by Justin Rosario
Remember way back, when right wingers were outraged, outraged!, at the "lawless" President Obama? They couldn't stop screaming about it and don't you say it was because they were racist because the right is all about law and order! His executive orders were a crime. His vacations were a crime. His use of the military was a crime. His tan suit was a crime. His back channel negotiations were a crime. The right was apoplectic over all of the criminal activity by this filthy black...errrrr...lawless president because they really do care about the rule of law!
Except, you know, when they're in power. Then "law and order" become more of a suggestion or a catch phrase instead of a call to action.
Since the second Trump was illegitimately sworn in, he's been violating the law and every Trump voter knows it. He still accepts bribes through his businesses, he's openly admitted he's tried to quash an investigation, and he's threatened witnesses against him. Any one of these would have prompted riots in the streets if articles of impeachment had not been immediately drafted under Obama. As of this writing, conservatives couldn't give less of a shit about it. What's a little Nixonian corruption as long as Trump keeps promising to build the wall and punish minorities, right? Independent voters, who don't pay attention expect for the last two weeks of presidential elections, are tuning the whole thing out by plugging their ears and screaming "BOTH SIDES! BOTH SIDES! BOTH SIDES!" because taking civic responsibility for their future is really hard and the season premier of Game of Thrones is coming!
But now that the investigation lead by Robert Mueller is expanding, it appears that some witnesses have been flipped and might be ratting out Trump and his co-conspirators in "Stupid Watergate." It's one thing to pretend Trump isn't being influenced by all the money pouring into his not-at-all shady real estate ventures, it's quite another when his own people admit that he worked with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. How to deal with this inevitable revelation? Employ what Kieth Olbermann calls "The Doomsday Defense": Don't admit collusion with Russia but say that even if it happened, it's not illegal and anyone saying it is is on a partisan witch hunt and it's all fake news anyway.
Trump himself is already, in his own clumsy way, trying to dilute the word "collusion" by tweeting about Obama and Hillary "colluding" during the election. Because working with a hostile foreign power is exactly like the mythical "cheating" that didn't actually occur during the 2016 primaries. That's not apples and oranges, that's apples and hand grenades.
But let's be honest here; the Doomsday Defense will almost certainly work. Trump voters literally do not care what crimes Trump commits because they long to be ruled by royalty and royalty is not subject to petty things like the law or morality. Republicans don't care because they will continue to pass their tax cuts and voter suppression laws. The Chuck Todds and Chris Cillizzas of the "liberal" media, still unable to find their spine, will wring their hands and blame "Washington politics", "both parties", and somehow heap some blame on Hillary while they're at it. Independent voters will start the next episode of Game of Thrones and sit out the midterm elections because politics is boring in between presidential horse races.
And that will be that. Even if the Democrats take back the House and the Senate next year, Trump will still be squatting behind the Resolute Desk like a bloated, rotting pumpkin. Sure, the Democrats in the House would vote to impeach, but Republicans in the Senate will never vote to convict. If Trump and his enablers on Fox News, AM Hate Radio and Breitbart muddy up the waters enough where the public ignores collusion with Russia, the GOP will pay no further price whatsoever at the polls for their part in keeping Trump in power despite his many crimes. Even worse, it's just as likely they would use the attempt to impeach to take back power by convincing the very tuned out public that the whole thing was just a petty attempt by the Democrats to overturn the 2016 election.
Assuming the human race survives the next several years, history will look back at this point and understand that this is when Republicans abandoned any pretense that the rule of law mattered; that this is when they fully embraced the end of American democracy in favor of obtaining and holding onto power by any means necessary. The most powerful nation in the history of the human race will be ruled by whim and id and corruption all because we were too lazy and easily distracted to hold our leaders accountable.
40 years ago, the nation was shocked to hear President Nixon say, "Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal." Now, we're about to shrug our shoulders and let a crook commit literal treason. But hey, did you see the trailer for season 7 of GoT?! Doesn't it look amazing?!