Reflections on the amazingly unusual and disturbing American political process

13-10-19

Dear Partners in thought,

The Trump saga never ceases to amaze as there is never an end to what this unlikely President would do. “How low can one go” is the best way to describe his presidency at so many levels that we lose count – and get used to it, which is also very worrying. After having very clearly asked the Ukraine head of state to investigate Joe Biden’s son and very likely delaying military aid to Kiev pending his request being processed, Trump bluntly said publicly that China should investigate the Bidens, son and father. This latest development is clearly an effort to normalise unacceptable behaviour and making it seen as “business as usual” and not such big deal after all (so folks, really not impeachable). Trump just told us that the interference of foreign powers in electoral processes should be deemed “another day at the office” to borrow from his famous line about Boris Johnson’s parliament suspension rebuke by the British Supreme Court. The Anglo-saxon world is not doing well with the Australian PM and his assertions about the coal industry and climate change so he could be reelected, also knowing that his help was sought by Trump along the lines of China. And it would seem that Boris Johnson may have been asked to help his US counterpart too though in the blond brotherhood of “Twitterdum and Twaddledee”, to borrow from the Economist, this is once again quite “normal”.  

It is baffling to hear Republican-flavoured pundits and commentators trying hard to defend the President’s actions in total defiance to integrity and rationality. They know his actions were outlandish but will hold the partisan line before the national interest (as we see in the UK these days with the leading parties). It makes also one think about what would be “really” needed for Trump’s core base to realise that things should not be done by the US President however the populist and anti-elite message is pleasing to their ears. On that point I think we are coming to a point where we should all realise that “education” matters, not being afraid by that feeling and that perhaps people should after all pass a minimum test on key, basic democratic and constitutional matters before being able to vote. This might be an elitist take though the one man-one vote needs to be protected by ensuring that democracy is indeed strengthened and votes are more meaningful on our dark times. Food for thought, however delicate the recipe and even if the Founding Fathers would likely approve were they witnessing the current debasing saga.  

The Democrats finally went for an impeachment process even when House Leader Nancy Pelosi was very much against it on prior occasions, this to avoid the victimisation backlash of such a dire process. However there is a point when the number of “in your face” transgressions become too many and the basic principles upon which a country, which has been an opinion leader among nations, are trampled upon. There is a point where principles, unless they become lost, need to be upheld regardless of the political cost. It is right to impeach Trump after the latest blows to American identity and the Republicans (with which I identified for many years) should be ready to lose their souls forever (and likely their seats in the future, which in any case is not favouring them) or do the “right thing” and show the founding principles of their nation still matter. Mitt Romney is an example of that kind of Republican and someone who should actually run for the soul of his party in the GOP primary, which I always though he should.

It was interesting to see that it took Trump’s incredible backstabbing of an ally that went to war “also” to defend Western interests when he decided to drop his support for the Kurds as they were about to be assaulted by Turkey for senior Republican officials to raise strong concerns about core US foreign policy interests. Not only this move strengthened a dubious “partner”, formally a NATO member, but also an autocracy today but it showed that being an ally of the US like the Kurds were (actively when fighting the ISIS scourge) did not matter much in terms of being supported by Washington, all of this putting aside the likelihood that ISIS will be able to regroup, as if it was deprived of Califate land, it was never defeated, lurking below the radar in the region and continuing plotting cell-originated upheaval. If Trump thought that this move would take Erdogan away from Putin, he lost the big picture that mattered and endangered gravely US foreign policy interests, something even loyal Republicans, like Lindsey Graham (who was so much better a politician when his friend McCain was alive) could not stay silent about.   

One recent event on the primary trail may change the dynamics of the reckoning process for Trump. Bernie Sanders’s open heart surgery (not to mention his recent family loss that compounded a dreadful week) may not put him in good stead to continue the race with age and health being a very challenging duo now. If he leaves the race, his supporters will largely back Elizabeth Warren, which is closest to Sanders’s views. There is no doubt that this would help Warren win the nomination given the composition of primary voters and current polls where she already is taking a lead over Biden in early primaries. There is also no doubt that Trump would much prefer facing Warren than Biden so he could depict her as “a crazy old radical lady” which would play very well among his core male supporters. It is a fact that Warren, while beating Trump in run-off polls, fares far less well today than a Biden or even a Sanders. Food for thought, if the main goal is, as it should, to defeat Trump and get America and the world back to a real “normalcy”. However and having said all of this, even Warren would win against Trump today, which must make Mark Zuckerberg a bit worried given the Massachusetts’s senator plans for redefining a more “equitable” capitalism and breaking up Big Tech.    

Warmest regards,

Serge

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