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How long can this keep going on?

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The purpose of this thread is to facilitate a discussion of the following issue:  Almost every day now, one or more stories appear in the national media that would each individually constitute a bombshell-level scandal in the context of any previous presidential administration.  Since it’s hard to see the causes of these stories (rampant corruption, equally rampant incompetence, Titanic-level staff leakage regarding both of the former, legal proceedings flowing from all of the above etc.) changing in any significant way as long as Trump is president, the question becomes: how long can his administration last at this rate?  The floor is yours.

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  • revrick

    Democrats need to be very, very careful here. We may think it is a purely legal matter of proving that Trump did X,Y, and Z, and the American public will see the justice and wisdom of impeaching him.
    Of course, this runs into the adamantine wall of needing 67 votes, at bare minimum in the Senate, and no GOP Senator would want to be that 67th vote.
    It would be better to see the whole process of impeachment, conviction, and the removal from office as our version of the beheading of Charles 1st.
    The average American citizen will likely react to this development with unpredictable emotions. The only way it would be seen as a legitimate political act and not a naked power grab is if the GOP does it. Because if the Democrats are able to accomplish it with just enough Republican support, you can be sure that the GOP will do it to the first Democratic President they can lay their hands on. And no reason will be necessary.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      I suspect that the longer this rumbles on sordidly and inconclusively, the better it is for the Democrats and the more painful it will be for the GOP.

      • twbb

        Yeah. All the unpopped popcorn we have left after Nov. 9 should probably still be good.

    • randy khan

      I am pretty sure the Dems are entirely willing to let this unfold without being, well, pushy. They see the political advantage in having a terribly unpopular President around for 2018.

      • Gregor Sansa

        And in not putting Ryan in the WH.

        • paul1970

          Yes, it’s becoming increasingly hard to see how if Trump falls, Pence can survive. Does Pence go first, allowing Trump to be “safely” removed thereafter?

          • twbb

            My hunch is Pence is not necessarily as caught up in Trump’s kompromat as we are all hoping.

            • Domino

              Even if he’s not – hasn’t he willingly gone along with their BS? If we are to believe Pence, he “can’t recall” the letter Elijah Cummings sent him in November about Michael Flynn. Despite being in charge of the transition team overlooking Flynn, he wasn’t informed that Flynn himself told the group he was under investigation.

              Those 2 charges alone are ground for firing for incompetence.

              • twbb

                In any other administration, sure. He’s not going to be measured against some objective baseline though, he’s going to be measured against Trump.

                • Manny Kant

                  Vice presidents aren’t fired for incompetence.

            • TopsyJane

              He may not be, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Trump resigns and lets Pence, whom he raised up, take his place in the Oval Office. If Pence is presenting himself as “not in the loop” and it ain’t so, I have a feeling Trump won’t hesitate to share that.

    • Matt

      Because if the Democrats are able to accomplish it with just enough Republican support, you can be sure that the GOP will do it to the first Democratic President they can lay their hands on.

      As opposed to what, impeaching one but failing to convict and threatening every third day to impeach another? How exactly would the situation afterwards be different than the situation now?

      The average American citizen will likely react to this development with unpredictable emotions.

      Let the Trumpkins start some fires. Felony convictions would be a delicious way to suppress GOP turnout in 2018…

      • Derelict

        Your first point: Republicans have been looking to impeach any and every Democrat who makes it to the White House. Had Hillary actually won, we would be in the middle of her impeachment hearings right now.

        The more salient point that needs to be made, though, is that there are no conceivable circumstances under which the GOP House votes out articles of impeachment. Indeed, there is no way that any House committee even conducts serious investigations of anything Trump does or admits to. Republicans “lost” Nixon, and they will never let that happen to another Republican president.

        • randy khan

          I don’t think that’s right. I’ve said this before, but the necessary and sufficient condition for Trump to be impeached is that the Republicans in Congress conclude that he is going to kill them electorally. And if it happens, it will be like a light switch – one day they’ll be behind him, the next they’ll be pushing him out. I’m not saying it will happen, just that there are conditions that will cause them to abandon him.

          • Derelict

            The lessons conservatives have taken from the last 7 years tell them that they will pay no price at the ballot box for anything except not being wacky enough. The only threat they face is from the right.

            So, at this point, I think Trump could rape and murder a 6-year-old on live TV and all you would get is Ryan and McConnell saying the president has certain prerogatives and, besides, that 6-year-old was no angel.

            • ironic irony

              This.

              Since there is no political price for conservatives to pay, no matter what they do, the rule of law means nothing. If that is the case (and it increasingly looks like it), this country is lost.

              Sorry to be such a negative Nancy, I just don’t see how we get out of this. Nothing the Dems do is ever good enough to overcome the deeply ingrained racism, misogyny, homophobia, lack of logic and critical thinking, etc. in this country. If people won’t even vote to keep their healthcare, for fucks sake!

              • twbb

                We’ll never turn the paranoid base, but we don’t need to.

            • Manny Kant

              But that lesson is wrong. Hopefully Quist and Ossoff will win and start to convince them of that.

              The vulnerable House Republicans are already starting to get worried. Curbelo’s office called Mother Jones to make them say that Curbelo, and not Amash, was the first Republican to mention impeachment.

        • JR in WV

          Actually, while some Republicans did vote to Impeach Richard Nixon, both houses of the congress were majority Democratic at the time.

          And Richard Nixon had committed multiple flagrant felonies. With many co-conspirators, who mostly went to jail. Except for Nixon, who scored a full pardon for any crimes that may have been committed prior to his resignation, from Gerald Ford, Nixon’s pick for VP. Was there a quid pro quo? We’ll never know, will we?

          I think, unless Trump starts a nuclear war, we will be better off come November, 2018, with Trump in office. If there’s a real nuclear war, hard to say what would be better. Dealing with the war criminals would be a good start.

    • djw

      Because if the Democrats are able to accomplish it with just enough Republican support, you can be sure that the GOP will do it to the first Democratic President they can lay their hands on. And no reason will be necessary.

      To state the obvious, this is an extremely silly thing to worry about.

      1. Any world in which Trump can be removed via impeachment is a world in which between 1/4 and 1/3 of the Republican caucus in the Senate votes to remove him. But the same would hold true the other way. There is no reason to think a frivolous retailiatory impeachment of a future Democratic president.

      2. The Republican conduct during Obama’s tenure demonstrates that they learned an important lesson from the Clinton impeachment–vigorous obstructionism has more upside and less downside than frivolous impeachment. It’s *possible* that an impeachment of Trump might cause them to unlearn that lesson, but again, it only happens when 1/3 of them want it to (and Trump is a very unusual president; given that if 80-90% of elected Republicans could make him vanish without political cost, they would almost certainly happily do so.)

      3. So in the unlikely event that they do unlearn the lesson of the frivolous Clinton impeachment, so what? a) it won’t be successful, and b) it’s unlikely it will reap any electoral gain for them.

      • Thom

        It is also worth remembering that there could someday be a president elected as a Democrat who did something worthy of impeachment. Impeachment proceedings are not necessarily frivolous just because they are against a president from a party most of us align with.

      • tsam

        Based on nothing other than history and current polling (filtered through my cynical gut), I’d say Trump has a better chance of winning a second term than being removed from office. Quitting is a wild card, but Trump doesn’t seem to be built that way. His voters don’t care about reality or facts because the fake news thing is so out of control that he can erase anything by screaming fake at everything.

        • djw

          “history and current polling” may be of some very modest value in presently estimating his chances for re-election, but they aren’t a particularly helpful guide to the question of whether he’ll be removed from office between now and 2020.

          His voters don’t care about reality or facts because

          “his voters” are nowhere near a homogenous block to talk about like this, which isn’t great for him because he can’t really afford to lose any of them.

    • DaftPunk

      Almost every day now, one or more stories appear in the national media that would each individually constitute a bombshell-level scandal in the context of any previous presidential Democratic administration.

      FIFY

  • alexceres

    The world can stay crazy longer than you can stay solvent

    • Davis X. Machina

      And the GOP never stays dead for long. The Republican party takes a heap o’killin’.

      People remember the “Watergate Babies” congressional class of 1974, but Gerald Ford came within about 120,000 votes of duplicating Trump’s electoral win-popular loss achievement in 1976.

      After Nixon’s resignation.
      After his pardon of Nixon.
      During serious economic travail (“Whip Inflation Now” buttons, anyone?”)

      • Manny Kant

        To be fair, Carter was a terrible candidate who probably did worse than a generic dem would have.

  • Morbo

    I mean… it’s not like the 2016 Presidential Campaign lacked for what should have been career-enders, but here we are.

  • Bugboy

    There’s a saying (might be Twain’s) that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

    History has shown that things have to get bad before the electorate is moved to action. There’s a lot of talk of things going bad for the Trumperate, but it’s not going to be until they actually DO go bad that they will be moved. And that time has yet to come.

    Until then, Democrats should pass around the popcorn, and hope that the damage is limited, because really, what else is there to do? Because there is another old saying I think from Sun Tsu: Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake…

    • so-in-so

      I thought that was Napoleon, but it is still good. The down side is for things to get bad for the Trumpanzies they have to be even worse for a lot of people in “our side” who are pretty powerless.

      • Bugboy

        I did a little searching and I’m finding both. Maybe Napoleon was quoting Sun Tzu?

        But yeah, that’s the “hoping the damage is limited” part, because there WILL be damage.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I’ve *read* Sun Tzu. It’s not from him.

          Also, when I Google, the only mention of Sun Tzu on the first page of results is a link to a list of Sun Tzu quotes – but “Never interrupt your enemy…” is not one of them. All the other search results attribute it to Napoleon.

          (Edit – found the quote on the Sun Tzu page – but it’s not part of the main page, it’s a “Quote of the Day” in the footer at the bottom, and is properly attributed to Napoleon there.)

  • Appropriate picture. It seemed that war — and that presidency — never was going to end.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      What’s truly depressing is how many of the key folks in the Nixon/ Ford administration – Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Kissinger – continued to reverberate the values that brought us Watergate in subsequent administrations, and how it raises the possibility of Bannon/ Conway/ Lewandowski/ Gorka etc continuing to work in future White Houses.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Just in case you were worried about Trump getting low blood sugar at these overseas state dinners, at least one of his LGM-approved(tm) double-abomination favorite dishes will be on every menu. Care to guess which one?

    https://apnews.com/5e7e20245bc744fc8a6e71745239f56a

    • Hogan

      Any well-staffed, or even poorly staffed, kitchen must have someone around who can ruin a steak. If not, I’m sure Jared can step in.

      • nixnutz

        Did you miss today’s big Twitter thread about how well-done steak is actually the ultimate test of a chef’s skill and Trump only orders them because he wants to ensure that his restaurants are up to snuff? And the ketchup is because it’s terrible but he has to suffer to achieve greatness or something. Very funny.

  • jpgray

    Not as long as it may first appear. Remember the primary. Think about Trump’s level of support among the GOP base. The impervious quality of it had much to do with a few carefully cultivated ideas built up over the course of many years. Like his buildings, Trump did not plan or construct these things, but exploited the work, took the credit, and identified himself with the finished structure:

    1. Wealth and income identified with virtue and ability – designed for justifying inequality. Exploited by Trump to inoculate against charges of unfitness and inexperience. In supporter focus groups, “he’s a successful businessman” was the go-to defense against charges of stupidity and ignorance.

    2. Racist ghost stories – designed to deflect anger at worsening economic circumstances away from business enterprise and toward immigrants, poor minorities, etc. Exploited by Trump in a kind of ruthless embrace of the ridiculous logical conclusions that were designed to be left unsaid, which completely outflanked his opponents on these issues.

    3. Expert and elite condemnation identified as hatred of homely honest people – designed to discredit expert criticism of inequality-driving economic policies by equating it with elite criticism of culture war policies that for a majority of GOP voters make up their entire political identity. Exploited by Trump to turn every charge of unfitness, coarseness, dishonesty, etc. into a persecution of his honest humanity. More than anything else, this leads poor whites to identify with a rich coastal unChristian who lives in a giant black tower with his name on it in gold letters.

    He built none of this. It would support him indefinitely in a campaign. In governing, however, he’s eventually going to be screwed because the promises cannot match the reality. We’re going to see this effect more and more, and when it eventually breaks it will crush him:

    I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class and I’m waiting sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”

    • Daglock

      Regardless of lack of accomplishments for benefit of other than wealthiest 1 percent of Muricans, the redneck Trump supporters will continue to support him based their blind allegiance to white nationalism.

      • jpgray

        What proportion of Trump supporters are racist rednecks, in your view?

        • Daglock

          In my neck of the woods, 80 percent.

          • Daglock

            I probably should have said “racially-prejudiced” instead of “racist.” I perceive a difference between the terms. The folks in my neck of the woods are not necessarily overtly racist, but generally think that generational poverty and social problems are caused by skin color. Kind of like GOP Congress obstructing Obama because he was a “Democrat”.

  • Daglock

    The GOP is well on its way to accomplishing its goal of making a ‘Murican banana republic. GOP members of Congress are along for the ride as long as it lines their pockets. No sign of that ending. Jeebus forgave Dear Leader for grabbing pussy, lying, and philandering (several of the X commandments involved, e.g., thou shalt not covet thy son-in-law’s wife), so Jeebus will forgive dear leader for colluding with the Putinistas — because Judge Gorsuch, abortion, and totin’ guns. After all, Putin’s Russia is the GOP’s role model for unbridled capitalist wealth accumulation, with no meaningful financial, anti-trust, anti-corruption, or environmental protection regulation.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Well put. Although to slightly quibble (is that a word? Is it in the UD?) the people lining their pockets are the real base of the GOP, the oligarchic Kleptocrats of the USA. Their (s)elected representatives in ‘government’ aren’t in a position to line their pockets as much as they are in a position where they have to follow orders or face fatal sanctions from their mob bosses. However, they are lining their pockets in a relative sense, as all those clowns and bozos drawing their salaries on either side of the revolving door would be wholly unqualified for much of anything in a meritocratic society.

  • Gwen

    Donkey: “We have evidence that Trump is leaking to Russia?”

    Elephant: “Fake news.”

    D: “Our evidence is a sword affidavit signed by Trump himself.”

    E: “It’s not illegal and a good relationship with Russia will make the world a safer place.”

    D: “He literally leaked the nuclear launch codes.”

    E: “Yeah but Hillary would have been worse.”

    D: “The missiles are literally flying as we speak….”

    E: “Isn’t it beautiful?”

    D: “We are all going to die from nuclear winter.”

    E: “Nuclear winter? Just last week you were complaining about global warming! Which one is it, liberal?!? I win the debate.”

  • WinningerR

    Don’t assume that Trump’s popularity with the base is immutable. GWB was very popular with the Republican base at this point in his presidency, and became a whole lot more popular after 9/11. By the end of his second term, that support had cratered.

    Trump remains popular among Republicans because he hasn’t really done anything that’s had a direct impact on their lives yet. If the Republicans manage to actually pass something like the AHCA, or start monkeying with Medicare and Social Security, or tank the economy, watch what happens. And if Trump’s support from the base shows signs of weakening, the Republicans will turn on him quickly. Most of them despise him, after all, and realize he’s an obstacle to their agenda.

    There’s also a best case scenario in which Trump tears the GOP in two, with the moderate, pro-business wing separating itself from the feral bomb throwers out of desperation to survive. Not likely, perhaps, but not out of the realm of possibility.

    I continue to think that the most likely scenario is a Trump resignation. If we continue along this path where everyday is a new humiliation and a new “defeat” in the ongoing PR war (one of the only things that really matters to Trump), his lizard brain is going to tell him to run, after making all the appropriate excuses of course. After all, it’s clear that he doesn’t really enjoy being president. Things that would make this even more likely include: the Dems winning the House in 2018 (and the tsunami of subpoenas that would follow that) and the investigations getting closer to his family, his personal finances, or hanging criminal charges on him.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Trump remains popular among Republicans because he hasn’t really done anything that’s had a direct impact on their lives yet.

      His appeal is performative. It’s not based on policy. If there are enough highly-visible ICE raids, if even a nugatory attempt at the wall is made, or of the deportation force being assembled, or a new [1] Muslim ban is made to stick, especially in the teeth of the courts, he’ll be fine.

      Add some showy foreign explosions for good measure.

      Trump voters bought tickets to a show, not a platform. They’ll leave when the lights go down and the show stops — not when some small number of them (most people get their insurance through their employers, Trump voters are relatively well off…) lose health care coverage.

      • xq

        There’s just no evidence for anything you say in this comment. Everything Winninger said about the trajectory of Bush’s approval is true. Trump’s poll numbers dropped with AHCA, as one would expect from a deeply unpopular bill. We have lots of other evidence that healthcare policy affects approval and elections. Maybe everything really is different with Trump, but that’s not the good bet.

        • john fremont

          That sounds right. I remember George W Bush’s numbers starting to head down in the mid 2000’s. The administration couldn’t spin their way out of the Katrina disaster, the stimulus checks, $4 gas pump prices,the continuing Iraq occupation, and the housing crash. Except for the 27 percenters, enough GOP voters saw the Bush administration as having some culpability during these events to the point that him or Cheney didn’t even show up at their convention after 2 terms.

          Anecdata, I know a lot of retirees in Arizona were really pissed being underwater on their vacation home mortgages around Phoenix at the time. Or if they had paid cash from the sale of their previous home, watching the appraised value go down year after year . It’s that kind of thing that will soften Trump voters support for Trump. The Trump voters I know think these current scandals are typical liberal media political BS.

          • JR in WV

            Cousin is a Realtor out in AZ, and her rural market has never recovered!

            Granted, it is rural, and the farming community is strip-mining the aquifer, but property is for sale, and not being bought, not at all.

        • Davis X. Machina

          We have lots of other evidence that healthcare policy affects approval and elections

          Health care policy affects Democratic approvals and elections.

          Opposition to health care policy affects Republican approvals ad elections.

          See 2010 and 2014.

          There’s a reason why the GOP never puts a real one forward.

      • sharonT

        The ACHA if passed, will affect the employer market too. Life-time caps come back, all of those procedures, screenings, etc., that are covered with modest co-pays go bye-bye as well.

      • jamesepowell

        Agree completely. No one concerned with policy would have supported Trump over the cast of generic Republicans he whipped handily in the primaries. People analyzing his appeal focus too much on his appeal when compared with Hillary Clinton. This causes them to focus too much on policies like EPA/coal, immigration, social issues, etc. The people he beat in the primaries agreed with him on all those things.

        What made him the Republican nominee and president was his shameless inflammation of the voters’ ids. That’s what they bought and as long as he delivers, they will support him.

    • YNWA40515

      “By the end of his second term, that support had cratered.”

      Aye, there’s the rub.

  • Simple Mind

    Poseur of a president draped in gold like King Farouk paraded through the gilded corridors of the most corrupt and reactionary government on earth. MAGA!

    • muddy

      They sure knew how to make him happy. Bling! Shiny! Gold! And the cultural tradition involved makes it mean so much more than just a roll of cash. You know he wore it to bed that night. He’ll be sad when he finds out it’s not his to keep.

  • Harry R. Sohl
  • Harry R. Sohl
  • I’m sorry to say that the GOP base thinks that Clinton and Obama did these “exact same things” when they were in office. They also have bought into the Rush L / Fox version of life. They think all this hoorah is something the Black helicopter people dreamed up.

    For me , more craziness til 2018 is a good thing.

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