"This Aggression Will Not Stand, Man"
Donald Trump should be removed from office as soon as possible.
Have I ever been crazy about President Trump? No. Do I feel like the Left lost it's fucking mind as soon as he was elected? Yes. Have the past four years been mentally exhausting as a result? Sweet Jesus, yes.
But: no one has been interested in why Trump was elected in the first place. No one has actually stopped and really fucking thought about this in a meaningful, reflective way. There are some commentators out there- (Salena Zito) that have expressed some interest in actually figuring out that question, but the vast majority of our Establishment has been satisfied with combinations of "white people are fucking racist" and "True American patriots word salad word salad word salad" and as a result, no one has learned a fucking thing.
There's a quote from Talleyrand and after the Bourbon Restoration in 1830 (the French monarchy, not a delicious bottle of hooch from Kentucky- alas) he said- speaking of the Bourbons: "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing."
And yea, verily, kids- that sentence can be applied to the American Political Establishment. It can probably be tattooed on their fuckin' foreheads- not that it'll do them any good.
From where I'm sitting over the course of the past decade or so especially, you can take your pick: The Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Trump and his Fan Club and hell, even the College Admissions Scandal that saw Aunt Becky do a measely two months of jail time- should be a signal to anyone in charge with half a brain that there's a growing sense of anger out there. Whether you want to blame social media, the collapse of trust in our institutions, people are waking up to the fact that the government they elect and they pay for doesn't seem to give all that much of a shit about them and the fact that for a lot people, life is getting harder with every passing year and no one wants to help.
If you don't feel all that much sympathy for that great bugaboo of the Political Commentariat, "The White Working Class" consider the fact that if shits getting harder with every passing year for the white people in the Rust Belt, the level of difficulty undoubtedly has been increasingly exponentially for people who aren't, you know, men or, you know, white or, you know straight. Shits hard, everywhere and no one seems to be want to do anything about it and into that growing political void slipped Donald Trump. He was the gasoline and the match and his voters consistently wanted him to burn it the fuck down.
And herein lies the problem of fighting fire with fire: you risk burning the entire house down.
Do I think President Trump will ever get credit for the good shit he did? No. (We got a vaccine in less than a year. No one had trouble getting a vent, despite real fears about that in March... he hasn't been half bad on foreign policy- no new wars is an underrated and underreported achievement- and real wages for the lower third of income brackets rose for the first time in ages- and that's real wages across racial and gender boundaries I think. All good things- and maybe they happened in spite of him and not because of him, but they happened on his watch, so he gets the credit.)
Do I think the media would ever treat a Democratic President this way? No, but they've had no trouble gleefully milking the past four years for all it's worth for ratings points and to prop up their sclerotic and rusted over business model.
Do I think we should all have a collective agreement to say in one voice that riots are fucking bad, no matter who's doing them? I sure do! (Mobs storming Congress to disrupt the process of certifying the election results? Extra bad!)
Do I think there was massive fraud in this election? No. The election system in this country is actually 50 different election systems and they're fucked up and poorly run by design and the political parties like it that way because they can shout at each other and score points about it-- I tend to fall firmly on the side of "voting should be easy and not hard" but am not immune to arguments like, "if I have to show my ID to get a pack of cigarettes or a handle of booze, why shouldn't I show some form of ID to vote?" Until we set some clear national standards about how elections should be run that give states some boundaries to work in (because states are never gonna let you nationalize elections. That shit ain't happening, so stop dreaming)- it's always going to be a mess.
The President's legal team filed no less that 50 court cases in multiple states with multiple judges some of whom have been appointed by him to attempt to prove some kind of fraud or problem with the election and struck out. Texas and it's lawsuit was the closest they came- and while the underlying principle I might agree with- namely, election rules and decisions should be blessed be legislators or some elected official if you're going to fiddle with them- there was no way in God's Green Earth that the Supreme Court was ever going to let states start suing other states because they didn't like laws in other states. Not even Earl Warren would have done that shit and the make up of this court made its chances about the same as a snowball surving in Hell.
So what are we left with? Either the President's lawyers were incompetent (can't be ruled out, given the Four Seasons Landscape fiasco), or there was no evidence of massive fraud and the President has been essentially gaslighting his supporters into believing something that just isn't true.
Consider 2016: do I think Russia hacked the election or do I think the Democrats ran a bad candidate with a veritable freight train full of baggage who didn't bother with Michigan and Wisconsin after the Convention and lost both states by the skin of her teeth as a result? (Spoiler alert: it's the latter.)
Now, Consider 2020: do I think there was a shadowy left wing conspiracy to rig an election by faking not a few votes, but hundreds of thousands of votes- while simultaneously giving the President's own party extra seats in Congress or do I think the President didn't take COVID as seriously as he should, he spent the summer shitting all over the suburbs and then followed it up by acting like a goddamn certifiable lunatic on national television during the First Debate and saw the suburbs swing against him hard and lose the election as a result? (Spoiler alert: it's the latter and oh by the way, it's worse than that: the Democrats nominated someone who a significant proportion of their base was distinctly unenthusiastic about and then proceeded to fairly transparently downplay riots over the summer which in the hands of literally any other Republican candidate would have been a slam dunk, Michael Dukakis in a tank, 1984 Reagen vs Mondale type of an election. That fact that it wasn't says a lot about the quality of the Republican candidate this time around.)
Russiagate was largely media-driven hysteria. Impeaching him over the Ukraine Thing was just a waste of everybody's time. Social media companies need to be broken up and regulated. We don't need anti-terrorism legislation aimed at domestic terrorism or if we do, we need to be damn careful and actually scrutinize the shit out of it this time. I am interested in accountability, not authoritarianism.
But I cannot in good conscious see how the Legislative Branch can let this pass. If the VP isn't willing to get the Cabinet together to invoke the 25th Amendment (and hoo boy, if I was Pence, I'd have plenty of reason to want to do that*) then Congress needs to not pass go, not collect $600 and go directly to impeachment and removal. The short term consequences may be ugly, but this isn't about the short term- the Legislative Branch needs to make it clear for everyone else who holds the Presidency: you don't get to incite a mob to storm Congress without consequence.
*In the way too early 2024 GOP Sweepstakes: Hawley absolutely pissed any political future he might have had down his leg. Cruz is going to be a non-starter. Watch Tom Cotton carefully. Keep an eye on Chris Christie and Mittens as well. I sort of wondered if Sarah Palin was nosing around and taking temperatures, but her reaction to this mess was less than helpful. Didn't see anything from Nikki Haley or Tim Scott that would have helped or hurt either. Pence? Eh. If he would have invoked the 25th, I'd say he'd have a shot. Don't know now.