The President has one in the chamber, and he’s pointing it at Democracy.
The President of the United States went back to the White House on Monday.
Five years ago, you’d have read that sentence and you might have thought it was a silly thing to note. Of course the President went back to the White House on Monday, that’s his home. But in the age of Trump, it was a full news event. Why? Because the President tacitly admitted by his actions that he cannot protect the American public any more than he can protect himself. The President caught and intentionally spread coronavirus. He has a serious case of it himself, and is lying to the American people. And as he walked back into the White House on Monday night, pretending his return was hailed with 1,000 trumpets and not a million mocking kazoos, he took off his mask to reveal simultaneously his egregious stupidity and truly pained breathing as a result of the disease ravaging his body. The latter was so obvious that American political media even began to comment on the lack of judgment with his health, wisdom, or political tact in his decisions. 210,000 Americans dying wasn’t enough to prove it to the American political media, but they’re just starting to catch on. Welcome aboard. Trump isn’t a political genius, and he’s not surrounded by political geniuses. He’s reckless and irresponsible, irrepressibly arrogant, horribly in over his head, flying by the seat of his pants, and an anti-democratic institutional arsonist who is holding the world’s biggest can of gasoline and pouring it all over our system of government while periodically talking about how Joe Biden is holding a match.
Joe Biden isn’t the threat. Joe Biden winning the election is the threat. Joe Biden’s growing chance of success in November exponentially increases the lengths to which this egotistical maniac in the White House will go to take his revenge on the American people. Yesterday it was ignoring and downplaying a deadly virus which he is embarrassed to have contracted. Today it’s killing the prospect of economic stimulus in an economy begging for spending. Tomorrow it’s installing a fundamentalist conservative judge and turning the Courts into a political chess game for the rest of time and preventing anyone from cleaning up the messes of this Presidency. Next week, it’s a civil war incited by the President calling forward the Proud Boys and other armed white supremacist groups who have already stated their willingness to die for the President.
We’re up the creek without a paddle if we don’t recognize that distinct possibility.
Among the more immediate consequences of the President’s incredible stupidity in ignoring the virus until it riddled his body and belabored his breathing is the national security threats posed by a virus functionally incapacitating the highest levels of American military command. The most basic part of the Presidency, the title of Commander-in-Chief, has been abdicated for meaningless stunts and ignoring basic threats. The Joint Chiefs and senior Pentagon officials are in quarantine, exposed to the virus by an outbreak stemming from the Trump White House. Bases and naval vessels, still reeling from their own outbreaks this summer, are not ready to react if American military might is needed immediately. Whether it is the further incursion of Russia into Eastern Europe, China cracking down in Hong Kong, an explosion along the DMZ in Korea, or a conflict between India and Pakistan suddenly bursting forth, the United States being off the board is a very dangerous prospect for global peace. This is a national security threat, brought on by the civilian head of national security, an economic threat brought on by America’s chief economic negotiator, a humanitarian disaster brought on by the head of the Free World’s largest purveyor of humanitarian aid.
If, in a wildly unprecedented turn of events, the United States were attacked by a foreign power in the next two weeks, do you trust that we would have a response ready before 2021? Who is organizing the defense of the nation in a world that is increasingly hostile to the United States due to the simple fact that we placed an imbecilic child in control of nuclear weapons?
There’s no both sides to this. Democrats cannot be blamed for Trump’s continued spiral into fascistic fetishism and a complete abdication of responsibility in the face of the most apparent need for domestic leadership since World War II. There is nothing the Democrats have done in the last 50 years that even approaches the level of ignorance and abuse of power that has been demonstrated by this White House. There is nothing Joe Biden could say between now and November 3rd that would be reasonably comparable to the 24-hour, 365 day shit-storm we have seen for the last 4 years that has only gone from a Category 3 shit-storm to a Category 4 over the last six months. There’s still room to grow into a major, historic catastrophe, which should terrify all of us because if there’s anything that this administration has proven, it’s that they have a penchant for making everything worse.
In addition to the everything going wrong 27 days before Election Day, the President is choosing to press on with Mitch McConnell in foisting onto the American judiciary an egregious and rushed lifetime appointment. The job of the Senate is to advise and consent on Justices and Presidential appointments, which requires time and review, and should involve a balanced and bipartisan effort to ensure that a Justice is qualified and fit for the position. Justice requires societal consensus, which means that if it is going to be truly a just decision, the opposition must be sated by the choice. The Court should be a neutral, non-partisan, and interpretive body. It should not a method for a minority party on its way out of power to solidify their place as an obstructionist group by putting the most extreme of their members on the Court for the rest of their lives. What’s more, and this argument isn’t breaking any ground, we should absolutely not be solidifying the power of a party that is about to be obliterated by the American electorate as millions of votes have already come in. The election is already happening. This isn’t just 27 days to Election Day, it’s 27 days until the deadline to cast a vote. So just to sum up: in addition to there not being enough time to even partially vet Amy Coney Barrett to a satisfactory degree through the United States Senate, she is going to be rammed through the Senate procedure by a President and Senate majority that are (by all counts of turnout estimates and polling) going to be roundly rejected by the time the polls close on November 3rd, the second election in 2 years where they will be decimated by the American voters.
Ultimately we’re going to remember the Trump presidency for its seemingly destined relationship with death. Not just the hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from the disease, not just the death of American influence around the globe, but the death of the American presidency and the death of the credibility of the Supreme Court. If the Court is a partisan body, it will never be seen as a legitimate part of American government again. The only answer is to pack the Court to re-establish ideological balance and regain the credibility it needs as a non-partisan body of government meant to check the work of the rest of the American government.
For Trump himself, this week has been the culmination of what this whole year has been. Literally and figuratively, a shedding of the mask to reveal the stench of coming death beneath. He cannot protect himself, he will not protect the nation, he refuses to protect the people, and he openly works for the death of the systems that give millions of Americans a fighting chance to live a better life.
We need to end the Trump presidency before it ends us.