President Trump has so far been an irresponsible leader. As someone who is comfortable (and in fact enjoys!) arguing for the opposite point of view in order to spur on arguments with friends, I often find myself trying to think through the logic of a viewpoint with which I disagree. Some of my most firmly held beliefs that differ from social norms have arisen from this method. The best example is my stance on personal recycling (it’s a form of tax, doesn’t matter, and is morally licensing, so I’ll stick to reducing and reusing thank you very much).
So though I harbored many differences with candidate Donald Trump, I am fully prepared, especially in the presence of so many smug Bernie supporters in my social circle, to try to react to his policies with analysis rather than anger. So far he has demonstrated his usual callous and un-Christian attitude towards others as well as several massive violations of wisdom abut leadership and American institutions which I hold dear, and which history has shown are worthy of respect and adherence. For a good list of these, check out this weekly record.
Russell Simmons wrote an interesting opinion piece on Huffington Post today that I think gives us part of the picture. I’ve seen a few pieces articulating that even if somehow Trump got impeached, Democrats are in for a long, hard four years. Even assuming something Trump does causes Republicans in power to somehow decide it’s worth jumping ship and impeach him, it would take a long time. Even Liberals who are shouting and waving their fists like Robert Reich think it’ll be a while before they dump him. And lest the passionate among Democrats forget, President Pence wouldn’t be an alliterative leader that propels the country forward.
The timing here could be very interesting. Democrats seem to have little hope of winning back either the House or the Senate in 2018. If things stay this way, Republicans could very well hide behind a smoke screen of their normal obfuscation while letting Trump parade around for two years, and then announce after winning, potentially a filibuster-proof majority, that the voters had endorsed Trump’s policies, even though reality says the map and seats up for election favor them. If Trump manages to learn which crazy things warrant backlash and protests, and which fly under the radar, he could manage to be propped up for the entire four years, helping usher in an even stronger majority for Republicans.
If, on the other hand, the protests and political activism that may be coming combine with one or more Trump decisions that break through the cognitively dissonant support of some of his voters, a few things might happen:
- President Trump, who we all know loves to gild things, might start believing polls that show him as un-liked. Protests and woke former Trump supporters might make these numbers sink further and break even more starkly. President Trump might turtle up and keep at things, or change, or just quit. He’s a maverick after all, and has said many times he doesn’t need this job.
- Slow-moving lawsuits (you actually can’t sue the President for things he does as part of his official capacity, FYI) and petitions and eventually articles of impeachment might make it to the house floor. With only a simple majority needed, that’s currently 26 Republicans siding with the Democrats, and would be less if it happened after midterms and Democrats picked up some seats. While it would take 2/3 of the Senate, which means a lot of Republicans switching sides and seems pretty near impossible, perhaps just the threat of getting it passed in the house would cause Trump to change course or jump ship given that Alec Baldwin consistently gets under his skin for doing an impression on air.
- The Democrats start offering more leadership and more young, Millennial voices the chance to become part of the party. If protests galvanize the Democrats in a similar way to the Tea Party, the Millennial generation can grab hold of political power. The Democratic leadership in the Senate has recently broadened, but even the Millennials willing to get arrested to change the party are advocating for a 75-year old to take control over a party he doesn’t even identify as a member of. This would take Millennials rising up and denying the snowflake aspersions cast our way with little thought. I love this idea.
- Civil servants, judges, and large institutions combine to create a lasting resistance to the destruction of democratic and social norms in which President Trump is constantly engaging. From the “Resist” banner by Greenpeace to the rogue Tweets by NPS, EPA, and NASA employees, everyone everywhere makes sure that their one vote (that they probably were too busy or apathetic to cast, hence Trump winning in the first place) is followed with a few hours of dedication to the American Dream that unifies and uplifts, instead of President Trump’s “American Carnage” inauguration address.
No matter what happens over the coming weeks, months, and years in our American political experiment, I know two things about myself for certain. First, I will continue to help out political campaigns for candidates I support by canvassing. I love the walking, the fulfillment I get from meeting so many good people, and the knowledge that while I only vote once, I can get many more votes cast by putting shoe leather to pavement. Second, I will keep reading and talking and being optimistic. If I stay informed, and keep reading, I will know more about why things are happening, and be able to help spread this information in my circles.