The window for catastrophic Trump madness approaches
Two years ago, with the US presidential election just weeks away, I wrote in the Echo that ‘Trump is whipping up rage among his hard-core fans, screaming that the election is rigged and will be stolen by Clinton and “the establishment”.’
‘Will there be fighting in the streets?’ I asked. ‘Trump has exhorted his followers to go to the polling stations and give Hillary supporters hell…Candidate Trump is outrageously disparaging about women, and anyone else who isn’t like him. No one knows how many men are not admitting to pollsters or their wives that, behind the polling booth curtain, they’re going to vote for the big creepy guy.’
As it turned out, not much street fighting happened on election-day, and afterwards Trump-fans had no reason to fight because their guy won the electoral college with 52 per cent of male votes and 41 per cent of females.
Now, two years on, liberal media giants the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC et al, are pumping out fear and loathing in their editorials about President Trump like I’ve not seen over the 50 years I’ve been reading them. The former head of the CIA accuses him of treason, Republican Senator John McCain calls him a disgrace, and former FBI Director James Comey says he’s morally unfit to be President.
And still Trump’s polls remain at about 47 per cent approval 52 per cent disapproval, among the 58 per cent of Americans who vote. And new research shows that Trump’s win was mostly because voters vote for their Party’s guy, and today Trump is still the Republicans’ guy and the Democrats don’t have a candidate yet.
The real threat to the president is the growing number of powerful people who want him out of the White House. The biggest funder of Republican candidates, Charles Koch, recently criticised Trump’s tariff and immigration policies as ‘divisive’ and said he was damaging America, to which Trump replied that the Kochs ‘love’ some of his policies, including tax cuts and conservative picks for federal courts, while their trade policies are driven by a desire to ‘protect their companies outside the US from being taxed.’ Insofar as the Koch fortune is presently being spent on politics, it’s going toward electing Republican members of Congress, and state governors and legislators — not to Trump or his buddies.
Other right-wing funders, plus a growing number of Republican candidates, are looking for ways to disassociate from Trump: they can see that some of his fringe supporters – women with college degrees for example — have had enough of him. Believe it or not, 14 per cent of ‘educated white women’ voted for him in the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has triggered indictments of 12 Russians and ongoing court cases against several top Trump aides. Trump says it’s all a liberal conspiracy, but his previously faithful attorney Michael Cohen has over 100 tapes of the Buffoon-in-Chief saying things he says he never said.
And as that legal noose tightens, Trump has ramped up his attacks on the media, exhorting his followers to the brink of physical attack on CNN reporter Jim Acosta. ‘The press,’ he shouts, ‘is fake, fake, disgusting news’ and the journalists in attendance are ‘horrible, horrendous people.’
So what about that question I raised two years ago: will there be fighting in the streets? There might be, in three months time if the November elections yield a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, exposing Trump to impeachment. He would do just about anything to stave that off, including inciting his rallies to widespread violence, declaring martial law, and/or launching missile attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities and military targets.
In late 2016, journalist Andrew Buncombe interviewed Trump biographer Tony Schwartz for the UK Independent newspaper, and wrote: ‘Asked how the President might go about undertaking [instituting martial law], [Schwartz] said many of Mr Trump’s supporters were police, members of the border guards force and the ‘far right wing’ of the military.’ That’s probably expanded now to include many not so far-right military and cops, plus legions of gun-toting rent-a-cops, plus a lot of guys who just love the Trump macho-American-man worldview.
Thom Hartmann, a TV and print commentator, recently raised the possibility that the current Congress might grant Trump powers never before given to a president, for example, to suspend the 2020 presidential elections, if enough people were in the streets protesting against him and enough right-wing open-carry armed thugs turned out to confront them.
If Trump wants an excuse to declare war or martial law, there’s a brief time-window for him to do it: if Democrats win on election day November 6, he could be mad enough to give it a go before January 6 next year, when the new Congress convenes and could at least try to stop him.