The Shadow President

What does it mean that Donald Trump believes he would not lose a single vote if he shot a man on 5th Avenue? Or that Mitch McConnell recently said he “can’t imagine anything Trump could do that would cause the Senate to remove him from office?” Or that Republican members of Congress are demeaning themselves with frantic, irrelevant arguments against overwhelming evidence of criminal behavior that put our national security at risk? When both his guilt and the severity of the offenses have been established beyond all reasonable doubt, it’s a fair bet Donald Trump’s base will simply forgive him, as they have done so many times already. A rational mind begs for explanation.

I understand the attraction of authoritarian leaders to people who feel frightened and/or impotent. I understand that Republican politicians are justifiably afraid to cross him. And we all know how bias confirmation can trap people into ways of thinking they cannot or will not change. But this passionate worship of Mr. Trump by almost 40% of the population, this blind loyalty to a man who is loyal to no one but himself, has a cult like feel that suggests something else is going on.

Let’s look on the dark side.

Continue reading “The Shadow President”

✓ for a secret ballot

After watching the first two days of the House impeachment investigation, I suspect the only way the Senate will be able conclude the inevitable impeachment trial with integrity, and without upheaval, will be to allow a final vote on each of the articles of impeachment by secret ballot. I know that runs contrary to important values of transparency and personal accountability, but in this single circumstance I believe an exception is warranted. Continue reading “✓ for a secret ballot”

Duty

I now think Donald Trump will be impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate. He is leaving Congress with no choice. While he could declare himself the most successful president ever and resign, waning public support will soon drain that option of glamour, making it less likely.

The final straw to justify conviction in the Senate will likely be a legal technicality, an article of impeachment the House can prove as a statutory violation. Republicans in Congress will realize Mr. Trump is sinking their political ship, individually and collectively. While his fierce base can do them harm, it is too narrow to win their re-elections. Forced to make a public choice, they will have to acknowledge his wrongdoing and vote to convict.

Impeachment will be both necessary and correct. Necessary, because the evidence of criminal and Constitutional wrongdoing will be clear and convincing; but correct for reasons more aligned with the historical intention of the impeachment remedy as imported to our Constitution from England: to remove a destructive or divisive public official without criminal prosecution or assassination.

Whether we view Donald Trump as a populist hero or a narcissistic grifter, there is no denying he is undermining the Nation’s long standing values and norms, deliberately dividing the population, and corrupting the professional independence and capabilities of our government. He has said Article II of the Constitution gives him the right to do whatever he wants, and is acting accordingly. Even if he is, as he says, the smartest, wisest, most capable person on Earth, the Nation’s Constitutional order is built on principles and processes for balancing power and self-governance that must reject a president who denies and defies them.

If his amorality and personal corruption are not reasons to remove him from office, his insistence on superiority over laws and fundamental Constitutional requirements will leave the Senate, when faced with the duty of applying those requirements, with no acceptable choice but to remove him.

Why President Trump will have to be impeached

As Donald Trump was rising in the Republican primaries, I wrote the first essay in this blog warning that admiration of him as a strong, iconoclastic champion who would face down political correctness and speak truth to power would misunderstand a terrible and dangerous flaw—his narcissism. He would not, perhaps could not, stop doubling down on himself, on his self image as bigger and stronger than the country’s established political and Constitutional order. I now believe this compulsion will drive him to destroy the nation or be martyred. Continue reading “Why President Trump will have to be impeached”

What Kind of Genius is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump says his strongest qualification for being president is his genius. He cites as evidence his business prowess, great wealth, and amazing success at fixing problems no one else has been able to fix. Since his own statements are his primary source of proof, and many believe whatever he says, a more objective look is needed. Continue reading “What Kind of Genius is Donald Trump?”

Is President Trump Racist?

I have been perplexed by the claims of people who say they know Donald Trump well that he is not at all racist. Some of those have come from people who are not among his obviously obliged apologists. How could this be true?

To understand Donald Trump it’s important not to forget the narcissism that shapes his persona and drives so much of what he says and does.

Continue reading “Is President Trump Racist?”