I remember reading a prediction that the Trump presidency will end in calamity last winter. The author was Richard Nixon’s Watergate lawyer John Dean, an ominous prophet if there ever was one.
Seven months later, I have to agree. Trump’s presidency cannot end with the election of another president. It’s just unimaginable to me. He either passes away in office, successfully overthrows the government, gets impeached, or resigns.
Most of these scenarios will be the result of a calamity. And regardless, you have to look at the continuing series of Trump scandals and mistakes as an unmitigated self-imposed disaster.
Trump is a madman. The body of evidence out there is impressive, much more since I last wrote about this six months ago. Any argument that President Trump would be different than candidate Trump has been completely smashed. He is the racist, lying egotistical despot we thought he was.
Unfortunately, we cannot escape this Administration. Trump continues to destroy the moral fiber of the United States before our eyes, and in the process, is decimating the country’s global standing with trade partners and enemies alike.
No reasonable argument can prevent him from teeing off if he is threatened or angered. That’s what makes me certain that he cannot end his presidency in the conventional manner.
End Game Scenario 1: Passes Away
What if Trump becomes so angry that he turns as red as a lobster and literally implodes, having a fatal heart attack or a stroke of some sort. In fact, it would have to occur while he is holding his smartphone, Twitter app open in mid-tweet.
Would this scenario really surprise you? It would not shock me to get a news alert about Trump suffering a fatal cardiac event. Sooner or later all of that KFC comes back to haunt you. The president does not look like a healthy man.
End Game Scenario 2: Coup
This seemed very likely when Trump first took office. He speaks like a fascist authoritarian and the Republicans continue to enable this Administration’s brutish approach. But as time passed this year, Trump weakened his position through outbursts. Now a coup d’ état seems less possible.
It would take military support to successfully overthrow the government. While Trump has several generals in his cabinet, they are Americans first. In fact, I feel encouraged by the military’s willingness to defy the President and chart its own path, such as denouncing the Charlottesville white supremacist protest and protecting transgender rights.
Still, one cannot help but feel that Trump has done his best to weaken and destroy the American Democracy. Through authoritarian edicts, nonstop attacks on the free press, and attempts to reward Russia for helping his campaign, Trump’s actions show a total disrespect for democratic norms.
The silver lining of the Trump Administration will be more checks and balances in our Democracy to protect the government from future unhinged presidents. The whole episode certainly makes me respect parliamentarian forms of government a lot more, just saying.
End Game Scenario 3: Impeachment
When will the GOP find its values? The party of Lincoln has almost completed its transformation into the party of Voldemort. The Republicans in power are hesitant to undermine their still un-passed legislative agenda. Charlottesville responses demonstrate that Republican leaders would rather hedge their words instead of acting on principles. This well remain true until the GOP base stops supporting Trump.
Perhaps Bannon’s “war” will create enough strife to rip the Republican rug from underneath Trump’s feet, but I sincerely doubt it. Would Robert Mueller’s investigation produce the reason for Trumpers to abandon their demagogue? It’s questionable. We don’t know how bad Mueller’s report will be. One thing is certain, it’s going to take a long time.
Impeachment is a political process. What Breitbart’s new focus on establishment Republicans and Mueller’s report are more likely to do is inspire more bi-partisan rebukes of Trump in the form of legislation that limits his powers.
One possible scenario: Trump’s base will abandon him if he engages in a war that costs tens of thousands of American lives. When our soldiers die abroad without reason, angst comes home to roost. Vietnam and most recently with the Iraq wars have proven this to be true.
Such a war is highly likely, as demonstrated by Trump’s insane bombastic game of chicken with North Korean despot Kim Jong-un. I could also see Trump starting a war for a different reason. War is a very common way to divert the American public’s attention.
When you are under investigation for obstructing justice and colluding with the Russians, and public criticism mounts for draconian reactionary social policies, well, yes, diversions look good. If there is one thing Trump loves, it’s a good red herring to throw at the public.
So yeah, impeachment. It could happen.
End Game Scenario 4: Resignation
Of all the possible endings to the Trump Administration, this is most likely. Trump quits before he is completely shamed. We have seen this over and over again. Whether it was disbanding his business councils this past week, yielding to Russian sanctions from Congress, or settling the ugly Trump University civil action lawsuit, Trump folds the cards when the writing is on the wall.
When his base abandons him, impeachment seems inevitable, or yes, the Trump business lines start tanking thanks to negative brand impact, that’s when Trump resigns. The bad news: Things have to devolve much further, to the point that Trump can no longer stand it.
He’ll manufacture some reason to quit, and declare his time in the White House a success. Most of us will hurl mud at him on Twitter for his final bogus presidential moment, but a collective sigh of relief will be heard across America.
President Pence will finish the term. America will remember what it’s like to work with a civil conservative (and all of the right wing policies he brings) as opposed to a demented tyrant. Trump’s story will live on in infamy for most, but as a hero to some (poor misguided souls).
I could be wrong, but any of those four scenarios seems much more likely than a normal four or eight year term presidency. After all, there is nothing normal about President Trump.
What do you think?
All of these photos were taken at Trump protests in Washington, DC over the past eight months.