Teflon Don

On January 23rd, 2016, then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump told a crowd of screeching morons in Iowa, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” 

At the time it came off as comic hyperbole audacious even for Trump. But from the viewpoint of 2017 it now seems depressingly literal. Over the course of his campaign, Trump made what would seem to be an endless series of blunders. I cannot count how many times Trump did something that, from the outside, looked suspiciously like political suicide, only to emerge from it unscathed. 

A man running for the President of the United States is on record as having tried to impress disgraced former Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush by telling him, "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” and "I moved on (Access Hollywood cohost Nancy O’Dell) like a bitch, but I couldn't get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything” and not only was elected President of the United States, but a majority of white women voted for President Grab ‘Em By The Pussy instead of a pioneer who would have been the first white woman elected President. 

Nearly every day my brain remembers some egregiously awful thing Trump did during the campaign, or afterwards, that should have gotten him exiled from civilized society, from mocking John McCain’s years being tortured in a Vietnamese prison camp, to mocking the mother of a Muslim soldier who died defending a country he loved but that increasingly sees people of his faith as nothing but a threat. 

And you know what? None of that shit seemed to hurt Trump at all. America saw the racism, they saw the xenophobia, they saw the scapegoating and arrogance and toxic self-absorption and lying all the time, compulsively, instinctively, because he simply cannot tell the truth. And a disgustingly large number of the voting population were okay with the xenophobia. They were okay with the scapegoating and arrogance and toxic self-absorption and compulsive lying because Trump promised to lower taxes and do something about all the brown people who were causing all the problems. Trump’s voters embrace his ugliness because, on some level, the ugliness within Trump’s soul reflected their own inner ugliness.

I lost a lot of faith in the American people on November 8th, although my faith in the American people, which was never all that high (growing up in a group home gives you an interesting angle on the American dream and our society as whole) had been sinking sharply for months before then. 

Trump has continued to do the egregious and unforgivable since his election. That’s pretty much his brand: egregious, unforgivable and cocky. Every day it seems like a new impeachable offense comes to light. Trump illegally colluded with the Russians to rig the elections. He fired the FBI director to prevent him from further exploring Trump’s Russian ties. Most recently, he seems to have gingerly disclosed confidential information to Russians because, why the hell not? In Trump’s mind at least, he can do whatever he wants, and if that means suspending the first amendment so those meanies at the Washington Post or The New York Times won’t be able to criticize him, then maybe that’s something that should be on the table. 

I have been encouraged by the many defeats Trump has encountered over the course of his Presidency, from judges shooting down his Muslim ban to the crushing and very public failure of his initial attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

These developments tell me that at least some of our institutions are working the way that they should. But I’m way too pessimistic to imagine that Trump will be impeached, soon or ever. Trump has simply gotten away with too much for too long for us to properly hold him accountable for what Trump himself might call his many “bad deeds.”

That Trump’s approval rating remains so high among Republicans and the people who voted for him leads me to believe that it would take a whole lot more than the egregiously awful things he seemingly does every day to get him impeached. I just don’t have that kind of faith in American politicians or in the American political system. Hell, there’s a big part of me that thinks that Trump will get reelected. 

I desperately hope and pray that I’m wrong, but I suspect that, true to his word, The President could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and his approval ratings would only dip a point or two among the true believers for whom the President is the real Teflon Don, and nothing he does or says can hurt him. 

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