Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

11 November 2017

Seven Reasons Why Trump Could be Impeached and Removed Next Year


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1. He is disloyal and unreliable.
2. No one in Congress really knows or likes him.
3. His “magic” is fading fast.
4. The “pussy” tape is a crouching tiger.
5. The national revulsion at male sexual predation is a cresting wave.
6. Trump is his own worst enemy.
7. Tuesday’s drubbing, or next year’s, will wake even the sleepiest GOP member of Congress.

1. He is disloyal and unreliable. Donald Trump’s concept of loyalty runs in one direction only: up. He expects constant sycophancy, as in the famous Cabinet session in which he ordered every member to sing his praises. But displease him or disappoint him, and he will throw you under the bus before you can blink.

Not only that, if it serves his purposes he will belittle you and you and your service and even publicly humiliate you. Ask General Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos or Ed Gillespie. Also ask Cabinet members who are still with him, including Rex Tillerson, General Kelly and Jeff Sessions.

2. No one in Congress really knows or likes him. National politics probably depends less on personal friendship now than ever before. The constant demands for fund raising, media massaging, and interaction with constituents leave little time for socializing or cultivating friendships among members.

But even in this cold environment, Trump is unique. Before entering the White House, he had no experience in politics whatsoever, and therefore no chance to cultivate even bare acquaintances with members of Congress. What personal ties he may have are temporary ties of convenience, undermined by his well-known refusal to direct loyalty down and his ignorance of congressional history and procedure.

3. His “magic” is fading fast. Members of Congress should have known that breaking all the rules of tact, diplomacy, and coalition-building endemic to politics is not a recipe for success. Maybe some did.

Most Republicans went along with Trump because he somehow became their party’s nominee and, to everyone’s surprise, he won. But his win did not change the rules of politics any more than they changed the laws of gravity.

So far, Trump’s breaking-all-the-rules “magic” has failed to inspire or permit any major legislative achievement or any breakthrough in foreign policy. His party has become a herd of cats, unable to work together to pass laws, in part because it has broken all the rules for passing major legislation, including hearings, giving members time to read drafts, deliberation, and compromise.

Freshman members of Congress, brought in by the Trump tide, may think this is how the system is supposed to work. But the leadership of both Houses and the more experienced GOP members know better.

That’s why so many experienced GOP members have announced their retirements this year. The don’t want to work in a Congress with no rules because they expect their best efforts to be futile. And they expect to be challenged, if not defeated, by primary opponents having no coherent policy proposals and no idea how Congress works. Thus does Trump’s “magic” conduce to anarchy.

4. The “pussy” tape is a crouching tiger. One of the least explained phenomena of the Trump presidency is the failure of his “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape (euphemistically known as the “Hollywood Access” tape) to destroy his candidacy. There are three plausible reasons for this surprise.

First, Wikileaks released reams of theretofore secret but hacked DNC e-mails approximately one hour after that tape was released. The news media properly focused on those e-mails, which were more recent, more substantive and more properly “political” than the decades-old “pussy” tape.

Second, educated women likely to be most swayed by the “pussy” tape were also those most likely to be swayed the other way by the hacked e-mails, the disorganization and high-handedness among Democrats that they showed, and their additional evidence of Hillary’s tin ear and lack of political judgment. For many of these sophisticated women, the e-mails may have pushed semi-conscious suspicion and distrust of Hillary over the line.

Third, the “pussy” tape may actually have helped Trump’s candidacy among men, especially those without a college education. Trump’s “magic” among men derives largely from unthinking admiration for an alpha male—a dominant male who takes and uses power regardless of right or wrong and regardless of consequences. For men, Trump’s sexual predation may actually have boosted that admiration by making Trump seem a man who could get away with anything, perhaps even keeping his implausible campaign promises.

The least likely explanation for the apparent impotence of the “pussy” tape is the one offered by the Trump campaign itself: the supposed “brilliance” of trotting out Bill’s accusers to air their stories. It would be hard to imagine a man or woman, let alone a college-educated woman, so lacking in logic as not to ask, “what has this to do with Hillary?”

Now that Hillary is out of the picture, the educated women who ought to have been appalled by the “pussy” tape are free to reconsider their failure to react.

5. The national revulsion at male sexual predation is a cresting wave. The most casual observer cannot fail to notice this unprecedented phenomenon in American politics. Women of both parties and all classes have become fed up with sexual predation by men in positions of power, including pols.

It is absolutely no coincidence that the explosion of accusations and witnesses is coming now, after the “pussy” tape failed to keep Trump out of the White House and his win emboldened and encouraged sexual predators of all kinds. Indeed, the explosion of accusations is probably, at least in part, a delayed, collective reaction to the “pussy” tape and its implications for a sitting president.

If this analysis is correct, the intensity of antipathy to Trump on the part of women, including the relatively uneducated, is about to take a quantum leap. That antipathy will further erode his “magic.” As men consider the implications for their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers, it will also erode their admiration for Trump as an “invincible” alpha male.

6. Trump is his own worst enemy. He’s a liar, braggart, and bully whose public utterances are often nasty and inconsistent to the point of being scatterbrained. He might avoid his personality causing universal revulsion if he kept a low profile. But he hasn’t.

Virtually every day, Trump’s Tweets cause his face and his voice to appear on the daily news and intrude into every American’s home. There the full force of his narcissism, scattered brain, personal nastiness, and tendency to blame everyone else for his own failures are on full display.

Trump is not the nice but dumb guy that Dubya was, with whom voters would have liked to have a beer. Nor has he the pleasant, low-key personality of Obama. The more voters see and hear him in full force, the more they will come to detest him. And the more our various minorities come to see how serious is his bigotry, the more their resistance will harden into action.

For nine months, voters have been seeing him almost every day. As this trend continues, Trump’s “magic” will go into reverse, as it apparently did for Luther Strange and Ed Gillespie.

7. Tuesday’s drubbing, or next year’s, will wake even the sleepiest GOP member of Congress. Forget about any collusion with the Russians. There is ample evidence of Trump’s and his family’s use of the presidency for their own personal profit to impeach and remove him. All that’s lacking is political will: impeachment is, in the final analysis, a political process.

Trump hasn’t been impeached so far for two reasons only. He represents and purports to lead his party, and his “magic” rule-breaking somehow appeared to have paved a path to political power, donors’ satisfaction, and actually getting something done.

Now, after nine months, it’s painfully apparent that real accomplishment is elusive because Trump is an abysmal political leader who has failed to see, let alone to cure, his party’s ideological divisions. At the same time, his breaking-the-rules “magic” has had little force in keeping others in power, at least after Tuesday’s special elections. This persistence of the laws of gravity should surprise no one except the pols whose wishful thinking made them willfully blind.

Herd behavior is tough to predict. Republicans are well known for acting in lockstep and following their leaders, except apparently in passing legislation under Trump. So when Trump’s support among Republicans goes, it will go with the speed and force of a stampede.

When that will happen is hard to tell. Some trickles among non-retiring members, like leaks flowing under a failing dam, likely will appear in the next weeks or months, especially if the first attempt at tax cuts is the fiasco that now threatens.

But the best guess is that ever-cautious and ever-hopeful Republicans will wait for the 2018 midterms to make their move. If the results are similar to Tuesday’s, the chances of an impeachment will rise at least to better than even. That would be a blessing for both parties, for our Republic, and for our dignity as a nation.

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