Let’s look at America as we end the month of June of a presidential year with the incumbent president running for reelection. We are in a depression with unemployment at a rate we haven’t seen in decades. We are suffering from a pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in a century and are turning in the worst performance by far of any other advanced industrialized western nation due to lack of federal leadership. The rule of law, including in many instances the actions of front line of law enforcement, is erratic at best. People from both sides of the political spectrum have been taking to the street to demonstrate. All that considered an incumbent president should be a dead duck in November but there is actually a decent chance that Trump will “win reelection”. My basic question today is with this backdrop what exactly is Trump planning for? There is a lot there including my use of quotation marks. Let’s explore.
For some time I have said that all Trump cares about is himself with the possible exception of his daughter Ivanka. If push comes to shove he will be willing to sacrifice his other children along with his loyalists like Jared Kushner, Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr. The only reason he wants to stay in power is because it has been a golden money making opportunity. His administration has been little more than an organized criminal enterprise from the campaign on.
The way I see it there are four possible paths Trump may be following and to complicate matters they are not mutually exclusive.
On the surface it would appear Trump is trying to win reelection or achieve an outcome confused and close enough to claim reelection.
While the coronavirus situation does have a lot to do with it, I found it interesting that the “Lev and Igor trial” has been rescheduled to take place in 2021 which is after the election. The trial is bound to produce information embarrassing to Trump and it would be inconvenient for it to come out before Americans vote.
In the Michael Flynn case an appeals court panel ruled 2-1, (the two being a Trump and a W. appointee), that the presiding Judge overstepped his authority by trying to pursue all the evidence in the matter. You read that correctly.
Here is one of the dangers of the Trump administration that will live for decades. There are currently zero federal court openings; Mitch McConnell has filled them all. Trump is banking on those federal judges making favorable rulings where they decide the verdict that Trump and the Republicans desire and then make some contortion of the law to justify it. I can see a lot of Election Night rulings favoring Trump and even a possible finale in the Supreme Court ala Bush v. Gore.
The Back Door Covering Of His Backside
One of the loopholes that seems to exist with the Justice Department’s policy of not indicting a sitting president, (this is neither codified nor has it been tested in the courts), is that the statute of limitations clock (which is five years for most felonies) keeps running while a president is in office yet he is assumed to be neither subject to arrest or indictment. In fact Trump’s counsel have gone so far as to contend that the police do not have the authority to stop him in the midst of committing a crime (i.e. shooting people on Fifth Avenue) nor does any police or governmental agency have the authority to investigate him. If you were to accept all this a president could commit any crime and as long as they were in office for five years or more from the commission of said crime they would effectively be above the law. Many Trump/McConnell appointees hold that to be true.
So in anything they can get to resemble a close call in an election Trump hopes to get the benefit of the ruling and if he stays in office he essentially has a get out of jail free card for earlier crimes; in fact he doesn’t even go to trail let alone jail awaiting trial.
President For Life (and perhaps then some)
We know Trump envied Chinese President Xi when he became president for Life. We also know that if Vladimir Putin isn’t Trump’s boss he is certainly his number one hero. Putin is effectively the ruler of Russia for life. What makes you think Trump doesn’t want the same deal?
If reelected I doubt Trump will try to change the Constitution which, by virtue of the 22nd Amendment, currently limits the President to two terms. Any projectable makeup of the federal and state legislatures would seem to make that impossible. However, if he can get some wild court rulings I could see a door opening for him to stay on. There is a possibility that Trump will not leave the Oval Office alive.
Now here is an even more diabolical twist; how about if Trump somehow tries to name his successor. I’ll admit that is farfetched but who would have predicted our current state of affairs on the afternoon of January 20, 2017.
Could it all be as simple as Trump assumes he will lose in November and just wants to keep enough of a loyal base to make TrumpTV economically viable? If he were in reality or actually immune from prosecution such a network could not only be plausible; it could be profitable.
I am among those who thought that was what Trump was shooting for late in the 2016 campaign. Remember, he never thought he was going to win. This is consistent with his need to flatter his ego, be perceived as important by an adoring base and make money without really working.
Conclusion – It’s Bigger Than Just Trump
Trump couldn’t do all this on his own; he has had a lot of help. That begs the question: Why? My contention is that he is the useful idiot the Republicans have been looking for. Look no further than last week’s House Judiciary Committee Hearing where Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert did his Little Drummer Boy/ Gene Krupa imitation banging on his desk in an attempt to drown out the statement of a witness who was not spouting right wing mythology. (My apologies to the late Mr. Krupa, unlike Gohmert he had talent and was good at his job.)
You may well be sitting back reading this and saying to yourself, “OK, but what am I supposed to do about it?” The answer is VOTE. If you care about American democracy we can’t let this election even be close. Like being the visiting basketball team with three dishonest officials on the game; if it’s close, you lose.
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