December 2, 2017

∴ Mueller Inside the White House Inner Circle, But to What End?

Yesterday’s plea by Michael Flynn puts Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation within the president’s inner circle. It gives hope to many Trump detractors: maybe the president’s days in office are numbered. Consider, though, for how many years Donald Trump has exhibited ill behavior with little repercussion.

Decades ago, his father and he were sued for discrimination against prospective African American renters at his apartment properties in New York City. After extensive litigation they settled out of court, admitting nothing. The issue went away.

Trump became a major developer in the Atlantic City casino industry, enriching himself even as those properties declined and entered bankruptcy. At one point he negotiated a deal with the bankruptcy court that put him on an income “allowance,” so poorly were his properties performing.

Today over half of Atlantic City’s hotel/casinos are shuttered, and the city is none the better for having dealt with Trump.

Trump wasn’t the only casino mogul in Atlantic City, or the first, but he was well represented by multiple properties bearing his name. None of their demise brought him personal loss; he side-stepped danger, leaving shell corporations or subsequent owners (read: suckers) shouldering the losses.

Trump is fond of saying he’s never declared personal bankruptcy, a way of claiming that for all his dealmaking he’s never utterly failed. To my point: Trump has always kept himself at least one remove from direct responsibility. There’s always been a patsy who took the loss as Trump skated free.

Michael Flynn is not a patsy. Flynn is a do-er, and a bit of a nut. He was dismissed from heading the Defense Intelligence Agency by President Obama. Fully aware of the import fo his actions, he’s going to suffer for what he’s done on Trump’s behalf, or more specifically for lying about it. I doubt Trump will be directly connected to these acts.

Press sources say that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was the “senior administration official” behind Flynn. Donald Trump Jr. has spent much of the early administration working behind the scenes, as has Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, in a questionable unpaid civil service position.

(It’s illegal for civil servants to volunteer time on the job. Letters to my Congressman and Senators about this contradiction went unanswered.)

These three underlings are prime patsies for Trump’s inevitable side-step from responsibility. My guess, admittedly not much of a stretch, is that Kushner falls first for his efforts at setting up back-channel discussion with the Russian government.

Trump’s fall, when it comes, won’t be by impeachment. I believe the man’s history of keeping himself at one remove from the potential line of fire will serve him again, and his minions will suffer while he remains to stand for re-election in 2020. It’s at that point the electorate will send him packing, and his sordid administration will slouch into history. Several of his transition and early administration officials will be tarnished, charged, or imprisoned.

Along the way Trump will succeed in blowing up the Republican establishment, losing the Senate to a Democratic majority in 2018. I’m not so sure the Democrats can mount enough of a challenge to take the House in 2018. I hope I’m wrong about that.

I hope, too, that through the 2018 and 2020 election cycles the Democratic party moves in earnest to shed its sclerotic leadership. The party needs new blood – think Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, and someone, anyone, with the sensibility of Bernie Sanders – to rebrand as the party of the people, not the party of loose affiliation with the well-heeled bearing a pleasant, liberal smile.

The way forward to a more just democracy lies in 2018’s statewide elections. Governorships and legislatures in the fifty states, the majority of which now lie in Republican majority hands, must be retaken by Democratic candidates. Only then can gerrymandered districts be redrawn in more even-handed shapes. A case now before the US Supreme Court may help in the effort.

The GOP as we knew it is gone. True fiscal and foreign policy conservatives would be well-served by regrouping and funding a new American Conservative Party. Among their primary acts should be jettisoning the social conservatism that Ronald Reagan harnessed as president. We don’t need or want the federal government in our bedrooms, or anywhere else in our homes or personal lives.

The future of American democracy need not be bleak. We’ve foolishly elected the worst of us, and we’ve seen their unprincipled acts. We’re one election away from righting our course.

#Trump #Republicans #USElections #shyster #MichaelFlynn #BobMueller

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