A warning for President Trump


… from Michael deAdder in the Toronto Star.

But Janen Ganesh, writing in the Financial Times, says that “As the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz reminds us, there is no theoretical limit to the number or severity of crimes a president can commit, as long as the Senate falls just one vote short of the supermajority. The founders did not leave many things to the vagaries of politics, but the president’s right to govern is one of them … [and that] … leaves us with the most political of all forms of presidential defenestration. The election of 2020. Will legal and ethical stains cost Mr Trump in what Alger Hiss, that target of McCarthyism, called the “court of public opinion”?  … [while] … Counting against him is the sheer number of scandals. True, no postwar president has lost an election because of sleaze (even if Gerald Ford’s pardon of his predecessor, Richard Nixon, did not help him in 1976). But then no postwar president has been quite so mired in the stuff quite so soon. He still has more than two years in which to attract more suspicions of wrongdoing … [but] … Counting in Mr Trump’s favour is the fact that he never relied on a good name to win votes. Just because he promised to “drain the swamp” does not mean that people voted for him on that basis. He promised many things, of which the cleansing of a venal Washington came some way below the restoration of pride to the American worker. As long as he keeps up his stream of tweetable “achievements” on trade and immigration, his base seems inclined to forgive a lot. No one ever mistook him for a Narendra Modi-style ascetic. No scales are falling from eyes … [thus] … Whatever the answer, this is the question. The seriousness with which the US takes the application of its laws cannot fail to wow a foreigner. But Mr Trump’s destiny will probably come down to politics. The trouble is that he is confoundingly good at it.

While I, personally, welcome all the heat Mr Mueller can put on President Trump, because I really do think he, Trump, is unfit for any elected office at all, anywhere, I think the real solution is political. I would be immensely pleased if he was impeached by the US House of Representatives  and then tried and convicted by the US Senate and then tried and convicted in a civil court and sent to prison. But, impeachment or even incarceration will not  neuter the Trump Party, the fears and irrational grievances that drove tens of millions of Americans to vote for him will not disappear … the political system has to change in a way that will attract good people, again, to politics so Americans are not faced with another Clinton-Trump choice: to pick the lesser of two evils. In other words the American people have to rediscover their own values and American politicians have to be better at the “game” of politics than is Donald J Trump.

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