Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrate: The Two Worst Trumpian Dangers May Have Passed

Most smart people agree that it will be a long, long slog to impeachment, even once Mueller exposes all the rot. We'll need to endure this for quite some time. Yet few have observed that we may have passed the two points of greatest danger:

1. We're Probably Not Marching Off to a Dog-Wagging War
Even before that ridiculous bombing display at a deserted Syrian airstrip showered Trump with positive feedback for seeming "presidential" and showing "strength", many of us worried he'd start a war to distract us from his corruption and incompetence. After the Syrian display boosted his approval ratings, I was shaking in my boots about this.

But while anything's possible, that ship appears to have sailed. Crippled by the investigations, and leading a terrified, lawyered-up, back-biting staff, it no longer feels in the cards. I'd imagine General Mattis would be more likely to punch him in the gut than oblige an order to provoke, say, North Korea.

To be sure, if catastrophe occurs, we're deeply imperiled by having this raging toddler in charge. But he doesn't seem to have the momentum, capital, or consensus to cause a catastrophe of his own at this point.

2. We're Not Turning Fascist
Trump has little respect for rule of law, democracy, separate branches, checks and balances, norms, etc. His autocratic tendencies are obvious at this point. But while he's definitely eroded our standing and our institutions, he lacks the smarts to dismantle democracy and replace it with fascism. You can't perpetrate such a thing while constantly shooting yourself in the foot. Trump can start as many Reichstag fires as he'd like, but we're not going to willingly grant him martial law powers as a result of some Trumped-up emergency. At this point, he's been reduced to more of a monstrous clown than a clownish monster.

A mere 165 days in, we seem to be beyond our two greatest worries. And while Congress remains spineless, and impeachment remains a very distant prospect, this administration is sufficiently beset and unravelled that while brazen resistance is still rare (everyone's afraid of a mean tweet), it has few fully willing pawns.

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