Note to media: please stop saying you "can't imagine" Trump would actually fire the special prosecutor. Of course you can imagine it.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) June 13, 2017
IT WAS NEVER ABOUT winning. It was always about laundering dirty Russian rubles, taking advantage of the opaque, byzantine, and big-money nature of the corrupt American campaign finance system, while also lining the coffers of Donald J. Trump—a partnership of enormous mutual benefit.
Sure, the benefits of a Trump Administration to Vladimir Putin are gargantuan, everything from the erosion of Western democracy to his grinning jackals gaining access to the Oval Office. But Make America Great Again was a Mafia money-laundering operation, simple and plain. That Moscow’s man is now in the Oval Office is just icing on the Kremlin’s kekc.
This sage statement sums it up: “A lot of Trump’s actions are easier to understand if you assume he’s guilty rather than stupid.”
Why is all of this so hard for us to imagine?
Trump exists to enrich himself. He knows no other way. He’s a billionaire who squeezed his own son’s children’s cancer charity for a few extra kopecks, even though he doesn’t need the money. Why would a piece of shit like that not lift a few measly sanctions for a far loftier sum?
A vast segment of the population has no difficulty believing that Hillary Clinton was a key figure in a ring of pedophiles headquartered in the basement of a DC pizzeria that doesn’t have a basement, and yet cannot grasp the well-documented fact that the Trumps are a family of grifters.
Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Trump: what the Big Four have in common is greed. Years from now, when the convictions are in, when David Fahrenthold is on the All the Kremlin’s Men book tour, it will be fascinating to total up all the money that changed hands in Putin-a-lago, to see just how big, or rather how little, the price tag was on the sale of American democracy.
This is a failure of imagination.
A failure by the politicians, especially the ones running against Trump in the primaries, and the ones who now bow to him in Congress, to see him for who he really is.
A failure by the media, who continue to breathlessly cover Ivanka and Melania as if their beauty inures them from the family venality, while ignoring the bigger picture.
A failure by all of us, who could not conceive of an act of treason so egregious as the one perpetrated by Trump and his cronies.
The “golden shower” tape won’t bring him down. Neither will a video of Trump engaging in sexual activity with underaged Russian prostitutes. His supporters condoned his history of sexual assault. The Mike Cernovichs of the world will be all, “Look at how hot those girls are!” and their respect for Trump will only increase.
Trump cares about the sex tapes not because of the perverse activities on display, but rather because they will confirm what Graydon Carter long ago implied: that short fingers are indicative of other below-average-sized anatomical appendages.
Hitler had a tiny penis, too.
What will bring him down is the scope of his actual crimes. His conflicts of interest enriching him while the rest of us suffer under his ruthless policies. His disgraceful quid pro quo with Putin, and his ham-fisted attempts to conceal it.
He sold out the office for money. He dismantled the social safety net, or is trying to, for cash. There’s no larger purpose here, just pure unadulterated greed.
The Big Four, along with his three deplorable children, profit with him. The other collaborators got involved at some point, maybe for patriotic reasons initially, and now find themselves caught in a trap, they can’t get out, because they’re all colludin’ baby.
A fringe bigot from Alabama latches himself onto the Trump Train, because why not, maybe the guy will let him be attorney general and give him free reign to complete his life’s work of shitting on POC, and the next thing he knows, he’s hobnobbing with Russian spies, he’s having conversations about sanctions being lifted, he’s begging off questions from uppity Kamala Harris because they make him clutch-my-pearls nervous.
Putin has kompromat on all of them to varying degrees. Devin Nunes? Check. Paul Ryan? Check. Mitch McConnell? Check. When the dust settles and the smoke clears from Hurricane Mueller, all that will remain of the Trump administration will be Mad Dog Mattis and a box of remaindered copies of The Art of the Deal.
Campaign finance is dull as dirt, but that’s where the true crimes were committed.
This is a failure of imagination.
A failure by the “alt-left,” epitomized by purity-insisters like Susan Sarandon, who decreed that Trump was preferable to Hillary Clinton, and the self-righteous Bernie Bros.
A failure by anyone who voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or anyone who stayed home on November 8 because they didn’t like either candidate.
A failure by those who voted for Trump, who believed, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he was a great businessman, a smart leader, a drainer of swamps, a killer of DC corruption, all of the noise, none of it true, none of it squaring with everything we knew about the guy going in, but hey, he looks like an alpha male on TV and he’s kind of funny and Hillary is a c-word, so…
We are this close from devolving into a Fascist dictatorship. How close? Trump-firing-Mueller-and-the-GOP-allowing-it close.
This is a failure of imagination.
A failure by Obama, who sat on his hands for a year and did nothing while Putin and the GOP laid waste to the American experiment.
He chilled and let McConnell block Merrick Garland, and we’re stuck with the Draconian Gorsuch for the next 40 years. He did this because he thought Hillary would prevail.
He did not speak out against the Russian attacks on the election. He did not alert us to the severity of the problem. He was afraid that doing so would be interpreted as a political move. He didn’t want to appear partisan. He held his tongue because he thought Hillary would prevail.
He did not speak out against Trump forcefully enough. He did not fight fire with fire. They went low, and Obama went high…so high, people stopped paying attention. He held his tongue because he thought Hillary would prevail.
He did not investigate the election, even though the results were clearly contaminated by Russian interference. He wanted to ensure a good election. He failed.
He did not establish a special counsel in July, or November, or in January, on his way out the door, ffs. This last can’t even be blamed on thinking Hillary would win, because Hillary had already lost. She lost the same way the US basketball team lost the gold medal in the 1972 Olympics, because the Russians cheated, but she still lost.
He has been achingly silent since. It is unseemly to criticize, after all. Unbecoming a former president (note: Vicente Fox did not get this memo). He bows to this quaint convention, as if Trump is Reagan to his Carter, Obama to his Bush. As if this were normal.
This is not normal.
Obama wanted to last eight years without scandal. And so he did. But so what? The worst threat to our republic since 1860 is orders of magnitude worse than if, say, we’d caught him in bed with Scar-Jo.
Fake news is a thing because we allow it to be. We seek out narratives we want to believe, because they confirm our own half-baked biases.
This happens on the left as well as the right.
Bernie Sanders sells snake oil, same as Trump. We just like his brand of snake oil better.
We need to turn off the TV and read. Hard news and op-eds, on all sides, which respectable outfits do their best to present. It’s not that difficult, if one has an internet connection, to know which way the wind blows.
We would rather tear it all down than allow the accomplishments of a black man to stand.
We would rather tear it all down than let a brilliant, overqualified woman run the country.
This will keep happening until the voting system is repaired. The Electoral College abolished. Congressional districts un-gerrymandered. Senate seats based on population to some extent. Paper ballots everywhere, for reliable recounts.
It’s not hard. It’s also not sexy. And none of the politicians want to make the changes necessary. When Trump goes down, if we can forestall our descent into autocracy, this must be the #1 agenda item.
If there were only paper ballots and printed newspapers, and the KGB 1secretly broke into the polling places and newsrooms and physically altered ballots, physically changed layouts to promote wrong counts and fake news, if it were physical and not virtual, would we not take it more seriously?
What happened is no different.
If someone hacks into your online bank and transfers money to a fishy Cypriot bank, your money is gone, sure as if the KGB broke into your house and stole bricks of cash from under your mattress.
Failure of the imagination.
This is a failure of the imagination.
We cannot process the fact that the President of the United States is a criminal, a lesser Russian mob boss.
The sooner we can all collectively do so, the sooner this national nightmare will be over.
- Yeah, I know it’s called the FSB now, but KGB has more impact here ↩