Tonight (Sep 27) is the first time since the beginning of the Trump presidency that I’ve felt like there’s a modest chance that he might not make it to the end of his term.
He still seems almost certain not to quit, because he’s a malignant narcissist who is convinced of his own perfection, and it’s still very difficult to imagine 20 GOP senators being willing to incur the wrath of the mob.
Even so, the leaks are coming fast and furious now, with a lot of them likely emanating from the Intelligence Community — a large group of dedicated professionals whom he has slammed, belittled, denigrated and maligned..
Can this go on for 16 more months? Obviously it can, but I’m not nearly as sure now as I was 24 hours ago that it will. How it might end is another question, but it feels to me like something has really shifted this week, and today in particular.
The Trump Administration is a mob family and he is The Godfather. In the mobster movies there’s all this shady dealing that goes down that they manage to beat by the skin of their teeth by clever maneuvering and dumb luck. However, at the end, they get too confident and forget one thing and end up losing it all. In this case, though, there’s one big exception: The cops — FBI and DOJ are working for the mob.
Of course, there are other forces to consider.
- We know he will continue to rile up his dwindling but fiercely dedicated base. Look for him to stage more Nuremberg-style rallies.
- No doubt he will ramp up his groundless attacks on vulnerable populations — immigrants, people of color, women — all intended to throw more red meat to his base.
- Every DA in New York with any amount of ambition is going to be gunning for him, and — given the breadth and depth of his lifetime of crime, or, skirting the edge of crime — he’s facing serious jail time and fines that will bankrupt him (if he’s not already bankrupt).
- Because in his mind his needs come before any needs of the Republican Party, there is always the chance, no matter how slim, that enough Republicans will see the light, man up, and throw him to his fate.
In the final calculation, until Republicans themselves start to take actions that show they’re more concerned about serving their country than themselves or their party, Trump hangs on. Even with a truckload of crimes exposed, even with a solid majority of the country howling for his head, nothing really changes until the GOP decides to turn on him. And we all know they won’t move in that direction until it’s obvious their own political survival depends on it.
The GOP is no longer a normal political party. Republicans feel entitled to hold all the levers of power, and they won’t give up the biggest one there is. Perhaps more importantly, their members of Congress are terrified of Trump’s cultists, because most of them are in seats that are safe during a general election but are more vulnerable to a primary challenge. And Trump’s cultists won’t abandon him, because they live in an alternate universe where Trump is a great president instead of a bawling man-child, and in that universe Trump is the one courageously standing against the evil forces of white genocide, godlessness, socialism, or, fill-in-your-preferred-boogeyman.