What If – Trump And Others Are Guilty?

David Rothkopf asked a good question on Twitter:

He provides a short thread of subsidiary questions, but I’d like to take a different approach.

The investigations will take time. Many things can happen between now and when the results come out. The bottom line is what the Russians did to influence the election results, how much of an effect they had, and who in the administration was involved.

An intelligence community assessment firmly states that the Russians interfered, through both propaganda means like the theft and release of emails and breaching some election systems. We have barely had a chance to assimilate this because of Donald Trump’s constant uproar. It’s hard to concentrate when the President is threatening nuclear war and encouraging white supremacists.

It is becoming possible that Trump will be removed earlier, although it remains hard to believe that this Republican Congress would do that.

We need to think about how we will react and what actions need to be taken if the congressional and special prosecutor investigations prove the worse scenarios to be true. In this post, I will describe three scenarios.

From what we know now, we must take steps to harden our election systems against hacking. That is true for all scenarios. The effort must not be used to disenfranchise voters; the problems are not in voter fraud, but rather the machines and electronic systems. Unfortunately, even this measure may be difficult in our current political environment.

The simplest outcome is that Trump and his children are accused of cooperation with Russia to influence the election or criminal financial dealing. If this happens before the 2018 elections, the Republican Congress will be the appropriate body to deal with it. Impeachment does not require criminal acts; it is a political judgment. If the information shows that the election was undermined and that people associated with Trump aided the undermining, the House should consider impeachment. It is then up to the Senate to convict.

Given the willingness of the Republican leadership to excuse Trump’s gross incompetence, it is not clear that they will consider impeachment. The Democratic leadership can push for impeachment. Public demonstrations, perhaps on the scale of the Women’s March in January, can influence both parties.

A Senate conviction under this scenario would result in Mike Pence assuming the presidency. He would appoint a Vice President.

Complicating all three scenarios would be definitive evidence that Russian meddling had thrown the election to Trump. We have no constitutional process for dealing with this.

The second scenario is that In addition to Trump and his family, most of his campaign staff, including Pence, are involved in election manipulation and/or financial fraud

The President and Vice President have never been replaced simultaneously. Spiro Agnew resigned from the Vice Presidency because of kickbacks from the Maryland construction industry before Nixon resigned. It has been argued that the appointment of Gerald Ford as Vice President in his place made it more palatable for Congress to consider impeaching Richard Nixon as a result of the Watergate scandal.

The order of succession after Pence is

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan
  • President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
  • Labor Secretary Alex Acosta
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson
  • Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (would not be eligible because not a natural born US citizen)
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
  • Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin
  • Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Elaine Duke is Acting; don’t know if she’s eligible

Several people on this list, most notably Jeff Sessions, could be implicated. Wilbur Ross was vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, which has Russian connections.

The last scenario is that Republican members of Congress are implicated in dealings with Russia. The Dallas News has documented campaign contributions to the political action committees of Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain from Leonid Blavatnik, a Ukrainian oligarch with UK and US citizenship. He has indirect connections with the Kremlin.

This scenario would suggest multiple impeachments or removals from office, again an unprecedented outcome.

There are few legal precedents or constitutional provisisions for what I’ve outlined above. It would seem to me that much of the remedy would be up to Congress, but IANAL.

Lawfare and Just Security should be good sources for thinking out these issues, although they have not written much on them. I hope they will.

There is another aspect to all this: how we will react and what we may be able to do. One thing to remember when evaluating the scenarios is that a replacement President would be seriously weakened. His legitimacy would be questioned, as would that of the Republican Congress. However, this Congress has been willing to double down, and they might do that in the name of national unity and getting behind the President. Heeling Healing the nation.

 

181 replies
  1. 1
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    However, this Congress has been willing to double down, and they might do that in the name of national unity and getting behind the President. Heeling Healing the nation

    My cynical side says this is the outcome. The GOP would sooner declare martial law then have themselves be declared illegimate traitors. There would be enough mouthbreathers to back them up and that would be the death of democracy in America. The light of democracy would grow dimmer and this outcome would suit Putin just fine.

  2. 2
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    The Republicans learned how to deal with this during Iran / Contra. A few low level folks may go to jail, but Trump would probably pardon anyone else. You’re right, no way to deal with actual Russian election tinkering. The only way to fix this is to have a Democratic majority in both houses.

  3. 3
    efgoldman says:

    This scenario would suggest multiple impeachments or removals from office, again an unprecedented outcome.

    Unlike the president and VP, congresscritters and senators are subject to prosecution in court for ordinary crimes. They can only be removed (between elections) by being expelled by the respective bodies, but there’s nothing preventing arrest, trial, and incarceration by civil authorities.

  4. 4
    Wapiti says:

    Under your second scenario, should the investigators have evidence against Pence, I hope it is dropped and Pence resigns/is removed before Trump, and a caretaker VP confirmed by Congress (however that is done). I’d suggested elsewhere that Romney could be a choice; he’s sanctimonious and doesn’t relate to the poors, but could likely agree to honorably serve for the rest of the term then step aside. He’s not a moron and could be brought up to speed as quickly as any other competent-plus politician.

    Under scenario 3, while Blavatnik may have donated large amounts of funds, I’d suggest that if he has UK and US citizenship, he could have done that legally. (I seriously wonder how screwed up our immigration policies are if someone can remain a Ukrainian oligarch and have both UK and US citizenship.) Otoh, if he was funneling foreign funds, he needs to be charged, and the PAC that took those funds need to disgorge them to Treasury. (and if that isn’t the law, it should be.)

  5. 5
    efgoldman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    The light of democracy would grow dimmer and this outcome would suit Putin just fine.

    Sackloth and ashes suit you. Defeatism gets you and us nothing. Too many people are working too hard to fix it .

  6. 6

    I have both T fatigue and game theorizing fatigue

  7. 7
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @efgoldman:
    Speaking of which, what’s preventing a GOP controlled body from ejecting every non Republican? It would be stupid but this is the Republicans we’re talking about

  8. 8
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @efgoldman: Thanks. I want our lawyer brigade to weigh in.

  9. 9
    Another Scott says:

    ISWYDT. :-)

    Good piece, good questions.

    There doesn’t seem to be a good way out of this mess.

    I was a kid when Watergate happened. I was aware of the hearings, the WaPo reports, etc., but it seemed impossible that Nixon would actually be forced out.

    We’re still very, very early in this process. The courts haven’t been involved yet (you know as soon as Mueller announces anything there are going to be multiple lawsuits challenging everything). Reagan threw everyone under the bus for Iran Contra – Donnie would probably try to do the same thing.

    It’s not a slam-dunk that Donnie will be removed.

    We have to work now and fight for every possible vote (not impossible votes) to make the change we seek.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  10. 10
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @efgoldman:
    I’m not defeated yet. I can just see the Repubs trying that if worse comes to worse rallying around “national unity”.

  11. 11
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Wapiti: Removing Pence first is similar to what happened with Spiro Agnew. Romney wouldn’t be a bad outcome at this point.

    I agree that those funds to Congress may well be legal. There are hints at other things, although nothing firm. Frankly, I would hate to see scenario number 3.

  12. 12
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Adding to this, I’ll do my small part to make sure they lose.

  13. 13
    Ohio Mom says:

    I just came back from the synagogue’s annual end-of-summer picnic. Based on this very unscientific sampling, I think an awful big segment of the US population is not ready for this.

    They are still digesting the idea that Trump is Trump. They were hoping for the best and now they are coming to terms with reality. It is going to be a very big upheaval for them if/when Trump is ousted, their thought processes haven’t made it that far.

  14. 14
    Gravenstone says:

    If there is legal implication involving Russia at any level of your scenarios prior to 2018, and Congress fails to act – then they hand a huge cudgel to their opponents (internal and external) everywhere. Every Republican incumbent can be branded a traitor for defending Trump through inaction. Whether that will make any difference, that is the great unknown.

  15. 15
    efgoldman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    what’s preventing a GOP controlled body from ejecting every non Republican?

    Same reason they haven’t totally nuked the filibuster: They know that some day, some way, they’ll be in the minority. Also per Article 1, section 5, expulsion requires a 2/3 majority – very hard to achieve except in the most obvious or extreme cases.

  16. 16
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Ohio Mom: I think it is going to be a very big upheaval for all of us, which is why I posted this. We need to start thinking about how we will respond, and how we will interact with the folks you are describing.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @efgoldman: The Menedez trial takes place soon, and whatever happens he should not resign. I assume if convicted he will appeal.

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    Trump is going to address the nation tomorrow at nine eastern time, about Afghanistan.

  19. 19
    feebog says:

    Given how Mueller’s investigation is shaping up so far, it may well be that there is an indictment of Donnie Jr. early on. What if Dolt45 pardons him before there is even a trial? Could that trigger the impeachment process? At this point I very much doubt it given the Ryan is the speaker, but public pressure can move mountains sometimes.

  20. 20
    Lapassionara says:

    @JPL: well, that sucks.

  21. 21
    efgoldman says:

    @feebog:

    What if Dolt45 pardons him before there is even a trial? Could that trigger the impeachment process?

    If he does it for Uday, he has to do it for Qusay and Kushkie and Jiovanka and….
    I can’ t imagine that the political fallout will be anything but huge, and make the reaction to Ford pardoning Tricksie Dicksie look like small change. Vermilion Vermin may not care, but the RWNJs that have to run will.

  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @JPL:

    Trump is going to address the nation tomorrow at nine eastern time, about Afghanistan.

    Has he been able to find it on a map yet? Somehow i doubt it.

  23. 23
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    What I would worry about is Congressional paralysis.

    Trump has no loyalty to the Republican Party. If saving himself means throwing his kids to the wolves and Congress to the wolves, he will do it.

    We keep talking about how there will be an explosion if Trump is expelled, forced to resign, whatever. When supporters don’t even come out to the inaugural, it’s hard to imagine them going to the streets in mass numbers. And not only that, but there’s no constitutional way to restore a resigned/expelled President. And of course, Russian bots won’t be going out into the streets either. And no one will throw themselves under the bus for Trump to prevent his ouster either-no lying for him or anything.l

    More than likely we will see a whole rash of special elections as compromised Congresspeople resign and plea bargain in exchange for less or no time.

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    @efgoldman: The republicans will keep him until they have there tax cuts.
    BTW How are you feeling?

  25. 25
    Waratah says:

    The quality of the people on the list of succession is very depressing.
    The Republicans will do what they have to do to save the party, that seems more important to them than the voters that elected them or their country.

  26. 26
    efgoldman says:

    @JPL:

    The republicans will keep him until they have there tax cuts.
    BTW How are you feeling?

    Haven’t they now lost the ability to use reconciliation? In which case, no chance.
    Better in small, slow but noticeable increments, thanks.

  27. 27
    Hoodie says:

    The only way I see Trump leaving before 2020 is resignation (assuming he doesn’t stroke out or have a massive coronary). Resignation does, however, seem a not insignificant possibility. I think most of what Mueller will find is money laundering, maybe collusion by Jr. and some lower level flunkies. Trump will claim that he has been treated unfairly but, for the good of the country, he’ll step aside so his criminal defense won’t be a distraction, probably hoping he can pressure Pence into pardoning him and his cronies. The GOP will want Pence to do that to kill off further inquiries and “look forward, not back.” That will seriously hurt Pence’s chances for re-election, but they’ll hope to hold the congress and change the subject.

  28. 28
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    I think that the power to pardon doesn’t really do Trump a ton of good. The financial crimes took place in the state of New York. Even if Trump pardons everyone including himself, it has no bearing on state charges. Eric Schneiderman is still going to pursue Trump, with even more zeal. It’s possible a sitting President* can’t be tried while in office, but everyone around him will be in jeopardy and he can’t do a thing about it. There will be flipping and plea deals.

  29. 29

    I know we seem to assimilate Trumpian crap and move on, but do you think that will happen with supporting Nazis? That felt qualitatively different to me, or maybe it’s just cumulative. If we wind up with proof of election tampering, that seems like a killer blow. I suppose it depends on how firm the proof is. With Nixon, it took hearing the president’s own words on tape.

  30. 30
    sdhays says:

    Minor nitpick: John Kelly is no longer the Secretary of Homeland Security and, thus, no longer in the line of succession.

    I think we’re stuck with Pence, at least. The Republican Party will not allow both Trump and Pence to go, unless they’re found in bed together performing unspeakable acts on a dead rodent.

  31. 31
    LosGatosCA says:

    National referendum to have a new election.

    Like, as I understand it there was to admit Alaska and Hawaii as states, iirc from my history books.

    This would be more like a vote of no confidence, in a parliamentary system.

    If it passes we’ll figure what to do after that.

    James Madison’s model has outlived it’s usefulness. It’s become intractable and the sooner the general public gets involved in deciding what to do about it, the better.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    Long read (.pdf), but highly germane.

  33. 33
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    @sdhays:
    If Pence is found to be involved and resigns, I predict that Ryan will slow walk approving a new veep so that he can slot in when Trump resigns or is impeached.

  34. 34

    OT but I’m seeing reports that Gorka is out.

  35. 35
    TriassicSands says:

    It has been argued that the appointment of Gerald Ford as Vice President in his place made it more palatable for Congress to consider impeaching Richard Nixon as a result of the Watergate scandal.

    The opposite has also been argued — that Nixon chose Ford, a mediocrity at best, because he thought Congress would be less likely to remove him from office if Ford was his replacement. The US had survived mediocre presidents before, so, if that was Nixon’s reasoning, he miscalculated.

    Currently, we have the worst president, by far, in American history. The list of possible replacements, excluding anyone added through the 25th Amendment, is an extended menu of the mediocre to the ridiculous, which is true of the entire Republican Party. The election of Trump, legitimate or not, set in motion events that virtually guaranteed we have to survive four years with a president who is at best mediocre, and even that is an optimistic stretch.

  36. 36
    efgoldman says:

    @Hoodie:

    he’ll step aside so his criminal defense won’t be a distraction, probably hoping he can pressure Pence into pardoning him and his cronies.

    A rational person would step aside and make a deal. A spoiled, narcissistic four year old probably won’t . It would be out of character to ever admit he was/did something wrong.

    @Insane Clown POTUS:

    Eric Schneiderman is still going to pursue Trump, with even more zeal.

    Yup, and in NY, where Apricot Asswipe is widely reviled, there won’t be significant political fallout – in fact it might propel Shneiderman into the governor’s office.

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @Lapassionara: You don’t have to listen.. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Obama’s fault that he didn’t handle it, therefore I’m adding ten thousands more troops.
    Good night and I love all people, of all colors.

  38. 38
    sdhays says:

    @Hoodie:

    Trump will claim that he has been treated unfairly but, for the good of the country, he’ll step aside so his criminal defense won’t be a distraction, probably hoping he can pressure Pence into pardoning him and his cronies.

    No f-ing way. Trump gives not one shit about this country. And I don’t believe he trusts Pence to issue any pardons for himself and he has never really cared about his cronies, and if it gets to the point where he’s considering resigning, Pence would be crazy to actually pardon him, particularly since Pence will be at least tangentially implicated. You have to be capable of feeling shame and have a sense of how much bigger the Presidency is than any one person, and that’s the fundamental issue with Trump anyway.

    The easiest way he leaves in is a box, assisted by KFC. He should leave by the hand of Congress, but I just don’t see the Republican Congress having the spine or moral clarity in sufficient abundance to make that happen.

  39. 39
    Yarrow says:

    The President can pardon but the person being pardoned doesn’t have to accept the pardon. If they do, then they are admitting guilt for whatever they accepted the pardon for. At that point, if there are state trials (NY state being most likely), they can’t take the fifth because they’ve admitted guilt. Kind of a pickle some of them are in.

  40. 40
    JPL says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Google news sent out breaking news, but it linked to an article in May. Most places have corrected.

  41. 41
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The thing about being in a bubble is that you don’t know you are in a bubble. It may be obvious to those of us here that Trump is an existential threat to our democracy but clearly, a lot of people think he’s merely an ineffective nitwit. An embarrassment perhaps but not a mortal danger.

    Could an effort to oust him succeed without a widespread understanding of just how awful he is, and without widespread support for showing him out?

  42. 42
    sdhays says:

    @Insane Clown POTUS: Excellent point.

  43. 43
    MattF says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Wouldn’t be surprising, but nothing from NYT, WaPo, Politico, CNN.

  44. 44
    Yarrow says:

    @Insane Clown POTUS:

    If Pence is found to be involved and resigns, I predict that Ryan will slow walk approving a new veep so that he can slot in when Trump resigns or is impeached.

    Agree. And it’ll be funny if in the meantime Ryan is also implicated.

  45. 45
    feebog says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Currently, we have the worst president, by far, in American history.

    It seems like just yesterday we were arguing whether Shrub was the worst, or merely in the bottom five. Good times.

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    My prediction is the Supreme Court will have some type of Bush v Gore ruling, that protects the ruling class.

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    I.WANT.THEM.ALL.
    PERIOD.
    ALL OF THEM IN ORANGE JUMPSUITS

  48. 48
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @LosGatosCA: The idea of a do-over election has been appealing to me, but I don’t see how it comes about. The go-ahead for a national referendum would have to come from Congress. If it were positive, candidates would have to be selected, thus primaries within the parties. Then the election itself. Under normal conditions, that’s at least a year, maybe two.

  49. 49
    rikyrah says:

    @Gravenstone:
    That’s right. Brand them as the TRAITORS that they are.
    Period.

  50. 50
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Ohio Mom: The understanding seems to be growing. And polls show majorities thinking that Trump is unsuited for the presidency. I saw a figure of 40% now thinking he should be impeached.

    Yet the New York Times this weekend has found a black woman who voted for him and continues to support him and put her on the front page. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around all this and developing a feeling for where the country is at. You’ve just been in a group that obviously isn’t ready. I tend to be with people who have the pitchforks and torches close at hand.

    We need to be thinking about how to deal with those who aren’t sure, and the true believers. I’m going to try to write another post on that, but it will be much more difficult than this one.

  51. 51
    sukabi says:

    @feebog: given that Ryan and McConnell knew about Russian meddling early last summer, and at least Ryan knew about drumpfs’ Russian connections. It seems like they should be targets of the investigation themselves. Ryan and McConnell actively interfered with disseminating information to the public via political blackmail. As much as anyone they are guilty of facilitating Putin for political power.

  52. 52
    A Ghost to Most says:

    What If – Trump And Others Are Guilty?

    Worldwide alcohol and weed shortages?

  53. 53
    Lapassionara says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: and many of those words were expletives that were bleeped out. I think Nixon would have survived if he had not cursed so much.

  54. 54
    A Ghost to Most says:

    @rikyrah: All that, plus (network rules force me to stop here).

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Yet the New York Times this weekend has found a black woman who voted for him and continues to support him and put her on the front page

    The NYT is garbage.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    The thing about being in a bubble is that you don’t know you are in a bubble. It may be obvious to those of us here that Trump is an existential threat to our democracy but clearly, a lot of people think he’s merely an ineffective nitwit.

    . Isn’t this the same thing? If Trump does not know what he is doing, he is by definition an embarrassment and a danger.

    But even if there would be formal agreement about this, the trick is how to turn this into a constitutional removal of Trump.

  58. 58
    Baud says:

    OT. Kevin Drum

    I know this won’t make any difference, but just for the record, here is job growth over each 6-month period¹ since the start of Obama’s second term:

    It’s true that we created over a million jobs in the first six months of the Trump era. It’s also true that this was the worst performance of the past five years.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I come here for my fix of being among pitchfork wielders.

    I’ll look forward to your post on talking to the laggards.

  60. 60
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    If 2018 is a wave election and there are enough state legislatures in blue hands, it might be a good time to push the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It defuses the Electoral College. It’s an agreement between the states that they will pledge their electors to the popular vote winner. It will only go into effect once states with 270 or more EVs sign on. Currently, states with 165 EVs have enacted the compact. It would make it impossible for a popular vote loser to win the Presidency. Since Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the US Constitution requires states to select their manner of sending electors to the EC, it is constitutional.

  61. 61
    burnspbesq says:

    There is sufficient uncertainty about whether a sitting President can be indicted that my working hypothesis is that Mueller will do it if the evidence is there.

    The Republicans in Congress are sufficiently feckless that it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Trump could be indicted, tried, and convicted, but not impeached.

    Imagine a G-20 meeting at a minimum-security Federal pen.

    As the old song goes, God has a sick sense of humor.

  62. 62
    rikyrah says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I am tired of these stories. Hillary Clinton won 94 out of 100 Black women’s votes, and they go around looking for a slave catching coon? Phuck that. How about interviewing one of the 94, to see how THEY think things are going.

  63. 63
    trollhattan says:

    @rikyrah:
    Word, only Trump’s needs to be Arpaio pink. Jared gets classic stripes and Uday and Qusay, leopard print.

  64. 64
    Hoodie says:

    @sdhays: He’ll claim that he’s leaving for the sake of the country. A guy like Trump will always bail when things get hot and try to blame someone else or make himself into a martyr. He won’t want to be in the White House if Mueller is on his ass and he will look for a way to get the heat to go away. The Pence pardon will do that, and he doesn’t give a shit about anything else but his own neck. He’ll jet off to one of his properties and try to escape the limelight. He’s a narcissist with a strong sense of self preservation and no qualms about having others clean up after him.

  65. 65

    @rikyrah: NYT did more than the Republican party for T’s election.

  66. 66
    sdhays says:

    @Insane Clown POTUS: Unless that includes a lot of red and purple states, I don’t want anything to do with it. I think it’s a good idea on paper, but the reality is that if a red state votes one way and the popular vote goes the other way so the state’s electoral votes go to the loser in the state, people there will lose their shit.

    If anything’s due for a push, it’s eliminating the Electoral College altogether. It will take time and effort, but it’s long overdue.

  67. 67
    TriassicSands says:

    @feebog:
    Historians generally agree that Buchanan was the winner in the worst president contest. In 2015, I would have voted for Bush and felt comfortable that my choice was defensible. But today, there isn’t a contest. No one has ever approached Trump’s combination of ignorance, incompetence, and immorality. There is no measure of presidential fitness for which Trump would earn a positive score.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @rikyrah:
    Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing when NPR reaches out to one of the Trump voter groups on their Rolodex I fly to change the station. Simply cannot abide listening to the unrepentant defending the indefensible. They. Will. Never. Change. And no Democrat will ever snag their vote.

    “I never heard Obama try to heal both sides.” Shut the everloving fuck up!

  69. 69

    @Wapiti:

    He’s not a moron

    The whitewashing of Romney shocks me. The man is utterly vile. He is stupid, he is corrupt, he is evil, he is racist, he is shockingly partisan, he is a warmonger, he is worse than W in every way. Only by comparison with Trump does he have any virtues. I do grant your basic point that he would govern in a stable, if ghastly, way and turn over power without argument at the end of his term.

    @Insane Clown POTUS:

    If Pence is found to be involved and resigns

    Pence is less likely to resign than Trump. Pence is on a mission from God, obeying his destiny to usher in the theocracy when divine grace removes Trump and gives him the presidency. Evangelical leaders were not shy about saying that during the election, and Pence is nothing if not a zealot.

  70. 70
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @rikyrah: I thought about doing a tweet thread about all the other people the NYT might be interviewing, and that would be one of them.

  71. 71
    A Ghost to Most says:

    @TriassicSands: Throw in treason, and Buchanan moves up a notch.

  72. 72
    Mike J says:

    @burnspbesq:

    There is sufficient uncertainty about whether a sitting President can be indicted that my working hypothesis is that Mueller will do it if the evidence is there.

    If you thought the voir dire in the Shkreli trial was fun, wait for Trump.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @Hoodie:

    Trump will claim that he has been treated unfairly but, for the good of the country, he’ll step aside so his criminal defense won’t be a distraction, probably hoping he can pressure Pence into pardoning him and his cronies.

    This is not even believable fan fiction. I cannot imagine a universe in which Trump ever does anything for the good of the country. I could possibly see him trying to work a deal where he is paid to resign.

    ..

  74. 74
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:
    Trump not knowing what he is doing is more than just an embarrassment or even an existential threat to democracy: it’s an existential threat to modern civilization itself given he has control over the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet. He’s a threat to humanity and the GOP is liable for whatever happens.

    That should be an open and shut case for impeachment, but GOP Congress is too cowardly and craven to act against Trump.

  75. 75

    @TriassicSands:

    There is no measure of presidential fitness for which Trump would earn a positive score.

    Unless you’re a stone cold racist, like roughly half of whites. From that perspective, he’s the only president in modern history willing to tell the truth that all of America’s problems are the fault of brown people, and act directly to fix that.

  76. 76
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Why is the NYT constantly trying to find contrarian exceptions to the rule? Is Sulzberger being blackmailed by Russians or something? I don’t get it.

  77. 77

    @JPL:

    The republicans will keep him until they have there tax cuts.

    These clowns have to know by now that there’s no way anything gets through Congress now. Maybe some of the dumber ones–Looey Goehmert, et al., might still think they can get shot done, but most of them have to know that it’s too late now.

  78. 78
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike J:
    Gots to be in New York to be that hilarious. Make it so, Schneiderman!

  79. 79
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    @sdhays:
    Getting rid of the EC is not going to happen without a constitutional amendment. That’s not very likely in our lifetimes. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact defangs the EC and it only requires getting to 50%+1 in states with 270 EVs. Since it only comes into force when that hurdle is crossed, it doesn’t have a downside other than to popular vote losers who squeak into office. It is being considered in red and purple states, although mostly blue states have passed it so far.

  80. 80
    sdhays says:

    @Hoodie: But saying it’s for the good of the country implicitly acknowledges that there’s either something wrong with him or he’s being driven from office by his enemies. I don’t believe he has it in him to relinquish control voluntarily. How do things get “too hot”?

    The only plausible situation, to me, is that, like Nixon, he becomes convinced that he will be impeached and removed by Congress. And I think that, unlike Nixon, he lacks the ability to appreciate how dire his situation is until they’re already voting in Congress.

    If he resigns after being impeached but before the Senate convicts him, saying he “resigned” is merely a technicality, IMHO. I also don’t see Trump trying to escape the limelight. That’s just not who he is. We’ll hear less from him if we all get our wish and he actually does time in prison and/or when he finally shuffles off this mortal coil.

  81. 81
    Mike J says:

    @Insane Clown POTUS: I can’t see it lasting past the first time a state gives its EV to the local loser.

  82. 82
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    @Mike J:
    This is actually why I hope that Trump is indicted in New York. It pretty much guarantees a hostile jury. Although I think a DC jury might not be such a bad idea…

  83. 83
    Insane Clown POTUS says:

    @Mike J:
    You might be right. It may be a once-and-done thing (although that might be worth it anyway). It may also make it the norm that the popular vote winner ascends to the Presidency. It’s worth finding out.

  84. 84
    efgoldman says:

    @burnspbesq:

    it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Trump could be indicted, tried, and convicted, but not impeached.

    He won’t be DOLTUS forever.

  85. 85
    prostratedragon says:

    This week’s fad seems to be to find a black person to stand right up for the Toothpick. Fruit of the Omarosa Outreach Initiative (pronounced either oo-wee or oy)?

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    That should be an open and shut case for impeachment, but GOP Congress is too cowardly and craven to act against Trump.

    Impeachment would be at play if Congress wants to discover high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump’s presumed incompetence would be a 25th amendment issue, that his unfitness was so severe that he should be removed from office. And I don’t see this happening under a Republican Congress.

  87. 87
    NeenerNeener says:

    I still think when shit gets real enough, like Mueller on the verge of indictments, that Trump will fake a medical emergency and resign for health reasons. Hell, if he hadn’t been raking in money hand-over-fist because Congress didn’t make him give up his businesses and he had actually worked the same schedule any other President has had in the last 100 years, he would have been gone by June 1st.

  88. 88
    piratedan says:

    well, this parallels one of the threads about a month ago that was posted when Mueller was brought on board…

    what we suspect/know of what they’re guilty of…

    Obstruction of Justice – if you can believe anything of what Trump says, he’s dismissed Comey as a simple statement of attempting to block any investigation into his relationship with certain Russian entities
    Perjury – this is for multiple members of the Trump admiistration, lying about meetings, contacts, security forms, financial associations

    What is being investigated…

    The following of the money – to damn near everyone on the GOP side… how much of it is legal, illegal, tied to which foreign entities, was there quid pro quo…
    the election itself – the hacking of the DNCC, voter suppression, actual vote tampering
    following the money part II – how much of it went to the media and in return for what?

    In many ways I feel like we’re thru the looking glass, will people understand what it means and the implications if true that Russia not only influenced our election and the media coverage thereof, what happens if they actually corrupted it.

    At this point, are you ready to believe it if true?

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    . Yet the New York Times this weekend has found a black woman who voted for him and continues to support him and put her on the front page. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around all this and developing a feeling for where the country is at.

    Black people are not a monolith, and have a right to be as wrong or nutty as anybody else. Also, maybe she is auditioning for a job on Fox News.

  90. 90
    Arm The Homeless says:

    I find the idea of some sort of Congressional bank-shot vis-a-vis an election do-over to be fantastical and mostly masturbatory in nature. The House may impeach, but the Senate will not convict. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the GOP is quietly encouraging Dems to go full steam ahead on articles of impeachment, in hopes that Trump gets a Clintonesque bump in polls, playing the scrappy, outsider underdog.

    Point being that the GOP and its voters have embraced their inner–and outer–petit-fascist. To vote for his removal is to cut their own electoral throat.

    Let’s all take the lesson of Carter–>Reagan: After the fall of Trump, they have 4-8 years (at most) to destroy modern Conservatism, their gerrymandering, and their lines of capital. Should Trump fall, there will be no GOP contrition or soul-searching; it will be immediately blamed on Liberals, The Deep State, and the courts.

    No quarter, ever

  91. 91
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike J:

    If you thought the voir dire in the Shkreli trial was fun, wait for Trump.

    LOL!

  92. 92
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Now I’m beginning to wonder whether he made the decision that he and Melania would stay away from the KCH this year because he knows he’ll be gone by December.

  93. 93
    Quinerly says:

    @rikyrah:
    I had the nicest long chat with a 91 year old Black woman who I see every Sat morning on my walk to Tower Grove Farmer’s Market here in St. Louis. She is from MS, moved here at 17, and became Jehovah’s Witness in the 1960’s. I enjoy just talking to strangers so visited with her about an hour on a park bench. Seen her there for several years. Her daughter drops her off with her JW literature and Bible. She believes Trump is pure evil. I wasn’t even sure JWs believe in good and evil. I’m not a believer, not a Bible reader but she had her Bible and I listened and asked questions. Mrs. Wilson is pretty sure we are approaching the end of times…either because of Trump or that he is a sign of it. I’ll probably sit with her next Saturday. Updates to come.💚

  94. 94
    HeleninEire says:

    @Baud: MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    So glad we can do this again.

  95. 95
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:

    I could possibly see him trying to work a deal where he is paid to resign.

    I’m sure he’d try that, I’m not sure that would ever even be discussed by the other side. First, he doesn’t have the kind of money that would require, he’s in hock up to his disgusting neck. To the Russians. They sure aren’t going to loan him money to pay off the US. Second, I’m doubting that any one bringing an indictment wants anything less that an admission of guilt and jail time for his crimes, although I’d bet they’d settle for him walking into a jail, and not leaving for 5-20 yrs, as long as he doesn’t utter one word after OK.

  96. 96
    Achrachno says:

    “… we must take steps to harden our election systems against hacking.” …. “The effort must not be used to disenfranchise voters; the problems are not in voter fraud, but rather the machines and electronic systems. Unfortunately, even this measure may be difficult in our current political environment.”

    Nearly impossible? Republicans will oppose any such effort with all their power because they do not benefit from honest elections. They’re probably already involved in vote tampering, and they are definitely involved in vote suppression. They are not called democrats for a reason.

    I have no confidence that Trump was elected in an honest vote. Maybe he was, but there’s no way to know that.

  97. 97
  98. 98
    MomSense says:

    We need a DO OVER ELECTION.

    Since this whole treasonous shitshow is extra constitutional and since we the people were denied a free and fair election, the most appropriate redress is to hold a new election.

    Pen and paper.

  99. 99
    Felonius Monk says:

    Are we prepared for what happens when election is shown to be corrupted?

    The answer is Yes and No. If the election is found to have been corrupted, nothing will happen. Rs will be fine with this, while Ds will be irate. But that is how things are now, so no change.

  100. 100
    Baud says:

    To those advocating for a do over election, who would run for the Dems? It would be a shit show.

  101. 101
    Kent says:

    Most likely scenario in my point of view:

    If/when we finally reach critical mass in terms of Trump/Russia/Corruption scandals he will most likely pull a Sara Palin and walk away in a huff but not before pardoning everyone in sight who has a family connection. The non-family not so much.

    Pence moves into the oval office and the Republicans generate some sort of national security crisis like North Korea and the right-wing media whips up a frenzy of support to give Pence a big honeymoon period like Bush post 9/11. That way they can ram their agenda through Congress like they intended to do the first time around.

    I don’t necessarily think a Trump successor would be a weakened President. I think the right wing political and media complex would dive into a frenzy of patriotic support and demand a honeymoon period for the new president, and most likely they would get it from the mainstream media.

  102. 102
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    I was told there would be no math on this blog. 😞

  103. 103
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Some of you don’t understand that elections are Federal up and down. Lots of other people get elected along with the President. A national referendum leaves questions about the people who were elected on the same ballot with him-whether or not their terms end with his. Not only that, but who would pay the freight for this? States finance their own elections for the most part, and I find it hard to believe that any would pay the enormous costs for this out-of-sequence election with out other people benefiting from coat-tails.

    Not only that, but the states would have to individually authorize something like this for it to be binding.

    Instead, concentrate on 2020 and getting whatever dolt succeeds him out without earning a term of his own.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus: RE:. I could possibly see him trying to work a deal where he is paid to resign.

    I was being slightly facetious here. I really don’t see Trump resigning. And yeah, the Russians would not throw more money at him, but I wonder whether the GOP or some American oligarchs might be persuaded to make it easier for him to step aside. I still think all this chattering about impeachment or resignation is crazy talk, but in the unlikely event that any of this happened, Trump would be looking for a payday.

    Second, I’m doubting that any one bringing an indictment wants anything less that an admission of guilt and jail time for his crimes,

    An admission of guilt, from Trump? Ain’t never gonna happen.

  105. 105
    Thoughtful David says:

    One thing I wonder is where is the intelligence community in this? They mostly aren’t liberals nor Democrats, but I bet a bunch of them are horrified at our leadership being owned by the Russians and Nazis. So I would expect them to make sure that information gets out.

  106. 106

    @Baud: This blog has become a bizarro version of Alice in Wonderland.

  107. 107
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Brachiator: I’m having a hard time getting some feeling for where the country is at. That’s what I’m having a hard time getting my head around, not that a black woman would vote for Trump. The fact that the Times keeps interviewing outliers is one of the things that makes it difficult for me.

  108. 108
    Achrachno says:

    @Baud: “To those advocating for a do over election, who would run for the Dems? It would be a shit show.”

    So what? We have one of those now. How could it be worse?

    Besides, don’t you already have a campaign up and running? Otherwise, Hilary if she’s still willing.

  109. 109
    p.a. says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    Are we prepared for what happens when election is shown to be corrupted?

    2000 anyone? get over it, move along, let’s look ahead not back. IOKIYAR

  110. 110
    JPL says:

    @Baud: If Hillary were a republican, the supreme court would say for the good of the country…yadda yadda yadda

  111. 111
    p.a. says:

    @Baud:

    shit show.

    as opposed to what we’re going through at this moment…

    ETA: 2nd!

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    @Achrachno: My campaign will guarantee that it will be a shit show.

    What’s the point of pushing Republicans to have a new election and losing to a Republican and giving them an opportunity to redeem themselves?

  113. 113
    Baud says:

    @p.a.: The line of succession would not produce a shit show like what we’re seeing now. Just horrible conservatives like we’re used to dealing with.

  114. 114
    efgoldman says:

    @CarolDuhart2:

    A national referendum leaves questions about the people who were elected on the same ballot with him-whether or not their terms end with his.

    It’s as much a fantasy as the electoral college bailing us out was. Never gonna’ happen.

  115. 115

    Conclusion of all the game theory is; no matter what happens, we lose. Always.

  116. 116
    Mary G says:

    O.T. I know we love to make fun of Freddie, but this is very sad:

    Beginning:

    Shortly I will be headed to the Richmond University Medical Center to pursue intensive treatment for my mental illness. My day-to-day existence has become entirely unmanageable, and I fear for my health and safety.

    End:

    I would give everything I own to be anyone other than who I am. Goodbye and thank you for everything.

    I hope he can get the help he needs.

  117. 117
    hoodie says:

    @sdhays: It’s Trump, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but him ego and his idiot followers. He says nonsensical things on a daily basis. Trump will not want his dirty business dealings paraded out before the public, so he’ll cut and run if Mueller has something good on him and the GOP will offer him an out that avoids impeachment. Trump is probably not sure how well his tracks are covered vis a vis the money laundering, so he’ll probably hold out to see if Mueller strikes out. He probably is debating whether to try to fire Mueller, but my guess is that he’ll try sabotage first. If he can’t throw a boulder in Mueller’s path, he resign in exchange for a pardon. He knows the GOP is afraid to impeach him.

  118. 118
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Nah. It’s always coming up roses for Baud!

  119. 119
    Thoughtful David says:

    I also think the IC would consider all of the Republican leadership to be compromised by the Russians. So even if Paul Ryan is perfectly clean, because he has defended Trump, the Russians can tell him “Do what we want or we’ll leak that you’re our asset.” Then Ryan has to do it or try to prove he isn’t a Russian asset, which he can’t. So he’s in a real bind.
    At least, that would be my evaluation of I were an IC analyst.
    And of course, Ryan probably isn’t clean.

  120. 120
    Achrachno says:

    @Baud: It’s not going to happen, but if it did (say, a week from Thursday) we’d win. Don’t be so pessimistic, its unbecoming of our next president.

  121. 121
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    This thread is so depressing. There’s not even any humorous stuff in this thread. I know I think wild and crazy so here’s my theory : when things look really bad, somebody will slip something into Dolt 45s food and he will appropriately have a massive MI or stroke(neither would be surprising in his shape or age). This will be followed by a mourning period,expected whitewashing of his and his family’s crimes. Pence gets sworn in and promises to heal the country from this tragedy etc etc They’ll dare Schneiderman or Mueller to go after the family opening up such awful wounds etc.etc. Pence pardons anybody high up and the small potatoes end up serving short sentences at club fed followed by a wingnut welfare gig.

  122. 122
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Baud:

    To those advocating for a do over election, who would run for the Dems?

    Kevin Spacey

  123. 123

    @Baud: बॉड तुम आगे बढ़ो, हम तुम्हारे साथ है

  124. 124
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Kent: Ford was able to get a honeymoon because he had nothing to do with Watergate. It looks like Pence is up to at least his ass in this. Ford also didn’t have Nixon facing possible state charges either. The Trumpkins have to face state charges at least, and several other aides have to at least face Federal ones which will be ongoing. So instead of sweeping Moron Watergate under the rug, there will be the ongoing stench to deal with. And Nixon went away, and shut up for the most part and let Ford be President.

    Another thing: Pence took this job because he would have been unelected Governor otherwise. Now I imagine it’s pretty hard for a Republican Governor to lose in Indiana if he’s reasonably popular and has some political clout and skills. Pence will/would stumble as President and make himself very unpopular even in his own Party. He has no charisma, either, and has no way to charm or at least mollify Democrats either. He will/would have a short, awkward Presidency.

  125. 125
    Baud says:

    @Achrachno: I agree it’s not going to happen. The 2018 and 2020 elections will happen, however, and I don’t think we’ve addressed the issues in our own house yet.

  126. 126
    efgoldman says:

    @Mai.naem.mobile:

    They’ll dare Schneiderman or Mueller to go after the family opening up such awful wounds

    Never give an ultimatum to a prosecutor. You might not like what happens.

  127. 127

    @Mai.naem.mobile: Since Tunch Blog has decided that heads they win, tails we lose. Let’s start a Tunch Hedge Fund, we can call it Fat Cats and Jackals Fund, we short everything, make a killing and become the next Mercers, Tunchers. Then get Baud elected, using Tunch funds.

  128. 128

    @Kent:
    Trump has little or nothing to do with Congress’s paralysis. They had the perfect cover already for their agenda. Even if the national press throws rose petals at Pence’s feet and declares how presidential he is 24/7, which they likely would, it doesn’t change any of the congressional math. If they can’t do it under Trump with the world’s greatest distraction running, they can’t do it under Pence with a merely unpopular and incompetent president.

  129. 129
    Brachiator says:

    @Mai.naem.mobile:

    .This will be followed by a mourning period

    as well as fireworks and a huge fiesta. Huge. So bigly that the ghost of Trump would be proud.

  130. 130
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: केवल मैं इसे ठीक कर सकता हूं|

  131. 131
    TS says:

    @JPL:

    Trump is going to address the nation tomorrow at nine eastern time, about Afghanistan

    When in doubt – bring the country together via war – not sure this will work any longer with Afghanistan.

  132. 132
    BBA says:

    I respectfully dissent from this “worst president ever” talk. Andrew Johnson remains the worst president of all time for his unconditional pardon of the entire Confederacy from Davis and Lee on down, an act that continues to hurt America a century and a half later. Trump can only dream of causing that much damage.

  133. 133
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @schrodingers_cat: It’s not that we lose, but the system is deliberately designed to move like an ocean liner. We can win the Presidency back, but it’s going to be the usual sequence in time. And through a lot of hard, grinding work and change, the benefits that we will see in 2024, 2028, or 2032.

  134. 134

    @burnspbesq:

    Imagine a G-20 meeting at a minimum-security Federal pen.

    IIRC, Rep. Jay Kim served in Congress with a court mandated ankle bracelet.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    There isn’t going to be a do-over election or a referendum that fixes everything. There is no deus ex manchina. There is, however, a reasonable chance of taking back at least the House next year. Our efforts should be focused on that.

  136. 136
    Jeffro says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: seconded on both points

  137. 137
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mary G:

    That is sad. I also wish him the best.

  138. 138
    Millard Filmore says:

    @HeleninEire:

    @Baud: MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    So glad we can do this again.

    Wow! Trump has really warped my sense of the passing of time.

  139. 139
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Felonius Monk:
    If “nothing happens” in that scenario, you don’t think there would be mass rioting not seen since the late 60s, early 70s? Even bigger?

  140. 140
    Baud says:

    @HeleninEire:

    Nollaig Shona

  141. 141
    Timurid says:

    The progression in the media this week and weekend is making me queasy. They’ve gone from “this administration is broken beyond repair” to “this administration is in trouble, but this is how it can be fixed.” The next step is “By George, I think he’s done it!” That could come as soon as tomorrow’s Afghanistan speech if he manages to surf a Teleprompter for half an hour without falling off.

    But if Charlottesville does go down the memory hole, that’s going to make it harder for the “grownups” to contain him. When Kelly or McMaster says “You can’t do that, sir,” the reply will be “I went full Nazi and got away clean. There’s NOTHING I can’t do.”

  142. 142
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m not sure Trump is able to think the far in advance. More likely that he doesn’t want to face the humiliation of being repudiated by everyone who attends and/or everyone who decides to publicly announce that they won’t attend because of Trump.

  143. 143

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s boring, its more fun to speculate about the upcoming civil war or anarchy.

  144. 144
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: I’m with you. Where do I sign up?

  145. 145
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There is no deus ex manchina.

    Senator Joe from West Virginia sired a god?

  146. 146
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Tim Kaine.

  147. 147
    Brachiator says:

    @Mary G:

    .O.T. I know we love to make fun of Freddie, but this is very sad:

    Had no idea. I sincerely wish him well.

  148. 148
    TS says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Now I’m beginning to wonder whether he made the decision that he and Melania would stay away from the KCH this year because he knows he’ll be gone by December.

    Doubtful – three of the five said they would not go to the White House reception – even trump could see he was not going to be feted if he turned up at the other events – and if he couldn’t see it Melania probably left him a note about it.

  149. 149
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I decided not to fix the typo; it was too good.

  150. 150
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    Well, it is kind of fun fantasizing about the RWNJs getting their just desserts if the country has to go to hell.

  151. 151

    @Timurid: Turn off the damn TV and get a grip. Falling to pieces is not going to help.

    ETA: That came off sounding awfully harsh. That’s my advice, YMMV.

  152. 152
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You should change your nym to Patton’s Cat.

  153. 153
    LosGatosCA says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Not looking for a do-over per se.

    There needs to be an alternative to opinion polls, impeachment, and waiting 4 years. A no-confidence referendum could make any admin more responsive, to avoid nasty consequences.

    In a parliamentary system the Bush II admin would have fallen in 2006.

    Things need to be changed to counter the undemocratic nature of the US Constitution combined with the venality of the Republicans. I’m not ordinarily a heighten the contradictions kind of guy but . . .

    Whenever I run into a problem I can’t solve, I always make it bigger. I can never solve it by trying to make it smaller, but if I make it big enough I can begin to see the outlines of a solution.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

  154. 154

    @Baud: I am not sure, I follow. Patton, as in the general?

  155. 155
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes. He was known to be …. Let’s say, tough.

  156. 156
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @LosGatosCA:

    There needs to be an alternative to opinion polls, impeachment, and waiting 4 years. A no-confidence referendum could make any admin more responsive, to avoid nasty consequences.

    In a parliamentary system the Bush II admin would have fallen in 2006.

    Things need to be changed to counter the undemocratic nature of the US Constitution combined with the venality of the Republicans. I’m not ordinarily a heighten the contradictions kind of guy but . . .

    I’d like for the US system to be a semi-presidential parliamentary one but that would require amendmemts. Not likely to happen IOW.

  157. 157
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    We are on the same page.
    I said they want an admission of guilt but will settle for him acquiescing and walking out without saying a word. I doubt any of them would think that he’d admit being guilty of anything other than special. But him walking out of court and into a jail with his mouth shut would be a pretty big accomplishment for him. And us.
    As for him resigning, I’d guess that would only come as he was walking out of court and into a jail. And it wouldn’t be his idea. Nor would he do it for the good of the country. He doesn’t have that part of a human brain that even allows for the concept of doing something for anyone else. It was either removed at birth or is a genetic defect.

  158. 158
    Achrachno says:

    @Baud: “I don’t think we’ve addressed the issues in our own house yet.”

    What do you see as there issues in our house?

    From my POV, there are several but #1, 2 & 3 are TURN OUT OUR VOTERS. All of them.

  159. 159
    Ruckus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    I believe my answer to the NYT question is answered by 5 words as I told @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Tax cuts and Estate taxes.
    It is possible that the publisher of the NYT is a white supremacist, I won’t discount that but I’d bet my answer is closer.

  160. 160
    Baud says:

    @Achrachno: Yes, but no one knows how.

    Our issue is that we have too many pieces that don’t know how to work well together.

  161. 161
    Timurid says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I sure as hell don’t believe in a pivot.
    There’s just way too many suckers out there who might.

  162. 162

    @Baud: I will take it as a compliment, then! You should have met my grandmother, she was a tough cookie. All her children were a little bit scared of her, but I was the apple of her eyes and could do no wrong.

  163. 163

    @Timurid: Neither do I. We ignore the suckers and do what we can and tune out the MSM noise.

    ETA: Beyond his base, T is not beloved. Also, I want to see the raw numbers in the polls, a high % of small # is a smaller number.

  164. 164
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @LosGatosCA: The trouble with a referendum/ no confidence vote is that it’s just not part of our system. You have to define what happens next – what the penalties are that you envision. It would be extremely expensive and disruptive. There’s got to be a plan in place to justify that.

  165. 165

    @Cheryl Rofer: The best way would be to flip the House and the Senate in 2018 and let that act as a check on the President.

    ETA: The Rs made him possible, they need to go down with him otherwise any fix would be like a band aid at best.

  166. 166
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You’ve hit on one of the things that I’m having a hard time getting my head around. Yes, there is a small number of hard-line Trump supporters who are unlikely to change no matter what. But it seems to come down to the canonical 27%. That leaves 73% of the non-crazy nation. One problem is that the 27% seem to be more likely to vote than the 73%. And then there’s distribution.

    But most of the commentary (not just the NYT) focuses on the 27% and another 10% or so fellow travelers. So polling headlines this week were that Trump’s brinkmanship with North Korea raised his support among his followers. What in the world does that mean? That some of the “like Trump” group have moved to “wildly love Trump”? And if it’s percentages, on what base? I’ve seen other polls that suggest that the “supporter” number (denominator) is getting smaller. Which could mean he’s losing the 10% fellow travelers.

    AND WHAT ABOUT THE 73%?

  167. 167
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes. I think flipping the House in 2018 is a baseline scenario to aim for. But I wrote this post to think about what happens if some of these other things come in.

    ETA: And Senate, although that seems more difficult.

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    @Cheryl Rofer: I am sure you must have noticed that most of our media big shots are innumerate, as in they don’t even understand basic arithmetic like percentages. Besides the prestige media covers just about everything from the R point of view.

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    @Baud: Oddly enough he was one of the Huntington’s neighbors. He was from San Marino.

  170. 170
    artem1s says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    We need to be thinking about how to deal with those who aren’t sure, and the true believers. I’m going to try to write another post on that, but it will be much more difficult than this one.

    Most of what I have seen and heard is from NPR’s who just want everyone to go along. They are the family members who would rather eat rat poison than tell Aunt Gertrude her awful potluck dish is awful. They insist that we ‘think of the children’ but what they really mean is ‘don’t make me look bad/stupid in front of my kids, or boss, or congregation or rotary club’. They were embarrassed at the mess the GOP left after W and instead of owning up to their dumbfuckery, they decided to prove to themselves, their kids and everyone else that a white man can so do it better than a blah guy or a woman.

  171. 171
    Another Scott says:

    @LosGatosCA: I heard on the local NPR station this afternoon (on “Reveal”, maybe?) that Eisenhower had a picture of a certain R.E. Lee in his office at the White House. :-/

    FWIW.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  172. 172
    Achrachno says:

    @Baud: “Our issue is that we have too many pieces that don’t know how to work well together.”

    I’m not sure what that means. Campaigns are not cooperating well? Our voters are not engaged in the process?

    My Cong. Distr. (long held by R) flipped and we’d had it for 2 cycles, and getting stronger. I’ve also been putting part of my (limited) cash into neighboring districts. Next time I’m going to branch out and contribute (a glorious $50 ea.) to every D challenging an R in a CA Cong. Distr. I want to see the house fall: CA is shifting and I’m going to add my little push. What if we all work together on something like that?

    What else are you thinking about? Other ideas we can act on now? I mean besides harassing Trump and his minions verbally.

  173. 173
    Procopius says:

    The bottom line is what the Russians did to influence the election results, how much of an effect they had, …

    This. Please point out one thing that had a visible effect. I’m willing to wait for Mueller to complete his investigation. Earlier responses would be welcome. No one has come forward to do this yet.

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    EBT says:

    Jail them all now.

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    LosGatosCA says:

    @Another Scott:

    I heard Eisenhower gave a speech warning about creeping militarization corrupting America’s vision that no president since has even been able to give serious lip service to.

    Nobody’s perfect, but if you needed an infrastructure building, social safety net promoter, military force skeptic who was also a two term Republican then Ike is the only applicant.

    He kept us out of Korea, Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba rolled back Suez. OTOH, the Dulles brothers, the Shah, Central America.

  176. 176
    Another Scott says:

    @LosGatosCA: Yup. Ike wasn’t bad in many respects (he kept the crazy side of the GOP from winning during the Red Scare, for one thing). I was just yanking your chain about him.

    (Most) People are products of their times.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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    burnspbesq says:

    @LosGatosCA:

    The most important thing Ike did was keep Taft from getting the Republican nomination in 1952. Taft was the index case of the right-wing wacko disease.

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    @BBA:

    Andrew Johnson remains the worst president of all time for his unconditional pardon of the entire Confederacy from Davis and Lee on down, an act that continues to hurt America a century and a half later.

    …my entire worldview just leaped simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

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    Mel says:

    The succession list is a horror show. It’s a cornucopia of incompetenece, bigotry, crony culture, greed, ignorance, and malice.

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    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Mary G: I was going to mention this, thanks. Mental illness is horrible.

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    TenguPhule says:

    This scenario would suggest multiple impeachments or removals from office, again an unprecedented outcome.

    IOIYAR.

    I think your scenarios are all too rose tinted.

    Republicans will never fail to not do the right thing.

    The Constitutional Crisis is here, its real and the GOP is determined to make it worse.

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