Norms. Precedent. The rule of law. Tradition. Where have we heard these terms before? In the era of Donald Trump, practically every day. And it’s not because he adheres to any of them. Quite the opposite unfortunately. The sitting president of the United States has continually and habitually ignored any semblance of tradition. He’s circumvented the rule of law, spit in the face of precedent, and laughed openly at the concept of behaving according to the constitutional norms that has served our democracy quite well for nearly 242 years. Whether it’s ordering the justice department to investigate the investigation he is a subject of, denigrating the free press on a daily basis, meddling in the business of a private corporation out of sheer spite, bullying public figures on Twitter, calling for the jailing of political rivals, or blatantly flaunting the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, this president is a clear and present danger to the United States of America. Yet, tragically, the Republican majority in Congress refuses to hold this president accountable. As Trump continues to thumb his nose at the Constitution, his party genuflects. They defer. They obfuscate. They ignore. While Trump gaslights our democracy, the leadership is nowhere to be found. We’re under attack. Not by a foreign adversary. Not by terrorists. Not by bombs. Not by chemical weapons. No, we’re under attack by the current president of the United States. Our constitution is at risk. Our democracy hangs in the balance.
His base is still with him
Many on the right side of the political aisle will surely pounce on such a statement; that our democracy is under attack from the president of the United States. In fact, stirring up Washington D.C was always a main reason given for why many people voted for Donald Trump in the first place. ‘Drain the swamp!’ he would say at the rallies. However, even the most hardened Trump supporter can’t possibly think his conduct in office has been anything besides dangerous and reckless. Can they? The answer of course is yes. Judging from recent opinion polls Trump’s standing among his base of supporters is steady, maybe even slightly higher than in previous months. In addition, one only has to observe his supporters on Twitter and Facebook to truly gauge the intensity of that support. How can this be possible? Is this really the kind of ‘stirring’ up they signed up for? If it is, we are in deep trouble. We know his support hovers around 40% in most polls and while dismal by historical standards, we’re still talking about millions upon millions of Americans who approve of Trump’s job performance. Sadly, those 40% are unreachable. Until now, many of the talking heads have wondered what it would take for his supporters to start losing faith. Trump’s infamous quote about shooting someone on fifth ave and still retaining that support rings true to this day. So even while our democracy hangs in the balance, we must concentrate on the other 60% of Americans who aren’t blindly allegiant to Trump. We must speak truth to power. We must not only hold Trump accountable, but the complicit sycophants in Congress as well. Only by voting in large numbers is any of this going to change.
Recent revelations are the tip of the iceberg
So while we all wait for Special Counsel Mueller to issue his report at some point, the scandals just keep on coming. Every day seems bring new allegations from which Mueller is clearly within his purview to investigate. But it shouldn’t have to be this way. If we had a Congress willing to hold Trump accountable, we would have already had hearings scheduled on two separate issues we have just learned about. First, we learn that during recent trade negotiations with China, this president offered to do something about jobs lost by Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. This is the company that our government had put sanctions on due to security concerns over their phones. Almost simultaneously we also learn that China agreed to provide financing for a Trump Organization project in Indonesia. Is this not a five alarm fire alert? Do we not see the real possibility of a quid pro quo here? Obviously this Congress does not. Second, we find out that Trump has spoken to the Postmaster General, urging her to raise postal rates on Amazon. Why would he do such a thing? Obviously, to embarrass and stick it to none other than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who happens to own the Washington Post, a news organization that has been doing Pulitzer Prize winning journalism on all of the misdeeds of this administration. Again, no connection? Just a coincidence? Of course not. We know whats going on here. When a sitting president of the United States attacks a private corporation simply because that corporation’s CEO owns a newspaper that holds him accountable, we have entered uncharted territory. How can this not be the red line?
Where do we go from here?
We now have enough evidence over the last 15 months to know that this Congress will not hold this president accountable. Even while he attacks the very institutions that have been the hallmark of our democracy for the past 242 years, this Congress has lost all credibility. We can no longer count on them to protect the country from an autocratic, if not dictatorial president of the United States. The only solution is to make sure that come this November, we vote in large numbers… large enough numbers to remove the current party in charge from power. The noise from this president will be deafening. The lies, misleading statements, and outright disregard for the rule of law will not subside. He may fire the Assistant Attorney General. He may even try to fire Mr. Mueller. The Constitutional crisis is here already. Yes, we really are under attack. No need for a call to arms. It’s not that kind of attack. Only by exercising the right given to all citizens of the United States of America, the right to vote, can we defeat what clearly is an attempt to undermine what has been the most successful democracy in the history of the world. We’ve never achieved the perfect union our founders spoke so eloquently about. But it’s not for a lack of trying. The union is being threatened again. Only this time it’s from within.