Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The beginning of the end?

In a sane country, today's indictments of Trump aides on tax evasion, money laundering and perjury charges would be the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency. The usual process of plea bargaining and providing information for reduced sentences, combined with the high likelihood that one of the three has already been wearing a wire for the past few months, should see further prosecutions of those closer and closer to Trump. Eventually, he'll either be directly implicated, he'll do something stupid and force impeachment, or he'll resign under the sheer political pressure of having appointed so many crooks. Either way, you wouldn't expect him to be running in 2020.

Except that the US isn't a sane country. Impeachment requires Republican members of Congress to fear losing their seats, but the Republican base doesn't give a shit about political hygiene. And resignation requires shame - something which has long been absent from US political culture. Even if Trump is directly implicated and brought to trial, he'll paint the entire thing as an establishment conspiracy and brazen it out. And US political culture is so sick that he may very well get away with it.

In other words, we're about to find out whether US democracy is salvageable. I hope that it is, but sadly no-one ever went broke thinking the worst of the American people.