A Bang or a Whimper: If Trump Is Overthrown What Comes Next?
It’s a new year and the American cold civil war has shifted to its next phase with the Petrograd Soviet (formerly the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens), a/k/a Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives ensconced at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Pelosi leads the revolutionary “second pivot” and rival center of authority to the embattled Provisional Government headed by President Donald Trump, headquartered 16 blocks to the northwest.
As of this writing Trump is fighting for his political life. If he loses the Mexican standoff over the government shutdown and his border wall, he’s essentially finished. At this juncture, it looks as though he is prepared to declare a state of emergency and use Pentagon or FEMA funds to order the emplacement of a barrier as a military construction project. This is something for which he has the clearest black-and-white statutory authority under 10 US Code § 2802.
Nonetheless, if he goes that route, any such effort will be gummed up in the courts, just like his use of his plenary authority under 18 US Code 1182(f) to exclude “any aliens or … any class of aliens” whose entry into the US would in his judgment “be detrimental to the interests of the United States” – the germ of his campaign’s promised “Muslim ban” – was wimped down into supposedly “extreme vetting” of aliens from a handful of countries without much indication of what the “vetting” is supposed to filter. It’s likely such litigation would delay the wall or prevent its being built at all.
As of now, Trump states his preference to let the Democrats stew. After all, those immediately inconvenienced, such as federal workers and beneficiaries of some federal programs, are primarily Democrat constituencies. Let’s see how many more hysterical bleeding hearts like Cher pressure Pelosi to throw in the towel: “NANCY YOU ARE A HERO LET HIM HAVE HIS FKNG MONEY‼.”
In any case, as even Senator Lindsay Graham recognizes, if Trump loses this battle – one he should have fought a year and a half ago – “it’s probably the end of his presidency.” If Trump wins, or more properly he avoids losing, he only lives to fight another day.
And, fight he must, despite his defenders’ truthful and entirely irrelevant bleating that there was no Russian “collusion.” Notwithstanding Democrats’ tap-dancing during the 2018 campaign on whether or not they would seek to impeach Trump, right out of the box articles of impeachment were filed within days of the House’s changing hands. Trump’s disgraced lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen will testify before the House Government Oversight Committee in February. While the weight of opinion suggests that Grand Inquisitor Robert Mueller will wrap up his auto-da-fé in a few months if not weeks, that would seem to be throwing away a powerful synergy with a House that is just beginning to gear up for multiple investigations into every aspect of Trump’s private and professional life, as well as his kids’. Add to that New York State Attorney General Letitia James on the warpath against Trump and “anyone” associated with him. Given Trump’s years in the sharp-elbowed world of high-end New York real estate and numerous business enterprises, as well as the Trump Foundation, there’s no limit to the number of regulatory, tax, and other violations the putsch plotters will construe as federal and state crimes, the latter of which can’t be pardoned by the President.
In short, it’s now a question not if Trump will be impeached but when and on what accusations. Adding fuel to the Democrats’ determination to bring him down before he’s up for reelection is the fear that if Trump survives until then he might well win, something no other Republican is likely to be able to do given the GOP’s tin ear to working class concerns, especially in the Rust Belt states that were Trump’s margin of victory. If Trump is successfully removed before 2020, whomever the Democrats nominate will beat Mike Pence or any other Republican nominee in a romp. After that, especially if Trump’s wall hasn’t gotten built, a sufficient number of imported new voters, many of them illegal, will ensure a permanent Democratic lock hold on power.
When Trump is impeached there may not be enough GOP votes in the Senate to remove him – as things stand now. But never underestimate Republicans’ propensity to cut and run when the going gets tough. It is suggested that any Republican who votes against Trump would seal his own political fate. Don’t be so sure. Those not up for reelection until 2022 and 2024 (like Utah’s newly elected Senator Mitt Romney, who didn’t even wait to be sworn in to volunteer for the role of Brutus) will feel insulated. Besides, when the crunch comes establishment Republicans fear a harsh word from the Washington Post and New York Times editorial pages more than they do their own voters.
This is not to say that after impeachment Trump will be removed, just that it is well within the realm of possibility. But if it does happen, then what?
One anti-Trumper (who prides himself on “poking Trump’s meth-addled, under-educated fans with a pointy stick.” No elite contempt for the Deplorables there!) ponders whether there would be –
‘…a civil war if Trump is driven from office — e.g., conviction after impeachment, resignation, 25th Amendment -that depends on what happens after, and there is no denying there is a chance of it, but it is highly unlikely. Many — possibly a great many — would believe they were wronged by this outcome, but how many would take up arms, and start shooting? Very few, if any at all. Trump would leave, Pence would become President, and Pence would be given credit for calming and healing the nation.
‘There would be no civil war.
But what happens after? Suppose Trump is put on trial for criminal charges, and then convicted? Or suppose he is pardoned or let off the hook, and then begins a sore-loser populist campaign all over the country, complaining that the Presidency was “stolen” by the “deep state” and that Hillary and “fake news” are responsible? That is when we should reopen the question of civil war.’
Of course if Trump is forced out, it would be precisely a stolen election – in effect, a regime change operation of the sort the same US-UK Deep State has staged in so many other countries – abetted by the lying, fake news (no need for sarcasm quotes) worthy of the former USSR and the Democratic establishment, with the collusion of a substantial element of the GOP. But the improbable suggestion of Trump’s leading a post-White House rebellion one raises a valid point: if Trump were removed, either politically or physically, what – or who – would be the Deplorables’ rallying point? What or who would constitute the second pivot in what would then aspire to leadership in a new revolutionary situation?
The answer is not obvious. Those threatening various degrees of violent or even “gruesome” responses if the ongoing, anti-constitutional soft coup were to succeed never seem to address the question of what, exactly, the revolt would intend to achieve. Reinstate Trump, assuming that’s even possible? If not him, who – Ivanka? Where and how would pathologically law-abiding middle class Americans, many of them older and in questionable health, vent their rage? March on Washington – and do what when they got there? Torch the local post office?
Sure, devotees of the Second Amendment own more private weapons, so Trump supporters are better armed. But that may change as the violent Left gears up its own paramilitary capabilities secure in the knowledge that authorities turn a blind eye to their violence while regarding even non-violent civic nationalism as subversive.
Unlike the circumstance when the Constitution was adopted and private firearms were as good or better than military ones, there is no comparison today in delivery of devastating, deadly force. Trump himself seems to anticipate that the military would come out on his side:
‘“These people, like the Antifa — they better hope that the opposition to Antifa decides not to mobilize,” Trump said recently. “Because if you look, the other side, it’s the military. It’s the police. It’s a lot of very strong, a lot of very tough people. Tougher than them. And smarter than them … Potentially much more violent. And Antifa’s going to be in big trouble.” [...]
‘Some on far-right social media sites are all excited about what they’re calling “Civil War 2.0.” As documented by Dave Neiwert, there are various “Proud Boys” and “Patriots” living a fantasy version of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Country Boys Can Survive” almost entirely online.
‘“If they succeed in impeaching President Trump, then we will back President Trump,” one Georgia militiaman told reporters. “With a use of force if need be.”’
Well, maybe. In a conflict that would look nothing like America’s organized and relatively polite War Between the States (1861-1865) and more like the brutal communal conflicts in Yugoslavia (1991-1995), Spain (1936-1939), or Russia (1917-1922) estimates vary widely on how the military would divide. The same can be said for police forces, some of them heavily militarized.
Or perhaps the historic American nation, whose last-chance champion Trump was elected to be, would give up without a fight and submit to a tyranny that would, eventually, result in some even more fundamental societal collapse. Americans like to imagine ourselves as rough-hewn, freedom-loving, don't-tread-on-me rebels. But after decades of corruption and conditioning by politicians, judges, bureaucrats, educators, entertainers, media, advertising, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, etc., today’s Americans may well be among the most docile people on earth.
Maybe that’s how America ends: not with a bang but a whimper. Let’s hope we don’t have occasion to find out.