What's Tony Thinking

A Trump Tipping Point?


This feels different.

There have been crises, scandals, and travesties a-plenty for these three plus years. The years of Trump’s campaign and term in office. We have wondered what the impact of various episodes, lies and outbursts would be. They have proven, almost always, short term in their impact. Washed away in the next tide of crises and mendacity.

But right now feels, at least to me, different. As if the force of gravity, strangely suspended for these last several years, has somehow reasserted itself.

Or, to use a different metaphor, it’s as if there’s finally just too much stuff behind the dam for it to keep holding. The leaks are popping out all over. Stuff is starting to spill over the top of the dam of Trumpworld.

The signs are many and various. No one, it seems, is willing to be Trump’s Chief of Staff. Mick Mulvaney, the administration’s utility player, has been pressed into service. Meanwhile, the list of those who have said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” lengthens. Chris Christie gets his revenge.

The stock market, once hyped as the sure sign of the Trump’s genius, is marking its lowest period since 2015. The artificial stimulus of the 2017 tax cut is wearing off, without any of the promised long term positive impacts.

Meanwhile, the Senate has rebuked Trump by rebuking the Saudi’s and crown prince MBS. They would not join Trump in looking the other way. Good for them.

Then the investigations and indictments, charges and convictions seem to be coming so rapidly one after another that you wonder how long the dam can hold.

Even Orin Hatch — who appears more zombie-like, albeit immaculately attired, by the day — has recanted after professing dis-interest in the criminal charges being lodged against the President. Are the Republican’s slipping? Are they becoming less afraid of Trump?

One day Trump says he did nothing wrong, and that he never told Michael Cohen to do anything illegal. The next day White House lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who is playing troll to Hatch’s zombie, says, “Well, these kinds of pay-offs aren’t very big-deal crimes anyhow.” He would know.

In the New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg did an excellent summary of the growing list of indictments and convictions of Trump staffers and cronies. The wheels of justice are turning. If slower than one might wish, still they are turning.

For a long time it had seemed there were no consequences for Trumpian corruption and incompetence. Somehow, he was getting away with it. As if gravity had ceased. But things are starting to turn. What goes up, does comes down. There are, it would seem, consequences for breaking the law and repeatedly flaunting norms of basic human decency.

Is this time different? It feels so to me. Time will tell.

And what then? I’ve never been wild about impeachment, partly because of the difficulty posed by the Republican Senate, but also because I wasn’t so sure I wanted Pence established and in place for the 2020 election.

I like to read mysteries, even though “mystery” is actually a misnomer for the genre. A true mystery, the kind theologians and mystics ponder, does not have an answer or a solution. By definition.

But leaving that to the side for the moment, the mystery genre appeals to some of us because, while acknowledging the dark side of life, there is a way in which justice eventually does win out. Evil is real, injustice too, but in the end, we live in a moral universe. In this Christian faith and mysteries agree.

It appears that justice is beginning to assert itself and perhaps bringing an end to this nightmarish chapter in American life. A lot of people have been working very hard for a long time to make this happen. We are in their debt.

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