Trump’s alleged extra-curricular (and extra-marital) activities are inspiring a fair amount of glee on the left. Twitter is alive with golden shower jokes because, let’s face it, this stuff is comedy gold.
But it’s also deadly serious. We have a President Elect who is deeply compromised. In fact, that we are focusing on the salacious details of Mr. Trump’s deviant sexual proclivities and not on Russia’s attempts to blackmail our soon to be Commander-in-Chief shows the degree to which we have accepted Russian interference as the new normal. There seems to be alarmingly little discussion of the portions of the report that indicate that Trump (or those in his inner circle) colluded with Russia in the hacking and that they also knew about the dossier.
If you need me to break this down in Trump size words, here goes: This is bad.
But something good might yet come out of it. This may well be a golden opportunity. The revelations that Donald Trump is a sexual deviant under the control of a Vladimir Putin may provide cover for Republicans to rid themselves of this cancer on our body politic.
The alliance between Trump and the Republican party was always shaky. They never really trusted him as one of their own, but neither could they disavow him. He was popular with their base, daring to loudly shout what they had whispered in code. Their base loved it, and they could not denounce him.
But now, having ridden to power on the Trump train, they are saddled with (at least) two horrific burdens.
The first is that, having won, they must now govern. Trump is asking them to deliver on his promises and Paul Ryan has decided to add his unpopular wish list to the agenda as well. Republicans are learning that governing is harder than obstructing . Already you see fissures in the coalition. Faced with the possibility of throwing their constituents off of insurance, some Republican senators are breaking with the party line and demanding a plan for replacement before they repeal ACA. Not all Senators are doing this. Not even a majority. But enough to derail Trump’s plan.
The second burden the Republicans must carry is Donald Trump himself. At the moment, Donald Trump has an unprecedented record low approval rating of 37%. The more Americans see of him, the lower that number will fall. His transition is beset by scandal. The outrageous character of the campaign feels (even more) unseemly in its new role of responsibility. I think you will begin to see Republican lawmakers distance themselves from Trump. They will jump off the sinking SS Titanic like the vermin that they are- political animals who know when to abandon ship.
And nothing will give them cover for their betrayal like the Russian hacking scandal and Donald’s unusual relationship with women’s bodily functions.
If Republicans time it right, they can claim that the coming disaster is not theirs but Trump’s alone. They can denounce the moral failings of Trump and attempt to transform him into some kind of Bill Clinton clone. Recognizing the unpopularity of their leader, Republicans will feel free to impeach Trump and install their conservative savior, Mike Pence, into the White House.
A President Pence is nothing great either. In fact, it would be quite bad. But Pence is not an existential threat to the United States. He will not tweet us into a nuclear war, nor will he allow himself to be blackmailed by Russia. He is an ideologue and a fundamentalist. But he is not mentally unstable. He is not a traitor. (I am aware of how low the bar has been set that this is silver lining of our golden shower story)
In fact, it is the very steady boring nature of Mike Pence that will not only stay the Republic’s execution (as handed down on November 8th), but also gravely injure the Republican Party. “Establishment” Republicans and “Christian Conservatives” may breathe a sigh of relief to be rid of Trump, but his rabid base of deplorables will not be easily brought into the fold.
In Donald Trump, they found the charismatic prophet of their rage. Mike Pence can be called many things, but charismatic is not one of them. With any luck, what will follow is a civil war within the Republican party. (I can only hope those fights will be as bitter as the fights between Bernie Bros and HRC supporters on Twitter)
Thus, these revelations may actually be a golden opportunity for Democrats and the country as a whole. It may not happen immediately, but I think it’s coming. And man, that will be a golden moment.