Self-Perpetuating Hubris

For a while after January 6, I thought that high-end Republicans would choose to convict the about-to-be impeached Donald Trump. Just getting rid of him politically. Preventing him from ever again exercising his adolescent buffoonery in big league politics. The sheer shock of January 6 blew off—temporarily—a lot of ideological fog and Machiavellian smoke. But the fog and smoke weren’t gone for long. Or long enough.

A reconsideration has obviously been made. The forty-five Republican votes in the Senate, calling the impeachment unconstitutional, tells you all you need to know about that. Donald the rogue elephant, with his bellowing gift of agitating gab—gopgab, you might say, garnished with some nasty nouveau fascist visceral hatred—has the obvious capacity to create his own political party. The Tea Party or T-Party come into Foxscreen TV Breitbart neo-reality. Ready for a trial cruise by 2022. Fully up to demolition derby speed by 2024.

The Trump Party.

To, in principle, prevent Donald J. Trump t-boning the Republican Party in a massive intersecting election-year wreckage, the Republican brainsters are choosing to keep Trump in the herd, on the road, because a potential short-term second-term Trump disaster might be easier to manage and recover from than a smoldering political train wreck that would make the Republican Party a junkyard relic in the Red-state rust belt.

Therefore the United States Senate will not convict Donald Trump or bar him from future office. Therefore the Republican Party—the high-end Republican brainsters high on Koch—will make the fatal error of legitimizing, for 2022 and 2024, an outright stab at the Rush Limbaughization of America. Such a strategy (if we can call it that) cannot, in the end, win. But it can, in the indeterminate short-term, deliver a hell of a lot of damage and inflict a hell of a lot of pain. The thing almost feels fated by the ethical inertia of self-perpetuating hubris.

It’s entirely possible that we’ll see Kamala Harris versus Donald Trump in 2024. And that—with a Harris victory—could ignite January 6 all over again, only on a much larger scale. Or (life is not inevitably predictable) the Donald might mellow out, attend Kamala’s inauguration, and give her a modest kiss on her dark-skinned presidential cheek.

Paul Gilk lives in the woods of northern Wisconsin. His home is a reconstructed nineteenth-century log cabin, without electricity or running water. He is the author of several books including Green Politics is Eutopian, Nature’s Unruly Mob: Farming and the Crisis in Rural Culture, and Picking Fights with the Gods: A Spiritual Psychoanalysis of Civilization’s Superego.