And just like that, the Trump Juggernaut was stopped. Yes, heâ€™s still President and yes, he is still out of control and still behaving like a cheap thug, but an election happened, and this one didnâ€™t go Trumpâ€™s way. Of course he claimed it was a huge victory for him, but the fact is that his Republican party of apologists and coconspirators lost control of the House of Representatives, and come January, he will be able to do nothing destructive via legislation, and will face a number of investigations into the suspicious activities that have marked both his candidacy and his presidency.
This is by no means the end of the Trump Era, or a solution to the incredible damage he has done to our country both domestically and internationally in less than 2 years, but the beginning of a return to political sanity, and the end of Congressional complicity in his crimes. In spite of Trump’s best efforts to marginalize and demonize them, over 100 women were elected to national office, a good sign that civility and accountability are back.
The President has been working overtime during the entire campaign, not as our Chief Executive, but as Campaigner in Chief, crisscrossing the nation to spread fear, racism and division, inventing even more outrageous lies and accusations out of thin air, designed to demonize both his political opponents and the free press. No natural disaster, no series of horrific mass shootings, no pressing official business in Washington and no rejection of his appearances by Republicans fearing the taint of his endorsement could persuade Trump to do the job he was elected to do, a job he finds distasteful and limiting.
At his frenzied rallies, however, Trump knows no limits. Everything is possible, every insane lie is plausible and every manic cheer for locking up his political rivals acts as an invigorating tonic to Trump. The more vicious the images invoked, the crueler his rhetoric and the more outlandish his proposals and lies, the better.
To hear him tell it, America is a nation being invaded by armed barbarians in league with their Deep State allies, determined to rape White women, kill their children and take away the guns they will need to fight the unspeakable tyranny of Universal Health Care, first rate education and shared prosperity in a nation where the wealthy actually have to pay taxes, where workers are respected and well-paid, and minorities are afforded the same rights and privileges as their White brethren (even those who donâ€™t love their vengeful blue-eyed Jesus!)
While Trump did not invent vicious political campaigning, he has perfected it into an art form that whips his beloved â€śpoorly educatedâ€ť into a frenzy of hatred, resentment and cruelty, people who bought into the laughable notion that it was (!) White people who got the raw deal in America. Just enough voters saw through Trumpâ€™s toxic division to put a stop to it by giving control of The House to Democrats.
With the chairmanships and majorities of every toothless enabling committee in the lower house of Congress passing to the Democrats, the days of overlooking Trumpâ€™s crimes are over.
Trump knows it too, since his first act after the election was firing his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him (at least temporarily) with Matthew Whitaker, a Right Wing TV commentator installed in the Justice Department as â€śTrumpâ€™s eyes and earsâ€ť at Justice, who Trump claims â€śhe doesnâ€™t knowâ€ť even though they met in the White House multiple times and Trump (publicly and recorded on tape) declared â€ťthey have good chemistry.â€ť (â€śgood chemistryâ€ť with Trump means a willingness to do his bidding unquestioningly, no matter how illegal or unethical).
Whittaker is a man who is on record as being hostile to Special Counsel Muellerâ€™s investigation into Trumpâ€™s Russian collusion and who wishes to undermine the importance of our court system, which always gets the final word on the legality of everything a president or Congress does, the Gibraltar of our Rule of Law. He is also on record as saying that every American judge in every court in the land should be “a good Christian,” a stinging slap in the face to both our Founders and American jurisprudence. He could not have more carefully selected an Acting Attorney General to try to kill the multiple investigations of and lawsuits against himself.Â
This move inspired 700 protests nationwide to â€śProtect Muellerâ€ť overnight in an effort to prevent Trump from shutting down the investigations into his alleged illegal activities both before and during his presidency. These protests coincided with the announcement that Mueller was â€śwriting his final reportâ€ť on his investigations, and the news that many sealed indictments would soon see the light of day in Federal courts in a dozen locations.
Even Mathew Whittaker cannot stop scheduled indictments or curb our court system, as was underlined this week when a Federal Court denied the Trump Administrationâ€™s attempt to destroy the DACA program by denying a path to citizenship to 700,000 young immigrants brought here as children and raised as Americans, and another court affirmed the right of American citizens and/or Congress to sue the president. To Trump’s fury and frustration, being above the law is still not part of a president’s job description.
That prompted Trump to declare via Executive Order that he will end asylum seekersâ€™ right to file for political asylum if they enter the USA illegally (after making it nearly impossible for them to enter legally), regardless of the merits or their case, once again raising the hackles of the United Nations, which reminded the USA that we are signatories to many treaties regarding the rights of refugees to flee imminent danger and seek a safe haven from warfare, famine, extreme violence and/or oppression.
This was a week where Trump decided, again without Congressional approval, to impose sanctions on Iran for imaginary violations of an international treaty, and threatening to punish our allies if they donâ€™t go along with his temper tantrum, even though they have stated that Iran did not violate the treaty. Bigly sad for Trump, allied nations and the UN simplyÂ do notÂ understand theÂ crucialÂ need for aÂ properlyÂ frightening Bogeyman when engaged in the politics of fear.
Trump also tried to schmooze US States heavily dependent on Chinese trade by sayingÂ he had â€śaÂ very good conversationâ€ť with President Xi Jinping about the trade war he started with China. He claimed China â€śasked for a dealâ€ť and that tensions were eased, all election season lies, and all of them immediately contradicted by the very people in his administration involved in these stalled negotiations, basically saying no “good conversations” had occurred, China did not ask for a deal, and that things are tense, angry and potentially destructive to American prosperity, best illustrated by the 94% drop in soybean sales to China that is crippling American soybean farmers.
And speaking of lying about agriculture, Trump lied (his lips were moving, werenâ€™t they?) about his new NAFTA replacement deal, which is basically NAFTA with some commas moved around and some very minor changes added that were previously negotiated by the Obama administrationÂ (why go through all the heavy lifting of negotiating again when you can just take credit for someone else’s work?), saying it was a windfall for Indiana farmers, manufacturers and cheese producers, but the truth is that Indiana is losing far more than it gained from NAFTA 2.0 to the punitive Chinese Tariffs Trump pulled out of his hat (or points south).
It was a week where his longtime close associate Michael Cohen revealed Trumpâ€™s vicious racism and called for Americans to vote for Democrats to oppose Trumpâ€™s toxic and illegal presidency, and a week where an American president banished a reporter from the White House for asking uncomfortable questions. He also threatened the upcoming Democratic Congress with “a war” if they investigate his crimes, by using the Justice Department as his personal political weapon (another serious crime for them to investigate and prosecute).
In short, this was a week that promised nothing but more uncomfortable questions of a President who has become the Gold Standard for corruption, racism, incompetence, division and yes, White Nationalism (and who did Nazi see that coming after Charlottesville?). It was not the overwhelming defeat of Trump many had hoped for, but it was a resounding and important defeat of seat-of-the-pants administration and rampant criminality.
Trump is on the run now, wounded and defensive. While they say wounded animals are most dangerous, cornered beasts are apt to take crazy risks and make mistakes, and now there is at least one House of Congress willing to counter those mistakes, and to shove Trumpâ€™s worst excesses back where the sun donâ€™t shine.
Given the infantile temperament of this toxic sociopath, things will get even uglier before they get better, but the “getting better”part has commenced, and Checks and Balances are back.
This president is on notice.