The New Year may look entirely promising for many Americans. Unemployment is under four per cent— at an historical low. Economists now worry more about possible inflation than they do about recession or depression. The press reports more about the new jobs than it does about the better jobs that are lost. Trump apes other sitting presidents in claiming authorship of current economic wellbeing.
Never mind the brutal conditions of many new jobs. Never mind the persistence of a low minimum wage. Never mind that corporate profits and CEO salaries continue to peak, while wages of the average American remain stagnant, or grow just a bit.
Never mind glaring and increasing American inequality. Census data will now testify that the disease of inequality infects most aspects of American life. Exactly who gets into Ivy League universities, or who nails down a job on Wall Street as opposed to Walmart, are only a few of the inequality indicators. And never mind that the American fatter cats, the upper one per cent, grab most of the annual income earned, and now own ridiculous or dangerous proportions of the nation’s wealth.
Inequality rages in America in part because the poor, the unemployed, and the racial minorities are discouraged or prevented by law from registering to vote. Proof of American citizenship, the possession of a driver’s license or some such obstacle is now required by several states, mostly in the South. The design is to keep away from the ballot box the poor, the blacks, the naturalized Latinos, and anyone who might challenge the established order.
Worse still, many of these less-privileged Americans, if they go to the polls, will cast their ballots for the same individuals who create or perpetuate existing inequality In the first place. “America First” should not mean that the U.S. now runs ahead of every other country in inflicting inequality on the masses.
In today’s America Donald Trump may well be elected to a second term. If so, he may be the first impeached person to hold that high office. Trump may receive some help from the Democrats themselves. Impeachment, followed by a phony Senate “trial”, might actually hurt the Democrats and help Trump.
Nancy Pelosi is currently attempting the impossible: namely, to persuade Senator Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans to hold a free, open and honest “removal trial”, and not just a farce. McConnell has already publicly announced the Republican verdict, which despite the evidence adduced, will be: Not guilty as charged!
In the coming weeks and months, political scenarios abound that may hurt the Democrats and favor Trump and the Republicans. Rather than engage in what is widely known to be a phony trial, with a foregone conclusion, it may be better not to hold the trial at all. Nothing in the Constitution and no law dictates that the trial must take place. Donald Trump would then have to compete for reelection as an impeached candidate.
The electoral results in the fifty states and District of Columbia and the rules of the Electoral College may help Donald Trump. One possible outcome is that he would continue as a Minority President. Existing electoral rules are such that, even if a Trump opponent were to garner four or five million votes more than he attracts next November, Trump might nevertheless remain as a Minority President.
On the other hand, Donald Trump next November might win a majority of the popular votes as well. A political “perfect storm” might produce a national disaster of this magnitude. It is worth asking how this might happen.
America’s healthy economy supports the notion of such a storm. There exists close to a law-like belief that if the economy is booming, a sitting president is likely to be reelected. This unwritten “law” is not immutable, but its existence is obvious in Trump’s recent declarations about the economy. He is apparently ready to interfere with the US. Central Bank, if the latter were to take steps of which Trump disapproves.Trump counts on the economy, on the Dow and other financial indices, on the monthly unemployment reports, to help him at the polls.
To counter this situation it is vital for Democrats to stress the ways in which Republicans in the Senate may seek to influence a pre-determined favorable outcome for Donald Trump. The American voter must understand the implications of a Republican proposal either not to call up witnesses against Trump, or to limit what witnesses might have to say against the president. Much must be made of Trump’s demands that witnesses not testify, or indeed that they may refuse to appear at all, to fly in the face of formally issued subpoenas.
These matters are now so complicated and confusing, that the opportunities abound for Democrats to make politically damaging mistakes. It will be miraculous if the Democrats manage to avoid slipping. This possibility alone is one good reason why no phony trial, or political farce, should take place.
Trump may also profit from a Democratic Death Wish. Above all, the wish is manifest in too many Democratic potential candidates. Not one of these men or women is an electoral opponent who would obviously be able to defeat Trump.
Joseph Biden currently leads the pack. A younger, sharper, quicker, brilliant Biden would spell electoral trouble for Trump. Not so the present older Biden. The voting public is reminded of his age– every time Biden stutters, or is forgetful, or hesitates– on television. Biden’s and his son’s dealings in Ukraine also work against him as a viable Trump opponent.
Those Biden dealings in Ukraine were probably entirely above board. Joseph Biden himself may never have profited from any deal his son may have concocted, yet Donald Trump will nevertheless try to exploit this potential advantage, behaving about this event no less brutally in political terms, than might be Biden himself, were the shoe on the other foot.
Cory Booker, because he is black, is touted as the obvious vice-presidential candidate behind Joseph Biden. However, it’s Barak Obama’s tenure that has made race a basic issue in presidential politics. Evidence? In several national polls an overwhelming four out of every five Americans favor a national health system that is financed by the government. This same group may not have a clue that “Obamacare” means government health insurance. But call the health insurance by Obama’s name and the majority of approval vanishes. Too many Americans, in a racist society, do not wish to be associated with blacks. If there is any doubt on this score, ask any black American.
What about Elizabeth Warren? She seems by far to be the most politically able of the many potential Democratic candidates. She will more than hold her own against Trump. She is quite smart, well prepared politically and absolutely ready, even eager to duel politically with Trump. I think the latter knows and fears this prospect.
Warren is hampered by two factors. She cannot change her gender. Democrats know they need the votes of women, and will do much to appeal to them. Democrats also realize that they must appeal to American women, and they are understandably amazed that despite his misogyny, Trump was still able to attract votes from so many of them. Their hope is that large numbers of American women supported Trump only because he was not Hillary Clinton, whom they did not like.
There is also the Warren ideology. Warren is not a rigid ideologue. She will play around with some of her more controversial and expensive ideas. She has already modified her earlier “Medicare for All” proposal. She understands that taxing the rich will not alone solve the country’s inequality problem. That said, all manner of research shows that, compared with so many other countries where women rule, the U.S. remains powerfully misogynist.
That said, American male misogyny is also at play here. The United States is apparently not yet ready to elect, say, a Ghandi, a Thatcher or a Merkel. Not to mention the many other countries where women have readily reached the highest offices. Alas!
Bernie Sanders seems to believe that American voters are ready to support a presidential candidate who claims not to be a Democrat. Sanders instead defines himself as a Socialist. In the United States! He seems to ignore that the State of Vermont is not the rest of the country. Unlike Europeans and Asians, Americans are apparently unable to draw distinctions on the political Left. So, to be a Socialist will remind too many of them of Josef Stalin, or of the “Red Menace.” This political parochialism will be eroded by time and by the young, but not early enough to make a difference next November.
Pete Buttigieg also lives on some “other planet”. He may be a successful Democratic mayor of South Bend, a small town in southwest Indiana, close to a left-of-center-leaning Chicago, but he is also openly gay. In today’s United States that fact alone would doom his presidential candidacy. The State of Indiana itself, in which little South Bend is located, is largely and historically a Republican stronghold. As with Bernie Sanders and Socialism, being openly gay is anything but a safe and sure path to the White House Office.
We then have Mike Bloomberg, the canny investor and former mayor of New York City. Bloomberg surely knows that anti-Semitism, although hidden or suppressed in the United States, is a political handicap. Are the voters in America ready to send a Jew to the White House? Bloomberg himself must know that, at this time, he too and for extraneous reasons, would also be a probable loser against Trump.
Then there is Donald Trump himself. A formidable candidate. A master user of the social and mass media. A man with enough personal energy to permit him to engage not only in trade, but also in potential military and nuclear, and other duels around the world. And he can still find the time to pen and send out Tweets—in the last three years he wrote about 20,000 of them.
These brief messages alone underscore for many Americans the reasons why Trump should not be the U.S. President. Nevertheless, as so many now-silent Republican critics and opponents of Trump have learned, Trump is not only a vindictive man, he is a superb political candidate. In short, Donald Trump’s political capacities should never be underestimated.
Trump also can rely on a solid base of electoral supporters. He persuaded sixty-three million American voters to endorse his presidential candidacy. The polls show that many of these men and women remain Trump supporters, no matter how depraved the latter’s behavior may be. Trump can also count on support from millions of Evangelicals. These so-called Christians should know better. If and when they do, they apparently turn a blind eye toward Trump. In fact, they are ready to condemn one of their own, a brave editor of an Evangelical journal, who lamented and condemned some of the president’s behavior.
A few Republican leaders, some of whom once decried Trump’s behavior, now fear that he is destroying the old GOP. Apparently, holding on to their elected office is for them more important than might be the fate of the Party or, for that matter, the future of the American Democratic Republic. Nothing that most Republicans politically utter today would resonate well with, or remind any of them of the Grand Old Party.
Trump has also used the “Bully Pulpit” to his advantage. He knows that almost his every move or utterance will be diffused by the international media. He desires a second term so much that to get it he may plunge the United States into another hopeless war—against North Korea or now much more immediately, against Iran.
Trump recently ordered the death of an Iranian general. He did not know or did not care that his behavior would be judged as excessive—not just by Middle Eastern terrorists or America-haters, but by American allies as well. Trump deliberately seeks to mislead or to confuse Americans when he notes, rightly, that the executive powers he exercised were there, in the Oval Office, before he arrived there.
Donald Trump is entirely aware that Americans will not “change horses in mid- stream” or opt for another president if the United States is at war. One is therefore left with only the hope that the prospect of a negative November outcome will not also lead the U.S. into a disastrous military confrontation— on partly trumped-up charges.