We knew on November 8 that the Democrats in Congress would be weak. It is striking to see it in action, however. The only real power they have is in the Senate, where they will cause moderate headaches for Mitch McConnell. The real strength of the resistance in Washington will become clear during the battle over Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat. It will be the first real test of Donald Trump.
In any case, the two main sources of opposition to President Looney Tunes are the press and the people. There is good news on both fronts. The people are fully engaged. There were the protests last weekend, of course. There also is a lot of is anecdotal evidence. Check out your Facebook feed. Google searches for the 25th Amendment are skyrocketing.
The press finally is showing up. The journalistic “false equivalency” dodge finally seems to be fading. The president’s voter fraud claims have been reported not as a reasonable point of view, but as the nonsense they are. Two examples: CNN’s Jake Tapper took them apart piece by piece in a widely watched report. More importantly, The New York Times ran a story with this headline: “Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts.” The use of the word “lie” — and in the headline, no less — is a big deal. It certainly got Steve Bannon’s attention and, no doubt, frightened him.
What is uncertain is Trump’s status. Is he is nuts, shrewd — or a bit of both? The nut case case, so to speak, is that ranting about illegal voting, the size of the inaugural crowd and Sean Spicer’s wardrobe is a sure sign of mental illness or instability. There is another way to look at it, however: Perhaps incoherency is a tactic. For one thing, it is red meat for his base. They believe that millions of illegal votes were cast. It could be his way reassuring his supporters that he meant what he said during the campaign. Secondly, it takes attention away from the awful real things that he is doing. The third possibility is simply that he believes what he is saying. It could be a mix of all those things, of course.
The president ultimately will lose. He already is underwater with voters and his base is small in the context of the size of the country. Much of the support he did have was as much anti-Clinton as it was pro-Trump. It is impossible to perpetually defy political physics. And, when the fall comes, it comes hard. A president with approval ratings in the teens–that is where are headed–can’t move an agenda forward.
Unfortunately, he will do a tremendous amount of damage in the process of losing. Our goal must be to translate the energy of the protest into a sustained, peaceful and non-violent resistance. It is up to us. Resistance is not futile.