Donald Trump’s relentless discombobulation of distorted facts and lies is both an intuitive gesture and a calculated plan to thwart democracy and could ultimately mean a diminished if not a failed United States republic.
On one hand, this is just the way Trump is or how he has supposedly succeeded in the business world, which serves as a crucial indictment of neoliberalism and the so-called free market and, in general, capitalism. On the other hand, Trump has little understanding or, worse, a bit of an understanding of how democracy operates, and he sees it—in conscious and subconscious ways—as a threat to his massive ego. It gets in his way or it embarrasses him so it must be demeaned in Trump’s childish, bratty language.
What can we or should we expect from a man who has his last name hugely plastered on tacky, glittery skyscrapers? Trump the huckster is a crass brand, a cartoon, which he has brought to the White House. He will never give up his brand because it’s his identity and life sustenance. He savors it as much as his dwindling number of supporters do.
Trump intentionally creates a suffocating thicket of deflections in order to create the chaos under which he can operate above the law and the basic tenets of democracy. It’s a maddening process to keep up with his lies and antics on a daily basis, much less make sense of them or put them in meaningful patterns. Journalists at some of the country’s larger newspapers, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, have done some exhausting and excellent work on Trump’s daily barrage, but how long before it all becomes normalized?
What we all must do is find and expose the major connections in Trump’s disparate actions. I believe that the Trump regime’s obvious collusion with Russia in the recent presidential election, the bogus commission to study voter fraud on a state-by-state basis, which is really about actually suppressing the vote, and Trump’s verbal threats against people who want to hold him accountable, such as former FBI Director James Comey, show us at the very least that our Democratic structures are under a very real attack.
We can and should argue the meaning of fascism or neofascism and whether the Trump regime, with all its brazen lies and power plays, rises to that level in a definition sense, but there’s no denying we are facing a major governing crisis in this country at the presidential level.
(1) Can any halfway rational person now argue that the Trump campaign didn’t have contact with Russian operatives in the presidential election in order to gain information about Hillary Clinton? The fact that his son, Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were instrumental in that obvious collusion shows us that it’s certain Trump himself was fully aware of it. Trump wants to spin the collusion as just politics as usual, but to meet with people obviously connected to an adversarial government to sway an election is immoral, slimy and tantamount to treason. The treason allegation or its suggestion is not hyperbole. What does the Trump regime owe Russian President Vladimir Putin and what does that mean for American democracy?
What’s more, the meeting that Trump Jr. openly admitted to, which has been widely reported, is just one aspect of the Russian collusion morass. Recent reporting shows a German bank is expected to receive requests or even subpoenas for information from Robert Mueller, who is leading the Trump-Russian collusion. At issue is whether Deutsche Bank had guarantees from Russian operatives for outlandish loans to Trump and his family.
In any event, we do know Russia meddled in our election. We do know Trump family members met with people connected to Russia to get dirt on Clinton. We know Trump admires the authoritarian Putin. This is not normal.
(2) Let’s be clear that the unspoken aim of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, created by Trump, is to suppress voting in this country. That’s why more than 40 states have decline to cooperate fully with it by refusing to give the commission personal and non-public information about voters. If you recall, one of Trump’s most brazen lies at the beginning of his administration is that didn’t win the popular vote in the election because of illegal voting. Trump’s commission will surely try to rewrite the election results to assuage the president’s ego, but more importantly it will undoubtedly issue edicts to suppress the votes of minorities and the disenfranchised, who in general support Democratic candidates for office. States can fight the commission, but, again, it shows democracy is under attack by the Trump regime.
(3) Former FBI Director James Comey is a “nut job,” according to Trump. The president recently said he would have never nominated Jeff Sessions to become Attorney General, the nation’s highest legal officer, if he knew he was eventually going to recuse himself from the Russian-Trump collusion investigation. Trump, referring to himself in the third person, claims Sessions was “very unfair to the president.” More recently, Trump said “it’s a violation” if Mueller pursues financial information about Trump. A violation of what? Any negative article or news segment about Trump is deemed by him to be “fake news” yet he recently granted an interview to The New York Times. Virtually any criticism Trump makes about someone or some thing is really about himself or his actions, but to dwell on this obvious psychological component of Trump’s immature essence holds little value at this point.
What does hold value is to remember these personal attacks are part of the Trump regime’s assault on democracy and the more aggressive these attacks become, and I believe they will become more aggressive, the more it means that democracy is in peril in this country. His supporters enable him and the Republican leadership in this country enable him, but this is not normal behavior in any sense and the stakes are too high not to constantly remind ourselves of this fact.
Trump floods the field with tweetstorms and the outrageous, but it’s always good to step back from the theater of the absurd and make meaningful connections and not get lost in the day-to-day exhausting morass.