May 9 2020
With all the pain and anguish in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, there has emerged a political reality which may offer a huge positive opportunity for America. It may portend the end of the Trump Presidency.
Trump has a “base” of supporters. He has galvanized them around anti-immigrants, gun rights, and “law and order,” among other things. He is widely perceived as racist. These are what raised him up among those on the Right who believe in this kind of world. These are now what could bring him down. The Floyd death has thrust the US into a new era, or perhaps even a new order. This era is most certainly anti-police. It could even be labeled “anti-law and order.”
His new problem: He cannot step up and support Black Lives Matter and defunding of police departments. He can’t because that would be a complete reversal of his “send in the troops,” law and order, and all of that. If he were to do that, he’d risk the loss of a big part of his base, with which he only won the previous election by a narrow margin, losing the popular vote. Losing a big slice of his base would guarantee him a loss in the upcoming elections. When taken with the economic problems coming from the pandemic, and his negative polls in handling of the pandemic, he’d probably be finished.
He can’t take the route that Biden clearly is seizing —to endorse the new movement wholeheartedly.
Even among acquiescent Republican Congressmen, there is a private desire to be rid of this lying pretender. Republican Congressmen would quickly galvanize around a far better Republican in a flash, if they were convinced that his base had eroded substantially. They’re sticking with him because they fear the elective power of his base in turning all deserters promptly out of office.
So, he’s stuck. On the one hand, he is married to his “law and order,” and “send in the troops” proclamations. He must know he really can’t send in more troops and beat his law and order drums more just now. But he can’t back off in his rhetoric. He can’t offer sympathy to the new movement. Many say he doesn’t even know empathy.
On the other hand, as the nation’s titular leader, he needs to respond supportively to this huge vocal contingent. It’s a great leadership opportunity. But he’s trapped. He can only retreat into the Oval Office and hope for the furor to quell—as indeed it has in the aftermath of many another black man’s death by police in our country.
But so far, this one feels different. There is a massive uprising among people of all colors, ages, and types, throughout our country, and, indeed, throughout the world. An Editor of the New York Times is out because he allowed a Tom Cotton editorial in support of “send in the troops.” Ellen Degeneres got in trouble over well intended remarks that went wrong and went viral. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was forced to apologize for speaking out against “disrespecting the flag.” This new powerful movement that could even be labeled “anti-law and order” is only gaining steam. The groundswell of frustration with “law and order” is likely to motivate a turnout among Black Lives sympathizers of all ages and colors, strong enough to significantly increase the voting among liberal progressives in November.
So, even if Trump sticks with his right wing positions, which he most certainly will do and must do, the groundswell of sympathy for the downtrodden is likely to result in far more progressives voting in November.
That’s my prediction.
President Donald J. Trump is caught in a fatal Catch-22.