Lefsetz: Trump Resigns

How do you lose a Presidency?

Very slowly, then all at once.

This is not a new story. Trump has been flirting with disaster from before his inauguration. Sure, his base loves him, but as the Donald so famously said, if he shot a person on Fifth Avenue, they wouldn’t convict him. Blind devotion.

But that’s not the entire country.

And that’s not the United States Congress.

Now if you’re a student of the game, you know that public figures do their best to never go on the record, to never commit. Even Elizabeth Warren in the last debate…they wanted to know if her health plan would raise taxes…she avoided the question. Once you own something, you’re subject to the slings and arrows. And this works in both directions. Sure, you’re afraid of your constituency, but also you’re afraid of your record.

Despite a President who verges on being a king, who has eviscerated the concept of checks and balances in government, conventional wisdom is you can’t piss off the public. Not only the Republicans believe this, but the Democrats too. The Republicans are afraid they’re going to be “primaried.” This is the downside of gerrymandering. It’s clear a Republican is going to be elected, it’s just a matter of which one, and if you move to the center, if you’re reasonable, there’s a good chance someone further right of you will challenge you and emerge victorious. So you don’t say anything that will piss off your base…until you have to go on record.

I’m not talking about going on TV. TV has lost all credibility. Trump has been the greatest thing to happen to print, now app, journalism by the usual suspects. In other words, the NYT and the WaPo have triumphed, have increased their footprint, if they thought like techies as opposed to the old wavers they are, they’d forget about profits and think about mindshare, hell, you cannot turn on cable news without a talking head, left and right, quoting what writers in these papers said. I’d like to say the same thing about the “Wall Street Journal,” but at best it breaks business stories, it killed on Theranos, it’s done good work on WeWork, but when it comes to politics…Murdoch has turned the WSJ into a general interest paper, and as a result it doesn’t go as deep as it used to, now that it’s covering more. So, in politics, the NYT and the WaPo set the agenda. They write the news and the right reacts. The left thinks if it’s in the paper it’s enough, but it isn’t. The right reads the articles and immediately begins a blitzkrieg of opposition, the left just assumes everybody knows the story and believes what the paper says is the truth, whereas the right has demonized the WaPo and especially the NYT to the point where people on the right believe these outlets are biased and unreadable. And I won’t say either is perfect, but their opinion pages print both sides, which you’ll rarely see in the WSJ. And sure, I could complain about the NYT all day long, it is servicing its customer base, which appears elitist and backwards technologically, but when it comes to hard news, the NYT is the best worldwide. As for the U.S., Bezos’s investment has allowed the WaPo to increase spending and the paper has recovered, it was the WaPo that broke this whistleblower story.

So, it’s just been a sporting contest. For nearly three years now. Facts are arguable, if they’re even relevant, and Trump has stonewalled, provided almost nothing. Hell, Bill Barr declared that the Mueller Report showed no collusion, which was patently untrue, but he stole the Democrats’ thunder and owned the narrative. It had little to do with Mueller’s piss-poor performance live, the Democrats didn’t know how to play their hand. But even a broken clock is right twice a day.

That’s right, right wing spin on MSNBC is it was all Russiagate all the time, and the outlet’s clamoring turned out to be baseless. Bill Maher asked last week whether this hurt the Democrats, guests agreed with him, left wing guests, there’s little worse than a self-hating leftie.

But this whistleblower thing is something different. It ain’t a blowjob and it ain’t even a break-in, it truly comes down to national security and the sanctity of our elections. Are you really going to go against these things?

There are two wars, maybe three.

The first war is one of public opinion, which insiders oftentimes read wrong, they really don’t know how the people think.

The second war is the media. Believe me, elected officials pay attention. They’re all over cable news commenting and Trump himself is addicted. No one wants to look bad on cable news.

Then there’s the public record. Do you want to regret your vote that is registered, carved in stone for all time?

This happens all the time. Like with “Obamacare.” Forget the legal reasoning, Chief Justice Roberts didn’t want to own the destruction of a national health care plan that benefited so many people, that’s why his opinion was so convoluted. He knew history would crucify him. His conscience got to him, just as it did with Maguire, he could not take one for the team anymore, he had to say no.

So for now, the Republicans don’t have to go on record. They can bloviate in the press. They can even vote against an investigation in the House. But when it comes to a vote on whether Trump has to go…

They don’t want to vote, they’re never gonna vote, because history will show they were on the wrong side, they’ll be a laughingstock. Despite appearances, most Congresspeople are not stupid, they just act that way. And at the end of the day, they really only care about one person, themselves, they’re worried about not only survival, but legacy, and they also know politics has a way of squeezing out even the most loyal people, you’ve got to look out for yourself.

Since the House is dominated by Democrats, there’s an impeachment process in that chamber, and then it’s kicked to the Senate.

Only chances are it will never get that far.

This is not Michael Cohen, this is Bill Barr, other White House insiders, the whistleblower said there were ten people involved. So if they testify, if the Republicans go for this, it’s going to be a national scandal. They’re going to have to say they agreed to classify material that didn’t qualify for classification to save the President, that’s why they were all talking about it, that’s why the whistleblower heard about it. That’s right, being external, hearing it secondhand, was even worse for the Administration, because it implicates so many people. Are they all gonna lie under oath? Maguire didn’t. Just like the Mafia, when the government gets its hooks in you, it’s every person for themselves. Save yourself, forget everybody else. Which means…Trump is without protection.

And the information that comes out is gonna look so bad. Bad behavior and then a cover-up. The cover-up alone is grounds for impeachment.

So at some point in the process, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senators are gonna tell Trump he has to go. These people have no loyalty to Trump, only the right wing cause. Hell, some even ran against Trump and excoriated him! They want to keep their base and their office, but they figure this story will work for their constituencies, they’re gonna tell Trump to resign for the good of the country and the good of the Republican Party.

Oh, I can hear the resignation speech now… Trump bemoaning the attacks, saying he was the victim of a witch hunt, maintaining his innocence, but he’ll say HE’LL take one for the team.

All this hogwash about him never leaving…just look at his business deals. The banks foreclosed on his properties, he didn’t always win. He’s a big baby who will cave, and it will happen very quickly.

But it will be Congress who will push him. This same Congress doesn’t want to be burdened by, doesn’t want to be tarred by, Trump. They want the Republican Party to survive! A whole cadre of Republican intellectuals and leaders are Never Trumpers. They want to reclaim the Party from the far right. They want reasonability. They want a chance as the country evolves away from work with your hands and the dominance of Christian whites. That’s right, the future comes every day.

So, once the House holds public hearings, bad stuff is gonna come out. We saw this during Watergate. John Dean saved himself, lost his law license but said there was a cancer on the Presidency. Patrick Gray admitted he’d burned incriminating documents. Forget your agenda, if you just testify honestly damning things come out.

So yes, the whistleblower gave the inept Democrats, the fearful Democrats, another bite at the apple, and this time they’re going for a solid chunk. The news has always been bad about Trump, this is just the cherry on top. And despite what Trump says, it appears to be a lock tight case. Forget the spin, the spin has no chance against the facts, and the facts here are bad.

So at some point in the process, long before any vote in the Senate, Trump will be told by Republican Congresspeople he has to go, just like they did with Nixon.

And just like with Nixon, just like with this whistleblower complaint, it’s going to happen very quickly. I’m not saying that Trump is gonna be gone tomorrow, I’m just saying the tide is going to turn, when it does, very fast for the Republican Congresspeople, they’re going to be very supportive until one day…they aren’t.

So the system survives.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?


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