I know this piece is dark and highly pessimistic but I find myself compelled to make this case with the hope that I am totally wrong.
It is not to be taken as a political challenge or attack, but as a warning. I was raised in the 1930ies and the early 1940ies and I have seen this movie before.
Despite all assertions that Donald Trump was not politically savvy or skilled, he is in the process of pulling off the most brilliant political coup in our nation’s history and changing our mode of governance forever.
Donald Trump is cleverly positioning himself to be president for life.
He has managed to take advantage of our system to staff our political mechanism with total loyalists that will support his every move.
As a businessman Trump has always run a top down organization and he has already used his favorite big stick, “you are fired” to punish his perceived disloyalists and to intimidate all who surround him.
He has appointed to the lower federal courts 110 new conservative judges who will not interfere with his policies like the current pesky negative rulings and injunctions he has had to endure in the first two years of his administration.
He has further managed to pack the Supreme Court with a majority of conservative judges and before his term expires there may be one or more additional replacements.
He has successfully intimidated the Republican congressmen especially in the senate with the vicious threat to “primary” those who oppose him.
With the help of his loyal servant Mitch McConnell he reduced congress to a milquetoast babbling debating society who neither can nor will pass any meaningful legislation this term. He is acclimating the public to the concept that all laws now come from the executive branch through presidential executive orders and fiats such as diverting military funds to build the wall or weaponizing tariffs.
His greatest achievement may have been the installation of Bob Barr as attorney general who is willing to fulfill his role as a totally trustworthy advocate for the president. This move has allowed him to emasculate the painstakingly developed Mueller report and to totally frustrate and disarm the Democratic controlled House of Representatives investigations by just refusing to respond to demands for additional information and preventing witnesses from appearing even under the house subpoena power. If the Justice Department is complicit in these congressional rebuffs who will enforce the legal demands since Justice is the agency with the power to arrest and bring to justice all of these recalcitrants?
He has managed all of this with enormous contributions from those big corporations and wealthy individuals who have benefited from massive tax cuts and deregulation.
He has continued to maintain his base who loves his hard hitting knee jerk responses particularly to immigration and ethnic issues and give him complete credit for our booming economy and low unemployment.
Meanwhile a totally splintered Democratic party is running a primary campaign offering a gaggle of shiny objects to excite the democratic base but have less relevance when it comes to picking a candidate to beat Trump.
There is much hue and cry about impeachment. Impeaching president trump would be a devastating mistake for the Democrats.
In the first place if they bring articles of impeachment the hearing will be held in the Senate with Chief Justice Roberts presiding. I have no doubt that Donald Trump will not appear at the hearing and will gleefully play tweets from the oval office for the Democrats to dance to while again he sticks his finger in their eye.
I don’t think that there is any legal requirement that he appear to defend himself and he can take great comfort knowing that the Republican controlled senate can’t muster a 2/3 majority to convict him. Now the Democrats have fired all of their dry powder and will be made to appear as fools once again.
The election process will be a circus. Once the Democrats have chosen a candidate unbelievable amounts of dark money from the pacts will attempt to destroy the Democratic nominee.
Rumors will be started that there is a conspiracy against Trump to rig the ballot boxes and allow millions of ineligible voters, mostly illegal immigrants, to vote. He may also position militia members or other right wing poll watchers at the polls ostensibly to make sure the voting process is not corrupted but in fact having the effect of discouraging opposition voting especially among the minorities.
I would be very surprised if Trump or his handlers will let him participate in a debate. In his first campaign he had nothing to lose; now the entire debate would be focused on his shocking first term record.
Or, he may agree to a debate, show up and then throw a tantrum about the moderator, the crowd of onlookers or even the way the lectern is positioned, and storm out leaving the Democratic candidate standing alone jilted at the altar.
It is also possible he will start a war with some perceived enemy so that he could declare that no change in power should occur because he is a “wartime president”.
As soon as the votes begin to be counted, if there is a sense that he is losing, a huge campaign declaring voter and ballot fraud will begin.
If he loses the vote he will immediately challenge every vote in the swing states and block the election certification for months if not for years and if necessary will drag it through the courts ad nausem.
Once the election is over no matter the result Trump will move to reinforce his total power. He will purge the FBI and CIA and fire all but Trump loyalists. Ditto for military brass most of whom are already Trump loyalists. He might further establish a special military squad to suppress political enemies who he suspects may be guilty of sedition and treason.
He may well carry out the “lock her up” mantra of his base to arrest and incarcerate not only Hillary Clinton but despised political opponents such as Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer “et all” along with news personalities who have reported “fake news”. They might be sent to Guantanamo Bay as a gulag for political retraining.
He will move to revoke licenses for perceived left wing broadcast networks such as CBS and MSNBC leaving FOX news as our only major tv news channel.
He will have his mega-rich supporters buy up the major liberal news print out fits such as the Washington post and the New York Times, who are currently financially challenged, in order to squelch opposition reporting and opinion just as Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas bought the Las Vegas Review Journal to squelch the negative coverage he and his fellow travelers were receiving.
Donald Trump has skillfully painted the majority Democratic House of Representatives into a corner by prohibiting witnesses from appearing at congressional hearings and withholding requested documents from the Muller investigation from being submitted to congressional investigative committees.
Ironically he has also painted himself into a corner that does not allow him under any circumstance to give up the presidency and become Citizen Donald Trump again unless he is succeeded by a family member like the Romanoffs or “Papa Doc Duvalier” of Haiti.
As a private citizen he would be besieged by an avalanche of civil and criminal legal actions which, whether justified or not, result in his bankruptcy and or incarceration. He knows he cannot take that risk and therefore will take any action necessary including the suspension of the constitution to remain in office. With the Senate, the Justice Department, the military and the courts in his camp who will remove him?
Before you dismiss all of this as fantasy remember that Donald Trump, for better or for worse, has taken more unprecedented actions in this office than all the previous presidents in history.
He has managed to frame the debate giving his beloved followers a binary choice as to whether they want to be governed by an extremely efficient and powerful white Christian fascist oligarchy or be governed by a minority dominated socialist government.
This is no longer an issue of win or lose among the parties.
Our constitutional form of democracy hangs by a thread and it will depend on the good will of both conservatives and liberals to save us.