It’s not going to be easy, but I think liberals will have to take the longview of Donald Trump’s abasement of the presidency. The longview has certainly paid dividends many times over for Mitch McConnell.
Mitch took the longview and sabotaged President Obama’s presidency from the start. While he didn’t manage to prevent Barack from being re-elected, as he had planned, McConnell did keep Obama from any major accomplishment after the passing of the Affordable Care Act (which the Republicans are busily dismantling).
And let’s not forget McConnell’s unprecedented nearly year-long embargo on President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. I’m sure Neil Gorsuch hasn’t.
The Washington Post theorized that the Senate Majority Leader was taking the longview (and not making a laughable error) as he silenced Elizabeth Warren (when, nevertheless, #ShePersisted). According to this view, McConnel was hoping to build Warren up in the eyes of liberals for a 2020 presidential bid, since he views this firebrand liberal as a weak potential candidate.
I can’t say if that’s true (The New York Times disagreed), but that sort of sinister machination would be completely in character for this canny political schemer.
I believe that liberals will have to start adopting McConnell-like longview strategizing if we hope to successfully challenge the Republican stranglehold on Washington.
Now, you may be thinking that one particular pair of short-fingered hands will not hold the reins of power for too much longer. Indeed, the Watergate analogies are bursting their timeworn banks like a thousand Oroville Dams. Meanwhile, Trump administration headlines are making my jaw drop so frequently — as I read one horrifying article after another — that I may need to get it wired.
It’s no wonder that the president is having trouble getting someone to replace Michael Flynn, the fellow Putin-lover he asked to resign as the NSA, though he blames not Flynn’s lying to the vice president and the FBI, but the press for revealing them.
Makes perfect sense coming from a congenital liar.
Meanwhile, continual reports about The Donald’s maniacal narcissism fill me with a sickening mix of revulsion and incredulity that this walking psychiatric manual is actually the leader of the free world. It’s Dr. Strangelove come to life.
What kind of sick “guck” (as I said when I was a foul-mouthed toddler) brags about his electoral college victory in response to a question about the increase in anti-Semitic incidents since his inauguration?
The Longview: Be Careful What You Wish For
So, why do I argue against my fellow liberals when they slaver over the idea of an impending impeachment of such an utterly repulsive and patently unsuitable president? Two words:
Hear me out. Which is worse, a fake Christian who panders to the Religious Right, or a true-believing, young earth creationist who implemented discriminatory laws against the LGBT community and regressive restrictions on abortion access when he was the Governor of Indiana.
Republicans love to warn speciously of the looming danger of sharia law being imposed in America. Yet the true sharia will come from such evangelical zealots as Mike Pence.
But my argument goes much further than the vice president’s fundamentalism. Hardline congressional Republicans would like nothing more than to be dealing with a fellow traveller. Pence is not only a former congressman, but a believer in right-wing dogma down the line.
None of that Rooskie-loving and protectionism. We all know he’s just playing the good little lap dog by towing the Trump line. Trump knows it too, failing to inform the vice president that Mike Flynn had lied to him for weeks after he learned of the deception.
Gone would be a source of never-ending source of embarrassment and humiliation — and a potential drag on their own re-elections — with Trump out of the picture. If the first month of the presidency is any guide, the disfunction, resignations, and investigations could lead to another tidal wave midterm election of the kind that swept masses of tea partiers into congress.
The Longview: An Unfavorable Election Cycle Transformed
The 2018 map leans heavily against the Senate Democrats. They have five incumbents running in red states that Trump won handily. Donald Trump’s already-historical unpopularity could be the secret sauce that allows the Dems to gain rather than lose seats.
The Democrats only need to gain three seats to counter Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote, which for the first time was required to confirm a Cabinet appointee — the embarrassingly unqualified Betsy DeVos.
Furthermore, by outwardly seeming like less of a nutjob than the president under which he served, Pence might well win re-election in 2020. That could possibly hand him two terms if he serves more than two years of Trump’s remaining term. That’s why President Johnson was able to run in the 1968 election until he dropped out of the primary race to prevent a humiliating loss.
Look, I know that four years of a shameful, dysfunctional, and horrifyingly extremist administration — headed by an egomaniacal loon — seems unendurable. But I’ve lived through four years of a difficult slog of a recovery. It has felt like a lifetime to me, but I managed to get through it.
Okay, so intelligence agents are treating the President of the United States of America as too unreliable to divulge information about sources that might find its way to the Kremlin. And, yeah, the people advising Donald Trump bear more than a passing resemblance to Bond villains. (Stephen Miller is perhaps closer to Renfield.)
After all, Trump likes to find cabinet members who look like they come from central casting. He just doesn’t say from what kind of movie.
Look, there are no good outcomes here for the foreseeable future. If we lived in a country with a parliamentary system, there would’ve already be talking about a new prime minister. There might even have been a vote of no confidence, with a new election called.
But a parliamentary system ain’t happening in this nation anytime soon. All we can hope is that we can somehow get through four years of a disastrous presidency with an economy, the country mostly intact, and a few remaining allies.
If Donald Trump manages to limp along for his entire term, these four years won’t be easy for liberals to stomach. We’ll have to hold our noses, plug our ears, and kiss our hopes goodbye until the Democrats fill the Washington Mall on Inauguration Day.
I can’t wait to see Donald Trump’s face when he sits by and watches his Democratic opponent sworn in. I think it’s fair to say that he won’t handle losing with the same grace as Hillary Clinton did.
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