3 Ways Forward For Trump

Looking beyond Flynn, it seems like there are three ways forward.

First, status quo: we have four years of this stand-still, in which a dysfunctional presidency keeps the entire nation in a permanent state of high drama and anxious alert, punctuated by the occasional act of brutality without a lot getting done.

Second, someone takes charge: either a James Baker-type fixer is brought in to stabilize the White House and regularize its operations so that Trump has the semblance if not reality of a functional presidency OR the Republican leadership steps in and figures out a way to sideline Trump either through resignation or impeachment.

Third, war.

I don’t see any other options. Am I missing anything?


  1. SteveLaudig February 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm | #

    If I were to place in order of likely I’d war; daily drama spinning around in one place; Baker/Adult; impeachment.
    Besides we already have a “war” it’ll just ramp up somewhere. We do have front row seats for the musical-tragio-comedy “End of Empire”.

  2. C. G. Estabrook February 14, 2017 at 8:18 pm | #

    There’s another possibility: Trump lives up to the campaign promises that got him elected. He is the first major party candidate in 40 years to criticize the neoconservative (more war) and neoliberal (more inequality) policies followed by all recent administrations (and the putative Clinton administration).

    The neocons feared he meant what he said about anti-interventionism (cf. Russia, Nato); the neoliberals (or some of them at least), about anti-globalization (cf. TPP, Nafta). They’ve worked desperately since the election to drag the new administration back into orthodoxy on these matters; they may succeed.

    • Tom February 14, 2017 at 8:35 pm | #

      Yeah, Mnuchin-Cohn-Ross-Tillerson, that’s exacly the team you’d get together to roll back neo liberal inequality. e_e

  3. jonnybutter February 14, 2017 at 8:34 pm | #

    They’ve worked desperately since the election to drag the new administration back into orthodoxy on these matters; they may succeed.

    I would be amazed if they did not succeed. It helps a lot that Trump himself doesn’t seem to care one way or the other. And even if he were a politician with unshakable ideological convictions…bwa ha ha. Extra pointless to finish that sentence, innit?

  4. Stephen Zielinski February 14, 2017 at 8:42 pm | #

    Four: A terrorist attack, economic crisis or civil strife trigger the implementation of a martial law regime. This need not include Trump.

  5. gracchibros February 14, 2017 at 9:05 pm | #

    No Corey, I think you have the basic dynamics correct; the nation under current circumstances is “ungovernable.” Of course, we were approaching that state 2008-2010, a form of Republican “nullification” …and it extended to the remarkable act of leaving the vacancy on the Supreme Court open throughout 2016.

    I would add to your list the possibility of another financial crisis, triggered by an economic or diplomatic event which leaves everyone shaken. I was reminded of that by a review of my notes on Satyajit Das’ 2016 book “The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth is Unattainable and the Global Economy is in Peril.”

    An economic crisis, a serious one, would be a problem even if Obama/Clinton had won a third term, because the Congress would most likely still be in Republican Right hands. And that’s where the 1930’s European scenerio, a la Karl Polanyi comes in: there would be no consensus in Congress on what to do…a crisis over the role of Government…it is not clear that Trump has won the conservatives over to his infrastructure ideas, tax cuts and military expansion…that would be the only proposal that might have a chance…but the structure would be more like an inverse New Deal…no dealing with climate change or reaching the unemployables with criminal/drug records…no Green CCC or WPA…

  6. LFC February 14, 2017 at 9:29 pm | #

    I think it’s still too early to say precisely how things re the Trump admin will shake out.

    This particular drama over Flynn, unless the Senate Intel Cte or other investigation produces new revelations, may be largely forgotten by next month.

    It remains to be seen how the admin will decide to go vis-a-vis Russia, which is now apparently openly violating the 1987 INF treaty by deploying a land-based cruise missile(s). That’s not a small thing, just as its moves in Crimea and Ukraine (and actions in Syria) are also not a small thing. It’s possible that Trump and Putin could strike some kind of bargain in which existing tensions are reduced and the two sides execute a maneuver in which the U.S. recognizes that Russia has certain legitimate interests in its ‘near abroad’ and in return Russia agrees to stop meddling in U.S. elections and modify other aspects of its behavior. Not holding my breath for that outcome, though.

    • lagarita February 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm | #

      Putin has been pretty open about the fact that, since Russia can’t afford to counter US ABM system deployments with its own ABM systems, it would seek to overcome any ABM system with more missiles. Since ABM systems are useless against cruise missiles, it makes sense that they would focus on increasing cruise missile deployments in spite of violating the INF treaty. So, this development can be seen as a logical consequence of US withdrawal from the ABM treaty and US deployment of ABM systems in eastern Europe.

      • LFC February 14, 2017 at 11:49 pm | #

        I take the point, but maybe Russia in that case should have gone through the process of formally withdrawing from the INF Treaty (the way the U.S. under G.W. Bush formally withdrew from the ABM treaty [which I think was a mistake, but water under the bridge]).

  7. Thomas Rossetti February 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm | #

    Blood is in the water. McCain and Graham and all of other victims of Tump’s personal abuse are going to have there day. The end is coming for Trump sooner than later. He made an enemy of the embeded national security bureaucracy. He is going down.

    • LFC February 14, 2017 at 11:55 pm | #

      The national security bureaucracy, partly precisely b.c it is a bureaucracy (16 different agencies, or something like that), is not well-positioned to stage a coup. I see that as very, very unlikely. Trump may be “going down,” as you put it, but to conclude that he is on the basis of his chaotic opening weeks is very premature.

  8. Chris Morlock February 14, 2017 at 11:43 pm | #

    No one seems to realize the push-back against the illegal actions of the intelligence community to perform a coup. Glenn Greenwald has a great article up about the implications, although he defends it as whistle blowing. I can understand that concept but it seems painfully obvious that there is nothing but political animosity driving the illegal leak, not a sense of “public needs to know” ideology.

    The “irrational exuberance” of the left against the Trump admin and the favoring of a left wing tea party is dangerous and ultimately doomed to failure. We need to keep our principles and focus on real issues and stop the red baiting and Russian propaganda. Although it seems like the intelligence community is for once on our side this is a dangerous assumption.

    Ask yourself what happens after a Trump presidency is impeached. There are far worse things that can happen, including a full fledged blank check given to corporate dems to rule for the foreseeable future.

    • fosforos17 February 15, 2017 at 12:00 am | #

      What you’re missing is the 25th amendment. Pence, Tillerson, and Mattis (with a nod from Roberts) could remove Trump *at any moment* for mental instability and take power for themselves. In total legality.

    • LFC February 15, 2017 at 12:12 am | #

      No one seems to realize the push-back against the illegal actions of the intelligence community to perform a coup.

      I’m sorry to be snarky, but I don’t know what this sentence means. What is “the coup” in question? What “illegal actions” are you referring to? If the leaking is the illegal action you refer to, it did not result in a coup, b.c forcing a national security adviser to resign does not constitute a coup d’etat.

      Flynn should not have talked about sanctions w the Russian ambassador. It’s a no-no to do that before your prospective boss, the president-elect, has been inaugurated, Then Flynn made things worse apparently by denying to people, including Pence, that he had talked about sanctions. Then Pence went on the talk shows and defended Flynn on the basis of those false assurances; no wonder Pence is pissed off (esp. since apparently Trump knew about this well before he did).

      That said, the heavy breathing and huge-type headlines about this seem to be overdoing it. Someone did some foolish things, they came to light, he resigned. From the 18-zillion-point headlines in WaPo, you’d think this kind of thing had never happened before. It has, numerous times, not in these exact details but in the basic plot line. People are human, they get intoxicated by the prospect of power, they do stupid things. Oldest story in the world.

    • Carolyn Doric February 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm | #

      “The “irrational exuberance” of the left against the Trump admin and the favoring of a left wing tea party is dangerous and ultimately doomed to failure. We need to keep our principles and focus on real issues and stop the red baiting and Russian propaganda……”

      Understand the Russia focus may be over the top, but what path for the ordinary citizen is an alternative to the Indivisible model?

      • Chris Morlock February 16, 2017 at 9:28 am | #

        How about actually allowing Trump to fail. I have zero doubt in my mind that his idiocy will lead to awful policies and awful outcomes. He’s already very close to looking the buffoon outside of the CIA’s Russian narrative. Give the man time to turn his fraudulent economic miracle into the dismal bubble it’s destined to be.

        When the same red state working class people realize their lives are no better or worse off in 6 months to a year, we will have them voting for Bernie with us. The only thing that is gained from an early Trump impeachment is a corporate democrat win in 2018 and 2020. President Booker or such…………

        • Carolyn Doric February 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm | #

          The consequences of Trump Unleashed without opposition are catastrophic to the least among us……to civil rights and voting rights and reproductive rights, not to mention climate change and polluting deregulation, and privatization to everything to corporate greed. That is why I think pushback is imperative, even if it merely it is merely an inconvenient stone in the heel of politicians that enable Trump’s policies. No irrational exuberance here, everybody I know that is active expects to be in it for the long haul, and face many disappointments.
          Seems to me a given that Trump’s economic policies will ultimately fail, but Wall Street is salivating mightily, so what do I know. Trump’s followers are mostly a lost cause, walking bags of Fox propaganda, and nothing but the most direct personal consequence (loss of healthcare for instance) will change their admiration for a lying buffoon. The consequences of history will take its time, we just want to bend the arc. As Rev. Barber says, standing down is not an option. Perhaps because I hate/fear the GOP more than Democrats (acknowledging their collusion is catastrophic), I’m fueled more to turn the screw there, but Dems are not forgotten, not at all. The old argument to trust them, that they will save us from the worst the GOP will do no longer has much of a following.
          Clearly Pence is the GOP insurance policy. I held a hope that Pence would be damaged if Trump is impeached; less so if he resigns. Pence is relatively sane, in his religious right madness. Point taken that he could do a lot more competent damage. So while it may be necessary in the big picture to endure the nation and world the plaything of a malignant narcissist, hoping the consequences break the GOP nightmare and corporate ownership of government, that is no reason not to resist with every ounce of our being, knowing that history may not bend unless a whole lot of us stand in its way as the forces that move it swirl around.
          I have no idea what will happen, but it helps to keep perspective that people are talking about those forces.

          • Chris Morlock February 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm | #

            Pence is sane, and for TPP. Welcome to another Bush presidency. I for one think it’s a big downgrade, at least Trump has killed what no corporate shill politician has been able to do for 40 years, right or left. It was a big progressive win that most true progressives, including Sanders, has acknowledged.

            Installing Tom Ryan is when I start marching in the streets, for sure. End of the world.

            Any disdain for middle American white working class Trump supporters is exactly why the left and the Democrats lost. The attitude of beyond redemption needs to be stomped out of the progressive narrative right now, no mercy. This kind of anti-working class attitude is counter to the ideals and bedrock identity of social democracy.

          • Carolyn Doric February 16, 2017 at 6:02 pm | #

            Yes, Pence is sane, and it may become increasingly apparent Trump is not. These questions may be a moot point in the end…..yes, Pence may be more effective, and trump the better choice if he is ineffective. And doesn’t blow up the world. On the other hand, all the consequences we noted earlier may well come to pass, with or without Trump, if the GOP is not strenuously resisted.

            As for you other points, my judgement of those indoctrinated by GOP propaganda is based on direct experience with family and friends who are enthusiastic Trumpeters, some because of Party loyalty, some because of abortion, some because of racism, some for tax cuts and selfishness……..NOT ONE of them has ever been nudged from their viewpoint one iota…..and I no longer try….one cannot have a discussion with people whose minds are closed to any other viewpoint.
            My argument is that there is a reason for that, and the cause is deep right wing indoctrination.

            I am working class myself, have never been any kind of elite, and know very well all the ways social status is used to demean people. I’m not likely to sit down and shut up upon request.
            Many of my working class family and friends are lifelong progressives, but our support for Sanders doesn’t necessarily translate into a well-defined ideological path forward. I’d rather follow Sander’s lead myself.

            I will leave it to better people than me to reach the working class who defend Trump. I suspect it is only personal experience that will finally get through. I am not an organizer or involved in outreach: these thoughts are opinions nothing more. IMO The exchange of ideas is an free exchange, not a soapbox, and so it is best this exchange is ended.

  9. Brett February 15, 2017 at 12:30 am | #

    Door #1. The congressional Republicans appear willing to avoid any oversight or push-back on Trump as long as he’s still willing to pass upper-class tax cuts and restrict reproductive rights. As long as that’s the case, there won’t be any side-lining of Trump.

  10. Tom2 February 15, 2017 at 12:56 am | #

    Section 4 of the 25th amendment, as mentioned above, begins to seem relevant. It’s hard to see who Trump’s base actually is, or might be, since he’s an outsider who doesn’t easily make friends. The GOP establishment would be very happy with President Pence.

  11. wetcasements February 15, 2017 at 4:05 am | #

    Flynn was only one of many Trump aides who were in touch with Russia.

    This is far from over.

    And if Sessions was involved (likely!), we’ll see impeachment sooner rather than later.

  12. b. February 15, 2017 at 11:31 am | #

    You are missing Pence.
    The only way to get rid off Trump is through impeachment. The Repugs would not want to impeach Trump over any domestically relevant issue as it would (a) antagonize Trump’s base, and (b) aid the Democrits. Hence, the most likely issue to break with Trump is foreign policy, and there his biggest vulnerability is Russia. Pence is the GOP insurance policy, and if Trump goes, we will get competent bigotry and corruption instead.
    Flynn’s idiocy might force the Repugs hand. If they do not impeach now, they cannot use this issue for the same purpose later. If you want to sink the GOP by letting Trump “reign”, this might be useful. If you want to have Pence in power, it could go either way.

    • b. February 15, 2017 at 11:34 am | #

      The Democrits are, as usual, to dumb to consider the angles – instead of trying to re-enact the Nixon playbook – “what did Trump know and when did he know it” – they should hang Flynn around the neck of every Repug and Democrit that voted to confirm (and they should do that especially while confirmations are still pending).
      I don’t know who in the GOP would have the balls to play Brute to Trump’s Caesar, but right now, the Democrits are falling all over themselves to push for Pence Now! That would only be the right move if it failed, driving a tripartisan wedge between Trump, the GOP, and Pence (who would either have to swear fealty to Trump or break with him).
      Trump’s just another Judas goat – the best con is the one that believes his own bullshit. Schumer/Pelosi/Obama/Clinton volunteer to solve the GOP Trump problem.

  13. Edward February 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm | #

    “Am I missing anything?”

    I think what is missing is public opinion. They are alienated from the press and government. Many haven’t bought the press campaign against Trump, while others are protesting him. At what point is there a public response to the attacks on Trump?

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant February 16, 2017 at 11:56 am | #

      Which “public” are you talking about? You seem to have linked the protesters against Trump with the press who you have claimed are engaged in “attacks” against him. Does not the “public” at least include the protesters AGAINST his policies? The lawyers who are challenging his executive orders? The mayors who are middle-fingering his attempt to blackmail their cities for maintaining them as “sanctuary cities”? The Standing Rock native American-led protests against DAPL? Or are you suggesting that the “public” is solely composed of Trump supporters who will eventually tire of the “attacks” by the press and by the protesters and will eventually make their feelings — the only ones that count — known?

      And why are you characterizing the press coverage of Trump as “attacks” and as a “campaign” against him? Recall that the corporate press was the part of the larger institutional attempt to “normalize” Trump although, as Corey suggests — due to the history of the American conservative movement — Trump was “normalized” long before he became a candidate for the Presidency. The “public” wasn’t having it, thanks to the Administration’s odious and incoherent policies, its horror-show cabinet picks, its tidal wave of palace-intrigue leaks, to say nothing of its thin-skinned and ADD addled boy-boss. As for the press itself, the Administration has decided that the press is the “opposition party”; that the Administration’s spasmodic incompetence gives so much to the press to report it begs the question as to what you would have the press do (although I have a few ideas of my own on that matter — none of them intended to help Trump….)

      But to directly answer your question: The public’s response to the “attacks on Trump” is to find out how to get involved and then join in on the fun of it all!

  14. Frank Wilhoit February 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm | #

    In the first place, your options are not mutually exclusive; they could all overlap to some degree.
    Secondly, a prediction: whatever happens will be something that is not covered in the 1787 Constitution.

  15. Raven Onthill February 24, 2017 at 1:28 am | #

    Oh, lots of things. Hyperinflation, depression, explosion of the national debt, environmental disaster… Trump seems to be the politician that libertarians warned us about.

    • Thomas Rossetti February 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm | #

      Has this board become a stopping of point for Trump trolls out to undermine any decent electoral politics on the left. Trumps Bannon crowd hopes to see liberal democrats self destruct as social democrats pushing an anti corporate agenda. It is stupid politics for the all supporters of liberal democracy itself to allow the right to play the left dumb. Drop the neo liberal claptrap before it totally Mc Governizes the Democratic Party. Hillary’s politics were smarter than Bernies even if she was not as personally appealing.

  16. The Fool March 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm | #

    you forgot 25th Amendment

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