Old and too-tired to govern, Germany’s President Hindenburg struck a deal in 1934 that made Adolf Hitler, whom Hindenburg openly detested, the Chancellor of Germany; it would be allright, he was assured, because the ‘elites’ could control the lawless upstart.
We all know how that worked-out.
Hitler is merely the most egregious example of an oft-repeated pattern in history: The elites indulge a populist rabble-rouser, thinking they can control him and scoop-up his supporters, thereby solidifying their own power — and end-up being eaten. In the last century, in this country, Huey Long gained near-dictatorial control of Louisiana the same way, and he intended to challenge Roosevelt for the presidency. Lucky for us, though not for Long, he was assassinated before that could happen.
What all such cases have in common is hubris and a failure of character, overconfidence and willingness to make a deal with the devil for private advantage.
The Republican Party has done that in connection with Donald Trump, easily the most corrupt, incurious, and all-around godawful buffoon to ever occupy the Oval Office. They could have spoken against him more vigorously during the primaries — and didn’t. They could have refused to nominate him — and didn’t. They could have endorsed Hilary Clinton against their own party’s decadent and odious nominee — and didn’t. They could have refused to confirm his consistently embarrassing Cabinet nominations — Ben Carson? Betsy DeVos? Seriously? — and didn’t.
Donald Trump is a mortal, existential threat to the country itself — and the Republicans who neglected their duty, and continue to neglect their duty, must be held accountable.
Trump’s cabinet is so craven and obsequious that it seems clear that the country will get no relief by invocation of the 25th Amendment. Worse, they will undoubtedly point to the cognitive tests performed in connection with Friday’s physical exam as proof that Trump is sound, though the tests don’t actually approach the question of mental fitness for office. It is up to the Congress, then, to remove him — and it is up to us to demand without the slightest equivocation that Congress do its duty. We must explicitly, unambiguously, make the removal of Donald Trump from office an issue in the upcoming elections.
We must also demand elimination of the mousetrap in the Constitution — the Electoral College. Intended as a device to protect the small states from the large, and as a sort of backstop to assure that an uninformed electorate that knows next-to-nothing of public affairs could not install a cheap demagogue such as Donald Trump, the Electoral College did not merely fail miserably in 2016, it put the country in peril; it must be eliminated.
And, let’s be frank: A lot of voters failed their civic duty in 2016. They, too, are Trump’s enablers. They fell for FOX News’ grotesque and egregious manipulations, they were seduced by Trump’s overt malice, they ignored his overt lies, and they bear moral responsibility for the grave danger of Donald Trump’s tenure. They knew what Trump is; they were just so charmed by the prospect of sticking a finger in the eye of all those smarty-pants they dislike that they never thought to ask themselves what would happen after that.
Now we know, and We, the People, must act. We must remove those Republicans who have failed their duty and enabled Trump, we must refuse to support any candidate who will not publicly promise to remove Trump, and we must demand that the Constitution be amended to eliminate the Electoral College.