Theories about Donald Trump’s colluding with the Russians in the 2016 election are as plentiful as the 128,824,224 people that voted in it. We’ll find out who’s right and wrong soon enough, though.
But guilty or innocent, there’s a big, bad, murderous herd out there that wants to stomp him straight into the ground. The herd is sprawling and on the move, kicking up dust everywhere. And it’s comprised of all kinds of beasts.
Democrats livid at losing the White House and Republicans resentful of losing their party to an outsider. The media. Progressive lawyers and judges. Academia, Hollywood and anyone else who is still raging over a Trump presidency. And they’re all snorting and grunting furiously as they dig their hooves deep into the dirt, readying themselves for an all-out, frenzied impeachment stampede. This will be a spectacle for the ages.
Because trampling Donald Trump is how Chuck Schumer and the rest of the herd plan to retake the White House. You know the old saying; if you can’t beat him, stomp him.
Incredibly, just five short months into his term, Trump is already facing off in a high-stakes game of Russian roulette with the newly appointed special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. Special prosecutors are wired to find something bad. That’s their job description. And they have few constraints and unlimited resources which make them even deadlier.
Now, as Mueller and Trump sit down at the table, the world anxiously sits on the edge of their seat waiting to see if there’s a bullet in the chamber. But still, Trump needs to have actually broken the law and Mueller needs to prove it. And as Mueller readies his troops, Trump is preparing to do what he’s done for a lifetime in New York. Slug it out. He’s all lawyered up and working the back channels of Washington for whatever support he can muster.
I have to assume, though, that Las Vegas is giving him pretty long odds to win the fight. He has thousands of enemies and few allies. And there are a lot of very angry and powerful bulls in the herd, intent on getting back what they believe is rightfully theirs. And now, they’re outraged as hell and thundering en masse towards the White House.
But whether Trump is impeached or not, just being dragged through an excruciating special investigation in front of the entire world will likely be enough to assure Trump a single-term presidency. Even if he is exonerated, it’s hard to imagine being accused of something as shocking as colluding with the Russians, and then winning reelection in 2020. Today, thanks to social media, if you’re accused of something it’s nearly as good as being guilty of it.
Because the accusation is the headline that people always remember. And unlike the Watergate scandal during Nixon’s presidency, which only appeared on the 6PM evening news and in the morning newspapers, Russia-gate will be in your face, and on your iPhone, around the clock.
So, whether Trump is actually guilty of a crime or not almost doesn’t matter. The herd doesn’t care. They want him gone at any cost and are going to make a lot of noise. Because, here, in the post-truth era, a good outrage story in the news means people are watching and reading. And the media loves that because outrage delivers eyeballs. Watching Chuck Schumer or Tom Perez throw a hissy-fit on CNN or MSNBC over a Trump tweet insulting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama makes for a great news cycle. Real, fake, or otherwise.
Trump vs. Mueller vs. Russia vs. Comey vs. Flynn vs. the Democrats is the best pure political outrage story since Richard Nixon walked off the cliff in 1974. For the Republicans, if Trump is ultimately impeached, it will be the political equivalent of a nuclear reactor meltdown that makes the surrounding area uninhabitable for decades to come, or even longer. It will render the GOP toxic and unelectable in the 2018 midterms and beyond. And the herd knows it.
In the middle of all this, and just to keep things interesting, Trump is wreaking havoc on the other side of the Atlantic too. He just flipped the bird to our NATO allies and told them the U.S. is no longer the bank and to pay up what they owe. He’s not actually wrong there, but the delivery could’ve been a little softer. The European Union, in general, is outraged too. After a meeting with Trump the other day, Germany’s Angela Merkel lamented, “The times when we could fully rely on others are finished.” Then she added that the Europeans “needed to take our fate into our own hands.”
Closer to home, Mexico and Canada are watching anxiously as NAFTA hangs in the balance. Right about now, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto probably see Trump like the scary new neighbor who just moved in next door who they suspect might be a serial killer.
So, all is not well for Donald Trump. I don’t see how he can possibly win this fight. Guilty or not, he’s going to be publically gutted in the process and will be damaged goods not only in the U.S., but on the world stage as well. Unfortunately, history will remember him as the proverbial bad guy – the villain dressed in all black with the handle-bar moustache and the six-shooter. That story is already being written. Right or wrong, true or false.
So, the herd is growing and on the march. And irrespective of the outcome, just by virtue of going through an investigation, or worse, a possible impeachment process, the U.S. is headed down a jagged and slippery slope that, in the end, will only serve to further cleave the country in two.
Author: David S. Levin, Managing Partner, Nexus Capital Markets, LLC