Trump and a Lifetime Presidency

The day before the 2012 presidential election, the Wall Street Journal’s buffoon-like political journalist, Peggy Noonan, wrote this about the odious Republican candidate, Mitt Romney: “I think he’s stealing in ‘like a thief with good tools….’” “While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. He’s quietly rising, and he’s been rising for a while.”

This, of course, was a bizarre hybrid of wishful thinking and stupidity, both of which were on display throughout her odd musings. But today, it seems, someone else may be ‘stealing in’, not just to the presidency which he already has, but to a lifetime role at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

In recent remarks, President Donald Trump commented on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent abolishing of presidential term limits. Said he: “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

One might be tempted to simply dismiss this as the ramblings of the demented egomaniac who found his way into the White House in 2016. This entire election was just a bizarre aberration, one might say, that will be corrected in 2020, if not before.

Not so fast, if you please. Let’s look at some of the facts that might prevent the easy dismissal of the nightmare of a possible Trump-for-life presidency.

+ He lost the election by nearly 3,000,000 votes, and only became president because of the truly wacky Electoral College. (We will not take the time here to factor in redistricting and voter suppression; they are topics for another discussion). While the possibility of that happening again in 2020 exists, the probability is low. It is unlikely that the Democrats will nominate as seriously flawed a candidate as Hillary Clinton in 2020, and with Trump’s approval rating hovering between 35% and 40%, Kermit the Frog would probably beat him next time around.

+ Trump believes, in his demented little brain, that he only lost the popular vote due to massive voter fraud, the evidence for which does not exist. But who needs evidence, when one is Donald Trump? After all, he has stated that he didn’t really say those things he was filmed and recorded saying to Billy Bush about women. When evidence is there, ignore it; if it’s not there, pretend that it is.

+ Trump has made one disastrous decision after another (Muslim travel ban; ending DACA; recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; tax cuts for the rich; decertifying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), etc., etc.), with no one stopping him. Ideally, the three branches of government – legislative, executive and judicial – are supposed to act as checks and balances on each other. And while the judicial branch has caused some restraint regarding the Muslim travel ban, the legislative body has sat back, perhaps in awe, but sat back nonetheless, and enabled Trump to run amok on the world stage.

+ Trump loves nothing more than adulation, which world dictators are forever forcing from their subjects. He has proposed a military parade, another hallmark of dictators, and speaks in glowing terms of world leaders who clamp down on human rights; he all but worships Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the country which has one of the most dismal human rights records on the planet.

+ He loves his executive orders! He seems to think that a president can do whatever he chooses by simply signing such an order, the chaos and turmoil that his executive order on travel from mainly Muslim countries caused notwithstanding.

+ A poll in August of 2017 indicated that half of Republicans would support postponing the next presidential election if Trump proposed doing so until the non-existent problem of voter fraud could be rectified.

Not quite so easy to dismiss the possibility of a Trump-for-life presidency now, is it? Who would stop him? Not Congress, that’s for sure. That worse-than-useless body has allowed him to violate nepotism laws, ethics laws and common decency. As long as their high-paying, perquisites-full, low-demanding jobs aren’t in jeopardy, why rock the boat? Why concern oneself with another election, when there is a risk of being defeated? So much easier to just go with the flow.

Someone, surely, would file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. citizenry, but would it be sufficient to block his executive order? Perhaps one court would, but it would quickly move its way up to the Supreme Court, due to the unprecedented nature of the case, and what would happen there is anyone’s guess. And Trump could decide to disband the court, anyway.

Would some foreign nation intervene to stabilize the rocking pseudo-democracy of the United States? There are economic considerations that are of vital importance to much of the world, but other nations are ascending economically, and while the world can’t do without the U.S. economy, the U.S. economy can’t do without the rest of the world. And might there not be some glee in seeing the world’s foremost terrorist organization teetering into chaos? The United Nations might take up the issue and, as usual, debate it endlessly, come up with some positive conclusions, and then ignore them.

And while all this is going on, Election Day of 2020 will come and go, like Peggy Noonan’s thief in the night, as much of the world looks on in awestruck horror. Of course, Trump will not hesitate to further his credentials as a dictator by starting wars wherever Netanyahu tells him, with Iran clearly in his sights. We all know that there is no sacrifice of U.S. life or money that Netanyahu is unwilling to make for ‘sacred’ Israel. We also all know that a war with Iran would be a disaster for the U.S., Israel and much of the world, but when you’re dictator for life, who cares about such things?

Donald Trump is perhaps the most unstable man to ever inhabit the White House (considering some of his predecessors, that’s a frightening statement). His legislative agenda, or what can be discerned as such, reflects his belief in his own, self-proclaimed brilliance, and his desire for a white, male-dominated country, with the super-rich in power, and everyone else simply doing as they’re told. He cares nothing for women, minorities, the environment, peace, human rights, international law or justice. He thrives on adulation, and arranges events with his adoring minions cheering him on.

The U.S.’s long journey toward self-destruction may finally reach its destination under Trump. If it does, when the dust settles, it may prove to have not been a bad thing for the world.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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