The presidency is involved in incapacity and tragedy. So why arent his opponents presenting a hopeful alternative? says Guardian editor-at-large Gary Younge
Even by Donald Trump’s standards, Tuesday was remarkable. First came the tweet that he had fired his secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Then a state department spokesman issued the following statement claiming Tillerson was ” unaware of the above reasons” for his removal, and had heard about it on Twitter. A few hours later the spokesman had been fired extremely. Meanwhile the lawyer of porn performer Stephanie Clifford( stage name: Stormy Daniels ), who had reportedly had an affair with Trump, warned the country to” buckle up “ as Clifford sought to remove herself from her non-disclosure agreement so she could” publish any fabrics, such as textbook contents, photos and/ or videos relating to the president that she may have in her control “. Back in Washington, the Trump team announced it would be hiring John McEntee, Trump’s former personal assistant, as a senior consultant for safarus activities. The epoch before, McEntee had been escorted from the White House because he is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes.
While all this was going on, voters in south-west Pennsylvania’s 18 th region came to the polls in a byelection, in a district Republicans have held for the past 15 years. It was so safe that Democrat didn’t even bother contesting the last two referendums. Trump trounced Hillary Clinton there by about 20 items. It should have been a shoo-in for the Republican. By the conclusion of its nighttime Democrats were celebrating a wafer-thin win, though this may hitherto be challenged.
Witnessing Trump’s presidency unravel so spectacularly causes a perverse exuberance. The venality is so baroque, the vulgarity so gaudy, the inconsistencies so stark, the incapacity so epic and the lies so brazen, it leaves you speechless. His pride is without guile and the scandals that involve him without end. Almost everything he says and does has been publicly belied, by himself, frequently on Twitter. On Tuesday he said of Tillerson’s departure:” Rex and I have been talking about this a long time … We were not really recalling the same “.
On 1 December he tweeted:” The media has been supposing that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon- FAKE Information! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on particular subjects,( I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again !” It’s amazing to think he ever imagined he could get away with it. And with each test at the ballot box it seems he can’t. Republicans have been mashed in elections around the country. Some wins, like that of the alleged paedophile Roy Moore in Alabama, are unlikely to be repeated; others, like the gains across Virginia in November, expres more sustained progress. There has been a relatively consistent sway of about 15 drawn attention to Democrat in regime and congressional races that has seen them take over 40 benches from Republican, including in commonwealths such as Florida and Wisconsin where Clinton lost in 2016. Midterm elections are almost never good for the two parties in the White House. On current trends, this November will be a disasterfor Republicans.
And yet, even as voters reject him and he becomes increasingly isolated in his own fetid lair, the cloud that glowers over this moment remains far better imposing than any silver lining. The committee is two main reasons why progressives should refrain from revelry.
First of all, things are going to get worse before they get better. Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil, was a disastrous secretary on the part of states. Ineffectual abroad, it soon became clear that he spoke with treasured little power. As he attempted to calm down frictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Trump sided publicly with Saudi Arabia; when he tried to kick-start negotiations with North koreans, Trump tweeted that he was ” squandering his time “. It seems the place where Tillerson had most impact was in his own department where, under his watch, morale has plummeted and there has been an exodus of ability and knowledge.
And yet the information was, reportedly, Tillerson who helped keep the US in the Iran nuclear cope and the Paris climate accord. Extreme as the final year of American foreign policy has been, ostensibly Trump was being reined in. That restraint has proceeded. Tillerson’s replacement, CIA director Mike Pompeo, is an Islamophobic climate-change denier who opposes the deal with Iran and has shaped nods towards regime altered in North Korea.” With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process ,” said Trump. That is not supporting. Changing Pompeo at the CIA is Gina Haspel, who supervised a CIA torture site in Thailand where detainees were interrogated. The gossip used to be that there were advocates of torture in the West Wing. Now its practitioners are in office.
But the problem is not simply that things will get worse. It’s that it’s not at all obvious that, electorally at least, there’s a clear gumption of what “better” would look like, beyond getting rid of Trump. Politically the country is clearly shifting leftwards. The nationwide walkouts of schoolchildren against gun brutality on Wednesday, the women’s processions and teachers’ impress, all recommend a swelling fight to the Trump agenda. Pennsylvania is just the most recent developments evidence that this has had an electoral impact.
But while the Democrats are happy to take the acquires, they have not yet processed why they lost. They are beneficiaries of the resentment and temper. But there is little evidence that they are altering with it, let alone cohering or leading it.
Conor Lamb’s victory in Pennsylvania was a progressive advance insofar as it was a setback for Trump. That’s great as far as it travels, but it doesn’t proceed practically far enough. He was introduced at one rally as a” God-fearing, union-supporting, gun-owning, job-protecting, pension-defending, social-security-believing, healthcare-greeting, sending-drug-dealers-to-jail Democrat “. That, arguably, is what you have to be to get elected in south-west Pennsylvania. But nationally Democrat requirement a more hopeful message with a broader appeal.
They haven’t got one. On Wednesday the Senate passed a Republican invoice that would add the most comprehensive rollback in banking regulation since the financial crisis, with substantial Democrat support. One would have assumed, during a period of growing inequality and stopping social mobility, that resisting “it wouldve been” obvious if you wanted to win back those disenchanted rust-belt voters in Michigan and Wisconsin who stood at home or backed Trump. Senate Democrat are instead divided, apparently baffled over whether they should exponent for their base or the banks.
The problem with Democrat appearing on Donald Trump’s presidency as a slow-motion gondola clang is the fact that it confess the objective is spectators at a few moments when they should be in the “drivers seat”- and that, when we come to inspect the wreckage, this is gonna be many innocent victims.
* Gary Younge is editor-at-large for the Guardian