It’s Time for GOP to Finally Dump Trump…But Will They?

Monday afternoon the political and media establishment was once again horrified by a revelation regarding President Trump. This time it was reports indicating that, at best, President Trump is an insecure, bragging, adolescent, dipshit who allegedly gave highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office, which apparently could easily harm our fight against ISIS. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about whether THIS time the Trump house of cards will finally collapse, thus ending a national nightmare for about 55% of the our adult population. The answer to that question is no. This, based on what we currently know, is NOT going to bring down the Trump presidency any time soon. That’s not to say that this story shouldn’t have that kind of impact. There is not another president in my lifetime who could (or would) be under FBI investigation for his campaign colluding Russia, fire the FBI Director, and then give the Russians critical intelligence while in the White House the very next day, and still survive. And that’s even without the element of that president having been elected while promising to “lock up” his opponent for ALMOST allowing classified information to get into enemy hands. There are many reasons why Trump is currently impervious to these types of political earthquakes which would cause normal political careers to crumble to the ground, but which, when it comes to Trump, only shatter a few windows. If we take a closer look at what those are, we can also understand what it would theoretically take for the Republican Party to finally rid themselves and the country of this cancer. Here are the factors which allow Trump’s foundation of power to withstand this kind of crisis:
  • The standards and expectations for Trump’s behavior are already as low as a rational person can conceive of. Even most of his supporters aren’t really surprised by this kind of stuff, so much of it is already baked into his cake, which is designed to stay “fresh” with only about 40% of the public backing him.
  • Trump inoculated himself against any remotely suspect news stories by training his cult that anything which sounds bad about him must be “fake news.” No story, no matter how horrendous, reported by the mainstream media based on anonymous sources is going to move the needle much among Trump supporters.
  • Because he beat the evil Hillary Clinton, almost anything he does can be always be compared to what she supposedly would have done, which means that, to his cult, there is legitimately nothing which can be all that horrible.
  • This base of support is built largely of cult members who are completely emotionally invested in his success and therefore cannot even be forced to contemplate his failure. The Republican Party would get wiped out in the next election if they ever betrayed the cult’s King.
  • The has a media industrial complex (Fox News, Drudge, Breitbart, and Talk Radio) which is economically invested in him not being a failure and in keeping the cult from seriously questioning their King. Meanwhile the mainstream news media, having squandered what was left of their credibility after eight years of cheerleading for Barack Obama, has absolutely no impact on Trump’s base, except perhaps to have their attacks on Trump make his fans like him even more.
It is clear that nothing we learned yesterday is going to fundamentally change any of these factors. Fox News, as expected, went to extraordinary and rather comical lengths to either excuse this story or, in the case of Tucker Carlson, basically pretend that it didn’t even exist (come on Charles Krauthammer, you are better than this!) So, what would possibly break this dam currently holding this insanity together? Since it is now very obvious that the “conservative” state-run media, which would ordinarily be a natural place for such a spark to be lit, will not lead such a “coup,” (unless Trump’s audience goes away, which is very unlikely, especially since he is so good at adding dramatic plot twists). This means it will have to start from some other source, with the “conservative” media slowly following (Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge are the only Trump captains who have shown any real signs of wanting to abandon this badly leaking ship). The next logical facilitator of a Trump downfall would be a key resignation from inside his administration. One of the reasons I was confident that Mitt Romney would never be made Secretary of State is that it would have given him enormous leverage to resign in protest at almost any time and then declare the Trump presidency effectively dead. Ironically, I believe that part of why nothing like this has yet happened (other than the fact that we are barely over 100 days into this crapstorm) is that anyone who has the moral fortitude to make such a stand would also likely be so frightened by what they are witnessing that they rationalize staying. After all, if they leave they might be replaced by someone far worse and they won’t be there as a possible check on the craziness. This is one of the many ways in which Trump literally benefits from being completely unqualified for his job. However, should a Rex Tillerson (who is old and has tons of money) for instance finally found the courage to get out and tell the world what is really going on, I believe that it would have a huge impact. It would provide political cover for the many Republican lawmakers who already know that something must be done, but who are simply terrified of the wrath of the Trump cult and the “conservative” media. As long as this person told their story on Fox News, it might even shake some of the Trump cult out of their hypnosis. Before any of that is likely, there must be a news story where people can actually SEE something significantly negative happen and which can be reasonably tied back to Trump. The mainstream news media should just give up now on these stories which no real Trump supporter is going believe (assuming they even get exposed to it) where there is no immediate and very tangible damage done. Unfortunately, there is going to need to be a stock market collapse, a domestic terror attack, or a disastrous circumstance with our military overseas for anything to really change these dynamics in the near future. There are only a couple of Republican leaders with the makeup/profile to take Trump on and they have very little influence over his base of support. Because of the fervency of Trump’s cult, the bulk of the GOP Congress is never going to bolt on Trump unless they see absolutely no other choice, or something dramatic happens to reduce the size of the cult to a manageable margin. With Richard Nixon, it took Impeachment proceedings and Republicans like Barry Goldwater to have the guts to inform him it was time to go for the good of the country. Since (for now) Republicans control the House, there will be no Impeachment, there are no Barry Goldwaters, and, unlike Nixon, Trump has a cult-like base but no real regard for what might happen to the country. Consequently, while his hold on power is incredibly vulnerable to the impact of losing any one of his key links, unless something dramatic happens to provoke a chain of negative events, the Trump presidency isn’t going anywhere. For that, my fellow Republicans will eventually be greatly punished. This will be an outcome for which they will have nothing to blame except their own cowardice and stupidity. John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at johnz@mediaite.com.

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