are accelerating towards one another in a stupid game of chicken, other parties that don’t hold America first in their values are taking advantage. The 2020 election, by dint of that fact, might end up decided by China, or worse, Russia.
China could complete its trade agreement with Trump and pump up the stock market, or they could turn the screws and let our economy begin to falter from Trump’s tariffs. Russia could mess with so many places in the world, starting with Syria and Turkey. Either China or Russia can mess with Mexico, our trading partner and immigration frenemy. Or they can continue to mount social media and Internet acts of war on us. These levers are being pulled outside of our control, and both Trump and the Democrats seem to have lost interest in responding to them, other than to troll the other side.
It’s dangerous as hell because we don’t know how far down both sides will go, but we do know there’s no bottom.