Trump’s Term Will Have Been Beneficial To America
No, the title is not sarcasm. As strongly liberal as I am, as much as I deeply despise Trump and his cronies and what the GOP has become, I mean every word of that title.
Trump has been the worst president in American history. Yes, James Buchanan has long been considered a strong candidate for that ignominious title, but with Trump’s flagrant disregard for political norms, his flat refusal to adhere to even a semblance of ethical behavior, his willful ignorance of the world around him, and his inability to pay even the least regard to presidential daily briefings (like, say, the one stating that Putin was putting bounties on our troops), no other president comes close.
Here’s a question: in all recorded human history, has there ever been a leader of a major nation who was not only this insecure, this ignorant, and this malignantly narcissistic, but also this stupid? Yes, stupid. The kind of stupid that considers reciting “Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.” a triumph of mental capacity. “Stupid” is an insulting word, and not one that should ever be used lightly. But here, it applies.
But as I said two years ago, if Trump loses in November, this overly-optimistic contrarian believes his presidency will still have been of significant benefit to America, and to the world.
Before burying me under a mountain of digital indignance and outrage at that last sentence, hear me out. First off, most of us realize that Trump is not the problem, but an obscenely bloated, stinking, festering symptom of the problem. What is that problem? A tragically toxic stew of racist outrage against the “browning of America”, nationalism that has forsaken the patriotic for the reactionary, religious rhetoric that utterly rejects actual religious doctrine, and greed that has been not just normalized, but made almost a requirement for public office.
Add to that mixture Reagan’s vilification of government, his rule that no Republican should publicly criticize another Republican, and his eventual kowtowing to the influence of right-wing pundits and preachers. Of course these problems existed long before Reagan. He just pumped them up with steroids and let them run wild.
These are the factors that led to the GOP we all know and loathe today, where tearing down the US Postal Service is considered a patriotic act; where there is no condemnation of a president who repeatedly states that he intends to stay in office after the two-term limit mandated in the Constitution; where there is no outrage against a president who not only excused the Russian president for placing bounties on our troops, but even pushed to have Russia readmitted to the G7; where during last year’s impeachment hearings, the GOP-controlled Senate knew that Trump’s campaign had colluded with Russian intelligence in 2016; where QAnon — the very fine folks who brought us Pizzagate and myriad other bizarre conspiracy theories — are increasingly accepted within the party and even by the president himself; and where after over 170,000 American deaths due to COVID-19, most GOP leaders still reject the measures that the epidemiologists keep telling them are crucial to get the pandemic under control.
Most reading this would heartily agree that another four years of Trump would be an unmitigated disaster for America and for the world. How, then, could his loss in November possibly turn the past four years into a benefit to America and the world? Read on.
The GOP is trapped in a fever dream. They — with the eager assistance of Fox News and countless right-wing pundits and preachers — have brainwashed themselves into believing that everything, absolutely everything that Democrats and/or liberals support must be evil/wrong/unAmerican/Satanic. No matter what we Dems do, no matter how beneficial our efforts are to America and to the world, Republicans have taught themselves to never, ever agree with us on anything. Climate change became a hoax. The longest economic expansion in American history (under Obama) became an economic disaster. The Russians became a nation that only wanted to help America and even supported the NRA. Mandates to wear masks during a deadly pandemic became a sign of out-of-control socialism and tyranny.
It’s as if the GOP has become a cult that lives in a whole different reality, one pushed and reinforced by right-wing media and religious figures, and where it is good and right and patriotic to despise and reject and even hate anyone who points out that the emperor’s clothes aren’t exactly as advertised. What happens in cults when one who speaks out against the cult, even if that person had been important and trusted for decades? They are rejected, vilified, ostracized — which is precisely what is done to any longtime Republicans who dare speak up. Witness the party-wide rejection of FBI Special Counsel Mueller, a lifelong Republican and retired Marine who had been awarded the Bronze Star for valor in combat. But the moment he began indicting anyone in Trump’s circle of sycophancy, in the eyes of most of the Republican party he had somehow become a willing tool of the “Deep State” conspiracy theory pushed by the sitting president.
If Trump is defeated — and if he can be prevented from canceling or otherwise nullifying the election and peacefully evicted from office — there will begin a constant drip-drip-drip of information showing just how bad Trump was. Within a few years, most of the Right will have convinced itself to reject Trump and Trumpism, and most Republicans will tell themselves that they had never liked or trusted Trump, that it was actually all those other Republicans who enabled Trump and believed his never-ending cataract of lies. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
What’s more, the Supreme Court (and our federal courts across the nation) will be prevented from being pushed ever further to the Right. Those openly embracing racism, xenophobia, and homophobia will no longer feel enabled and supported by an equally-bigoted president, and will begin to drift into the shadows once more, though certainly too slowly. Government institutions will begin to repair themselves, being once more encouraged to serve the public instead of oppressing the public. Our nation will return to our tradition of welcoming the tired, the poor, the wretched refuse, the very kind of people that did so much to build our nation over the past three centuries.
None of this will happen overnight, but once Trump is out of office for a few years, a great many Republicans will look back and silently ask themselves with at least a hint of shame known only to themselves, “I was a part of that?” Not all will do so — most will probably stick with the far-right nonsense they’ll continue to see on right-wing media — but I am confident that enough will come to their senses, that a sufficient number will leave the cult to ensure that we never experience another bout of national insanity like this in our lifetimes. It’s almost as if a one-term Trump presidency will serve as a political vaccine against the same in the future. It’s just tragic that so many Americans will have had to die, or had their livelihoods ruined, in order for the vaccine to take effect.
There will be a benefit worldwide as well. The concept of “American Exceptionalism” will have been forever exposed for the myth that it is. The “Free World” — the first-world democracies and the other nations most closely aligned with them — will know that they can no longer depend on America, that they can no longer place implicit trust in the American government, and so will depend more upon themselves. Indeed, the leaders of Germany and France are even now leading the Free World in the vacuum left by an utterly incompetent American president. Vladimir Putin’s malicious new form of imperialism — as evinced by his ongoing support of insurgencies in The Ukraine, Syria, and Libya — will no longer be emboldened by an American president apparently subservient to his every whim. Of all nations, the greatest beneficiary of the Trump administration has been China, who by his weakness and neglect has been allowed to continue to spread their influence unchecked. As it now stands, China will probably supplant America as the world’s dominant nation in a decade or so, perhaps sooner.
In other words, in the eyes of the world — and in the eyes of most Americans — America will no longer be a “shining city on a hill” as Reagan termed it, but just another nation, one just as fallible, just as vulnerable to human vagaries and foibles, as any other nation.
Trump’s destruction of American influence has left a great gaping vacuum, the very kind abhorred by Nature herself. As described above, other nations are filling that void even now. If the first-world democracies as a whole can successfully gain the greatest degree of the void left by the retreat of American influence, then the free world as a whole — meaning, combined with an America recovering from Trump’s attacks on our national spirit and identity — will become stronger as a direct result of Trump’s weakness and incompetence.
But that’s only if Trump is defeated in November. It’s not a given. Vote like your very freedom depends on it…because as every serious student of political history can attest, it does.