33% and Still Falling. What Happens When Trump Burns Through His Base?

With his approval rating now down to 33% in a credible poll — a 7% slide in a month — Our Orange Leader has now begun burning through even his most credulous and reliable fans — namely white folks without a college education. More of them now disapprove than approve of the way he’s going about the business of “draining the swamp”, “rolling a hand grenade into the halls of Congress”, saving them from Sharia Law or whatever it was they wanted most when they voted for him.

With his recent blather about letting the cops rough up the “animals” they arrest, banning transgender troops from the military, restricting immigration to people who already speak English and (apparently) have lucrative jobs waiting for them in the States and sending alt-right centerfold Stephen Miller to defend it all, Trump has plainly been advised, most likely by Steve Bannon, that given the trend lines since January 20 he has to goose the enthusiasm of the hardest of his hard core and the hell with everyone else.

My concern, and I hear it echoing more frequently in recent days, is that with almost no one of any credibility in the government trusting a damned word he says, what happens when he, which is to say “we”,  have to deal with a truly serious crisis?

I’ve heard people wonder about a natural disaster like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy. But the country’s emergency response apparatus, connecting with state and local authorities, is self-directing enough to deal with that kind of calamity.

My real concern, and I heard it again this morning from fusty old John Podhoretz, the generally affable conservative pundit on “Morning Joe”, is this:  What goes down in a military situation?

North Korea tops everyone’s list, and for a lot of good reasons.

But my worry is that we haven’t yet reached the floor of Donald Trump’s unique combination of incompetence, delusion and cynicism.

Point being: As he — inevitably — feels more and more vulnerable to total, unequivocal humiliation and financial ruin as a result of the Mueller investigation into what has very likely been a career of money-laundering for Russian gangsters, he will need a major distraction. A distraction of the military kind that rallies not just his low-information base but enough tribal Republicans to temporarily restore “presidential” status.

A not so preposterous possibility is that Trump/Bannon will seize on some incident, possibly regarding North Korea, perhaps some place else, and ratchet it up far beyond what is required in terms of military response in hopes of rallying the fraction of the population so poorly informed and forever willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt.

Never mind the response from the 61% who believe Trump is the fool they’ve always suspected. The question at that point becomes what does the Pentagon do? I’ve mentioned this before, because we all suspect — with the highest level of certainty — that the best of the classified information not just on Trump-Russia but Trump’s psychology is available to and a regular topic of conversation among US intelligence and military management.

So … Trump orders a strike, not just with a bunch of missiles blowing up a deserted air base, but a full scale attack with actual, regular commission troops-in-harm’s-way on a purported enemy with an ability to strike back.

What happens when the CIA, Pentagon, etc. receives that order? Given the unprecedented amount of leaking aimed at ridiculing and neutering Trump politically, I think we’ve passed the point where career generals and admirals will reflexively submit to the normal chain of command. As I say, I’m dead certain they already know — far better than we do — what they’re dealing with Trump and Team Trump, and have every reason to assume Trump is too compromised and incompetent to be obeyed in a lethal situation with any level of uncertainty.

Perhaps a bigger problem is that professional terrorists and Vladimir Putin presume the same thing.




One thought on “33% and Still Falling. What Happens When Trump Burns Through His Base?

  1. Nothing is more likely than that we’ll have a shooting and/or “localized” nuclear war going on, because that is always what the GOP’s neo-fascists do if they sense their grip being loosened or threatened or challenged.
    Nixon escalated, rather than ended, the SE Asian war; Reagan launched the invasion of Grenada (!) to distract from the debacle in Lebanon; Bush Sr. conjured up the invasion of Panama to catch Noriega but then went on to Kuwait and Iraq, where his strategic decision to leave the local tyrant in place turned military triumph into a sort of stalemate—not such a stupid call in view of what happened when Bush Jr upped the ante & ignited the on-going mess.
    And since the Orange Maggot is both exponentially more dictatorially-inclined and exponentially more ignorant and exponentially more unstable than all of his GOP predecessors combined (even Nixon), and since there are no checks or balances left either in Congress or the courts, your prediction of “bombs away” and “hit the beach” as a scheme to rally everyone around the flag is as nearly a certainty as anything can be.
    Will the military obey orders? OF COURSE they will. Don’t kid yourself. The only precedent for not doing so that I can think of was McClellan’s insubordination to Lincoln, and the situation was radically different then in the face of an at-the-time successful internal armed insurrection; there’s also the MacArthur defiance of Truman which was the converse where the general wanted to totally run the show—and in both these instances, the armed forces in the end did as they were told. [One might argue that the mass defection of regular army and navy officers to the Confederacy in 1861 is the only historic model for a refusal to accept civilian control, and one would be correct, but since it’s the spiritual and political descendants of those traitors who are now actually holding the positions of lawful power and authority, whom would you expect to play their rebellious part in the contemporary scenario?]
    Notice the prominence now if General John Kelly as chief-of-staff. He’s the butcher previously in charge of military action to implement “drug war” action against Latin American drug smugglers. He is accustomed to deploying armed might against civilian targets; he is a hard-liner on prohibitionism; he has worked with that rogue agency the DEA in violating sovereignty, extra-judicial assassination, invasive surveillance, and other stock tactics of the “drug war.” So even if no international conflict offers itself as the rallying point for the Maggot’s political popularity, there remains the potential for a declaration of martial law against the numerous states which have repealed cannabis prohibition. This would be the pretext for military occupation of the West Coast and New England states and toss in some large cities like NY and Chicago and Philadelphia–it’s Trump’s wet dream. He’s already sending signals: “Go out and break heads!”
    there’s no more chance of the military and spy agencies openly disobeying orders, even irrational or unlawful orders, than there is of the Republican politicians ever really defying, much less impeaching, the Maggot. Since the diminution of Trump’s popularity STILL leaves both a majority, and a vocal (and literally well-armed!) majority at that, of the Republican electorate firmly behind Der Fuehrer, don’t hold your breath for any relief. Trump won’t “self-destruct.” Nor will his base diminish below a critical mass. Even if it did, he STILL wouldn’t leave, and why should he? Just write his own pardons, and on with the show.
    Until the passive collaborators–those who think they’re against Trump but don’t realize just how deep the disaster is, like the StarTrib editorialists–and those who think that the ship of state will somehow magically right itself because they don’t realize the gyroscope has been smashed by Citizens United et seq. combined with the calamitous effect of the “social media”—until they awake to the necessity for wholly committed political and economic resistance to the regime, the Maggot holds us at his mercy. And he has no more mercy than he has shame.

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