Donald Trump is toxic to the Republic. The Republic has been dying for decades now. Americans had progressive improvements to their standard of living taken away from them beginning in 1973. Bush v. Gore (2000) dealt an enormous blow to our electoral system, and manipulated the course of US history.
But Trump seems to have taken the United States on an accellerated path to ruin.
Here's some quick bar napkin math. In 9 months we have lost an FBI director, the White House Chief of Staff, a cabinet member, and we've reached a point where the Senate is not going to let any bills reach the president's desk. Add to that a disastrous travel ban, a threat of a military transgender ban (that we'll probably never hear about again), repeated threats of a nuclear strike on North Korea, and a promise to build a wall that will never be funded.
An aside about the Republicans in Congress. The GOP is not a normal political party. Apparently they care about their own power and the transfer of as much wealth as possible to their political contributors. I find among them precious little interest in the welfare of this nation. In its current incarnation, that party is entirely unfit to govern the United States.
On July 15, chaos began to manifest in plain view. Trump gave an incredible speech at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree. In any other administration, it would be a shocking turning point. The Secretary of State allegedly mulled his resignation over that speech. In Trump's administration, it was just another bad day at the office before things really got chaotic the following week, with the unexplained, dramatic ouster of Sean Spicer and Reince Preibus.
Then, the last 8 weeks, we had the white nationalist invasion of Charlottesville (and the laying of blame on those who tried to defend the city), the disbandment of two presidential councils, word that the Department of State is in shambles, and a dramatic, historic 15 minutes on August 15 which will likely lead to European leaders asking Trump to never visit their nations as president again (Merkel and May are on the verge of just that). That unhinged press conference should have destroyed him. But no. He wasn't done.
Then came the end of summer. Hurricane Irma ripped through the US Virgin Islands and put the Florida Keys in a pool of sewage. And then, barely two weeks later, Hurricane Maria tore through Vieques, Culebra, and Puerto Rico. But Trump paid no attention to that storm in its first four days. He instead attacked black professional athletes in the NBA and NFL. He didn't make rescue and recovery in Puerto Rico a priority until he saw the situation on television. That's another thing that historians will have to track, if there's a nation left after he and Pence are gone. Trump gets most of his information from US cable news. And when the news about him becomes sour, he holds a campaign rally. One time he told an adoring crowd of white people that he would be good to black Americans. That went down well.
The lost weekend while Puerto Ricans died should have destroyed Trump. But no. His administration cannot be killed. It just limps along. Donald Trump has done something that no president has done since Nixon. He was worn down national morale. But he has also done something Nixon and Reagan wouldn't dream of doing. He has energized the white nationalist fringe, who now march unmasked -at least for a little while. He is ruining the classic, optimistic American mood that has kept us going despite so many aspects of American life worsening since 1973. The first 9 months have brought a white house in turmoil. In 9 more months, we could have a flaming constitutional crisis. This is not sustainable.
Tomorrow, Donald Trump goes to Puerto Rico to view recovery efforts. I hope the boos are constant and loud. He might not hear them. But the news media will. As we have seen, Trump has very poor communication skills to say the least. When he ad libs, disaster strikes.
Trump has his supporters. A solid 35% of American adults fully support him. He is their racial antidote for 8 years of Obama. Millions of Americans are perfectly content to accept a dictatorial right winger, who'll promise them safety and a healthy economy in a white supremacist, nationalist context. As for Congress, and especially the House of Representatives, I wouldn't want to put much faith in their saving us from Beloved Leader Trump. That leaves a free press and and an aroused citizenry. Maybe that'll be enough.
Uncle Tim contributed to this post.