Boy, wouldn’t it be great to get that mentally unstable thug out of the Oval Office? That’s putting it undiplomatically, I know, but the time has passed for treating the presidency of Donald Trump as anything less than a freaky aberration of our democratic norms.
Thank you, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for dispensing with all delicacy and stating that Trump has put our institutions under assault “internally,” as well as “externally.”
Impeachment is the constitutionally sanctioned way to get rid of him, but that job would fall on the shoulders of a Republican-controlled Congress. Despite polls showing a collapse in the general public’s support for Trump, Republican backing for the president remains high. Thus, such a bold move seems unlikely for now.
So what are Democrats, independents, never-Trump Republicans and no-longer-Trump Republicans to do? Wait until Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, for the midterm elections and hope they deliver a Democratic House majority.
As for congressional Republicans, many now find themselves in a basement elevator shaft looking up at the freight platform barreling down. Do they not get re-elected because they offended the Trump base – or do they not get re-elected because their leadership has appalled most everyone else?
There is a third option: doing what’s right for the country and letting the chips fall. If patriotic Republicans lost, they would lose with honor, for history will not treat the Trump era kindly.
Of course, 18 months seems a long wait for those seeing a nation in peril. This is a president engaged in abuse of power, likely obstruction of justice and possible collusion with foreign adversaries. On a more pedestrian level, brazen lies, corrupt self-dealing and mob-inspired threats against public servants show the rot spreading daily from the fish’s head. What does one do in the meantime?
Draw hope from the reality that much of the toxic agenda is making little headway in the chaos. We always knew the Trump administration would be a circus, but actually, it’s a circus overshadowed by the sideshow.
Meanwhile, many of the campaign promises Trump is breaking needed breaking. Trump has done a U-turn on his vow to treat NATO as “obsolete.” He’s backed off on labeling China a currency manipulator (which it used to be but is no longer). The Export-Import Bank lives, and so, probably, will NAFTA. Some Trump-issued threats are outrageous, such as his telling fired FBI Director James Comey that their conversations may have been recorded. Some are clown-like, such as the tweet that he might cancel the White House press briefings.
For all the attention and curiosity showered on the Trump base, its electoral power has been greatly exaggerated. Even in their full flower last November, Trump voters failed to muster a majority. (Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes. Have you heard?)
The Electoral College will not be operative in the midterm elections. Therefore, it will be unable to magically award victory to politicians receiving fewer votes than their rivals.
Those hungry for the cleansing action of an impeachment may get their wish, eventually. True, Senate Republicans would probably have enough votes to stop the removal of Trump, but the impeachment process would freeze the agenda for several more months. And perhaps some senatorial Republicans will come over to save themselves and the nation.
Hang in there, American patriots. A president consumed by his own craziness will probably lack the organizational ability to permanently disable the democracy.
Trump may be delivering a lot of pain, but one hopes that like a kidney stone, he, too, shall pass.
Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist and member of the editorial board of the Providence Journal in Providence, R.I. © 2017 The Providence Journal Co. Creators Syndicate Inc. Follow her on Twitter @fromaharrop.