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Friday, January 20, 2017

Before the nightmare begins

In a few hours, the Orange Menace will assume the title of US President. While that will be illegitimate for a whole lot of reasons, the issue isn’t that event itself but, rather, what happens later. There are things that are known, many that are likely, and a few more that can be guessed. So, let’s make some predictions.

Don will raise his tiny hand to repeat the oath (the other hand, no doubt, behind his back, with his fingers crossed…) and will do so with historically low approval ratings. My first prediction is that he’s likely to get a post-inauguration “bounce” in the polls, but that will end up being his high point, as his rating fall, probably to never before seen depths of disapproval.

We know this because more people voted against him than voted for him, so he starts out with a very high percentage of Americans suspicious of him. He also will go back on his campaign promises every single day, and it’s inevitable that the people he suckered into voting for him will turn on him. So, he only has falling poll ratings to look forward to.

Assisting in creating his historic levels of disapproval will be the controversies that will dog him from the second the Chief Justice congratulates him. He will be instantly impeachable for his many conflicts of interest and his income from foreign sources, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t try to take advantage of his position to make himself richer. That’s corruption.

Moreover, there are continuing questions about the extent to which he and his campaign colluded (or possibly conspired) with the Russian Government to subvert American democracy to win an election he otherwise couldn’t. If he did collude with Putin, that’s treason.

Because of all of this, my next major prediction is that Don will resign within 18 months. That’s because with poll ratings falling dramatically, Republicans will want him out in order to try and keep control of the US Congress. They’ll also want their real choice, Mike Pence, to have more than two years to bed in before the next presidential election.

So, Don will use a typical failure’s excuse and say something about how he wants to spend more time with his family or something like that, and quit. If he doesn’t quit, Republicans will impeach him and remove him from office in the interest of self-preservation.

If Don quits or is removed from office, Pence will become president—it is the only way he could ever get to that office, due to his extreme far-right radicalism, much of which was devoted to turning the USA into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

However, if Don is undone by collusion with the Russians, then Pence will be, too, and both will have to resign or be impeached. In that case, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, will become president. If that happens, millions of Americans of all political stripes will breathe a sigh of relief, because while Ryan has his own radical ideas, he’s also a pragmatist and wouldn’t be a “damn the torpedoes” sort of radical president like Pence would be.

The reality is that if Pence becomes president because Don quits, and especially if it’s because he was removed from office, then he will be a mere caretaker, doing the titular duties until a real president can be elected in 2020. Don would be so unpopular upon exiting that it would be nearly impossible for Pence to be able to win election in his own right. That means that Republicans in Congress are unlikely to help Pence pursue his radical agenda, preferring to be seen as opposing him.

The bottom line is that Don won’t make it to the midterm elections because he’ll do too much harm to the Republican Party for them to risk it.

However, there’s also the real possibility that health will remove Don from office. The issue here is actuarial tables, that a man of his age can be expected to have health problems. One of those health problems could be severe enough to force him to step down. Or, he could just claim that’s what it is.

Whatever the cause of his exit, I still predict that Don will be gone within 18 months, 20 at most. If he hangs on beyond that, then Republicans can kiss goodbye to one or both houses of Congress. If he lasts past the midterms, whoever the Republican candidate is in 2020 will lose in a landslide, and Democrats will gain a massive majority in both houses of Congress.

Don is unique in US history, not just for being the most unqualified person ever to be sworn in, but also for being an illegitimate president who should not be sworn in (but will be anyway). As his poll ratings nosedive, Republicans will distance themselves from him, then throw him under the bus, and no amount of late night belligerent Tweets can save him. And that’s a very, very good thing.

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