Wed | Nov 21, 2018

​Mark Wignall | Now cometh a more dangerous Trump

Published:Sunday | November 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Although it was not the blue wave that most sensible people wanted to see, the Democratic Party did what had to be done last Tuesday to secure control of the House in the midterm elections. True to his nature, President Donald Trump immediately misrepresented reality by labelling it a great victory for him.

In typical fashion, the president then lashed out in a snarl heard around the globe. Whenever things do not go his way, his immediate instinct is to harm someone or disrupt an institution or old alliance. His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was immediately fired simply because he had recused himself from supervising the Russia investigation.

Then in a bizarre press conference, even by Trump's standards, he threatened to take a 'warlike' stance against Democrats who are certain to open investigative and oversight committees as brakes to Trump's wrecking ball of a presidency.

After that, he ratcheted it up in a fit of obvious anger, like an out-of-control adolescent who is denied ice cream and cookies. Targeting select members of the press for the major sin of asking questions, he became combative and plain rude as people around the world looked on on as he took the office of the presidency to newer levels of debasement.

Certainly, even Trump himself must, by now, know that if, as he insists, he is not guilty of colluding with the Russians to swing the 2016 elections in his favour, he has nothing to fear in the Mueller probe.

So why take it out on Sessions? Simple. The scope of the investigation is wide enough to include increased scrutiny on Trump's financial dealings, and just about everyone knows his questionable business history followed him directly into the presidency.

The anger demonstrated by Trump has as its genesis a false mask where his style of hitting back at everything is anything but strength. It is, in fact, cowardice and weakness.

While he was a TV star in his hit series, The Apprentice, the persona of Trump was that of a strong and decisive boss who was unafraid to tell people 'you're fired!' without the slightest demonstration of fear. But it was all choreographed 'reality TV.' A well-sold fantasy.

In the presidency, it is an entirely different matter as reality catches up with him. In just about every instance that he has had to fire a senior staffer or Cabinet member, Trump has had surrogates do it for him. Earlier in his presidency, he called the Mexican leader and begged him to match Trump's rhetoric on the wall. Weak man.

Twitter gives him solace, and as long as he can hit out in cyberspace with an infinite wall separating his innumerable targets as he spews venom almost on a daily basis, he will continue to do so like the tortured soul that he is.

 

Impeachment will not be a priority

 

People like the feisty Maxine Waters, well aged like the finest California wine, is likely set to lead the House Financial Services Committee when the new Congress meets for its next session in January 2019.

A constant target of Trump, the California Rep. knows that she has certain qualities that Trump hates quite deeply. She is first a woman, then she is black, and lastly, she is strong, an attribute foreign to the president. Plus, she has been unafraid to rattle his chains with the impeachment word. Oh, how he detests her!

I believe that as the next Congress begins in January and wends its way through 2019, the reality of a new gridlock and oversight committees hovering over Trump like falcons, impeachment will become a lost memory. The removal of Jeff Sessions and replacing him with Whittaker, a willing stooge of Trump, will also occupy the minds of many senior Democrats in the House.

At the same time, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, whose unpopularity has not fazed him, will take his wrecking ball to the country's judiciary by packing the benches with raw partisans. As far as McConnell is concerned, his duties vis-·-vis Trump is 'hear no evil, see no evil'.

America has seen major reversals on voter suppression by the Republicans as the racial directions of the population are towards a white minority by 2050. That is a scary reality for many white people in the US, and that is the bogeyman that Trump used to win his way to the presidency and engineer its devolution since January 2017.

Too many white Americans do not possess the intellectual insight to recognise the antecedents of America as a nation of immigrants that has been made better off because of that very diversity. Maybe some were willing to learn, but with the arrival of Trump in 2017, the shortcut to hate was much easier than social and racial cohesion. Trump stirred it up, and they flocked to him as their new 'nationalist' hero.

A democratic-controlled House will have its hands full, especially with many statewide House wins in trying to revive voter freedoms and correcting the gerrymandering. Of course, we also have to bear in mind that politics is what politicians do, so as much as impeachment may fall off the radar, there will be some Democrats who will want their personal bit of payback.

 

When Mueller drops his bomb

 

Former prime minister Bruce Golding, made free from his shackles of JLP/Republican fraternity, has said that Jamaica would never allow any extended run of a Trump-like prime minister in Jamaica.

In this country, we may not know exactly what we want in our leaders, but we know exactly who we do not want: those who constantly demonstrate rudeness and runaway arrogance, like a Warmington-type personality. We would have carted away a Trump-like leader in six months.

The next big date with congressional shock in America is Mueller's report, but before that, there are many other targets that need closer scrutiny. The president's son and the president himself. Sore afraid to sit down in a question and-answer session with Mueller, an army veteran, the draft-dodging Trump knows that he would be putty in the special counsel's presence.

And before all of those considerations, a Democratic House has to move with speed to protect the Mueller probe. It could be that certain legal realities may delay any attempt by the incoming acting attorney general to act as a water carrier for Trump and decimate Mueller's budget, this leading to a neutered investigations.

Only about five percentage points separate those who support the Mueller probe and those who don't. The duration has worn heavily on Americans, and it has not been helped by lack of leaks from Mueller and his staff. Americans want excitement as those in the rural heartland tune in to Fox News and the 'globalists tune in to MSNBC and CNC each evening'. Nothing from Mueller.

 

Rock stars fall short.

 

The Gillum-DeSantis battle for the Florida governorship has disappointed many in this country that Gillum, a bright, articulate man with black skin, did not comprehensively beat DeSantis, a man with a questionable racial history, to the governor's mansion.

Then we watched the magic of Beto O'Rourke coming close to proving that the disgusting Ted Cruz can be toppled. Just not now. Stacy Abrahams in Georgia has also fallen short, but the possibilities for women of colour are on the up even in the down years of Trumpism.

By 2020, the GOP will have many more Senate seats defending than the Democrats, and a Democratic-controlled Senate will be more likely than in 2018.

Hispanic voters in Florida are not easily understood. Some are obviously disgusted at Trump's ease with demonising people of colour while others believe that they are white and are tied to Trump's belief system.

- Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs commentator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com