The Party of Faust

Further evidence of “collusion” between Trump associates and the Russian government is irrelevant to the question of whether Trump should be removed from office. Trump is already a traitorous threat to national security because of his disturbingly pro-Russian bend, which has raised constant questions of whether he is compromised. A real patriot and commander-in-chief would punish and rebuff Russia in the face of its startling attack on our election infrastructure. Dozens of states had their voting systems hacked. Dozens of US citizens were targeted to try to aid Trump in the election. And while there is no evidence votes were tampered with, Trump refuses to acknowledge this brazen assault on the very core of our democracy. Instead, he proposes a joint cyber-security task force with Putin, which is akin to establishing an anti-terrorism task force with Al-Qaeda. The administration has actively been trying to lessen sanctions on Russia (levied for both war crimes in Crimea and election hacking), and is in the process of trying to give back Russian compounds seized in response to their election interference for absolutely nothing in return. Trump is stabbing this country in the back because he views reports of Russian meddling as a threat to his legitimacy and his perverse affinity for corrupt Russian oligarchs and tyrants. Whether the Russians have further dirt or leverage on Trump is unproven but by no means is out of the question.

Treachery aside, what a sad state of domestic affairs.

Who could have predicted that a man who has shown a pattern of unbelievably racist behavior his entire life would fail to condemn Nazis? Who could have the foresight to know that a man who views his illiteracy and ignorance as a virtue would be incapable of governing, putting forth meaningful policy, or advancing a competent agenda? Who could have had the wisdom to see that the temperament and intellectual capacity Trump displayed everyday of the campaign would be horribly corrosive to our government and public discourse?

The Republican Party time and time again has haphazardly sidestepped around Trump’s most bigoted and ignorant rhetoric. “Textbook racism,” was the exact phrasing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan chose to describe Trump’s absurdly racist attack on a federal judge during the campaign. Or remember when video surfaced of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women? Representative Jason Chaffetz, famously said after the video surfaced that he could “no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president.” But then he went on to vote and support Trump anyway. The GOP understood from the beginning that Trump was a buffoon. But he conned a sufficient chunk of Republican voters admist a weakness in the Party into thinking he represented a change in conservative politics, and the GOP thought they could at least make him a useful buffoon.

Trump has already admitted to obstruction of justice in the firing of FBI director Comey. His staggering level of corruption is unprecedented in the modern age of the presidency. His moral terpitude is sadly the only thing that can garner universal condemnation lately. The groundwork for his impeachment is therefore already laid, and he could be gone tomorrow at the behest of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell if they so choose. But the Republican Party made a Faustian pact with Trump, bargaining the integrity of our democratic institutions, our trust in government, and our national welfare so that they could achieve their legislative dreams of cutting taxes for the wealthy and gouging the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. They will ignore the totally bankrupt foundations of the administration they helped put in power because to challenge Trump now would immediately jeopardize their congressional majorities and hold on the presidency. And so they will tolerate everything Trump does so long as they can use him as a rubber stamp to do whatever it is they please.

But the rot of the Trump administration is only a symptom of the state of the Republican Party itself, and the damage to the party and conservative intellectualism being wrought by Trump’s presence on a daily basis will only get worse, not better with time. I fully understand the politics of the Party to support Trump. I fully understand the rationale of citizens voting for Trump despite the obvious flaws. But it is now more than ever a morally and intellectually compromising hazard to support him.

If conservatives really cared for the future of the country, they would abandon Trump before he further erodes the foundations of our government, or worse, before he blusters into nuclear war. The dysfunction we are witnessing in this White House is almost entirely self-imposed. It can and probably will get much, much worse. How does one describe the disgusting state of the Grand Old Party as anything but a disgrace? How did the party of Reagan come to support an individual behaving so treacherously with Russia? How did the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower come to this?

If politics reflected a proper Greek tragedy, a demonstrably evil person cheating their way to an undeserved position in life like Trump would invite a catastrophic fall from grace accompanied by some weird eternal torture. I hope Trump lives forever to serve as an ever-present warning and symbol of  everything wrong in the world.  And if there is any concept of justice left in our government, Trump will face the music long before his term is up.

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