Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Is The House Of Cards Beginning To Fall?


Things have certainly gotten interesting. Indictments have been handed down against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and news broke that George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy advisor to the trump campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with a foreigner who claimed to have high-level Russian connection. None of which comes as a surprise to -- well, anyone who hasn't been hiding under a rock for the past year. However, there are some very important points to remember.
  1. These are indictments, not convictions. Believe it or not, there are a fairly large number of people on both sides who don't understand the difference between the two. An indictment is, basically, the prosecution saying "We think ya done something bad, but we still have to prove it." A conviction, on the other hand, is the prosecution saying "We know ya done something bad, and we were able to prove it, and now you are a criminal."
  2. The trump administration may have some legal legs to stand on when it says that none of these were related to "campaign activities," since (according to the indictment) the charges against Manafort and Gates are related to activities that took place prior to Manafort's position as trump's campaign chairman.
  3. The Papapodoulos indictment reads for all the world like an overly ambitious low-level volunteer trying to ingratiate himself with the higher-ups.
That's not to say that trump is innocent of colluding with Russia, far from it. In actuality, these indictments don't really speak to trump's involvement at all ... but, given his demonstrated ethos of "victory at all costs," it is definitely not outside the realm of possibility.

Will this spell the beginning of the end for the trump administration? I doubt it, sadly. The problem is that, even though his overall approval ratings are at 38% in the latest poll, his approval was at 55% among white men without a college degree -- the core of his base constituency. This number has actually remained fairly constant since the inauguration.

It is this core constituency that is going to save him. It won't get him elected to a second term, though. He is going to be a one-term president, and for that we can be thankful.

"But what about impeachment?" many people are going to ask. A legitimate question. My thinking is that it won't happen for a couple of reasons.
  • Unless evidence can be found that trump himself was working with the Kremlin directly, he has plausible deniability. I have no doubt that he wouldn't hesitate to throw Don Jr., Ivanka, or Eric under the bus to save his own ample, wrinkled ass.
  • There are many on the left who would prefer that we remain with the ignorant baboon in office instead of kicking him out and replacing him with Mike Pence, someone who is both politically savvy (and thus able to get his agenda through) and an utter sociopath when it comes to things like women's issues or worker rights.
So it looks like we're in for a rather tense three years and change, folks. We can take some small comfort in the knowledge that the wheels are coming off the ramshackle junk heap that is the trump bus.

I gotta lie down.

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