In the summer of 1972, I palled around with my best buddy, David, walking wooden fences, shooting BBs at street lights and unsuspecting birds, and, on occasion, riding the luxurious elevators in Las Vegas hotels. That summer, when we ducked into David’s house to get a break from the heat or shoot a game of pool, David’s mom was a constant figure in their living room, ironing clothes as she watched, non-stop, the Congressional Watergate Hearings investigating the break in of the Watergate Democratic Headquarters and trying to ascertain whether or not to impeach President Richard Nixon.
All of ten years old, I didn’t know why David’s mom had abandoned her regular diet of soap operas to listen to a bunch of white guys on the family black and white, but I did sense the seriousness of the scene; a seriousness that eventually led to the only time a US president has resigned from office.
People, this Donald Trump-Ukraine hubbub is no Watergate.
Watergate was an actual burglary on US property. People were caught in the act and a cover up ensued. People went to jail. Nixon was faced with removal from office-something that had not happened in US history-or leaving the Presidency. He chose the latter but before he got on Marine One and headed back to San Clemente, CA., he negotiated for about fifteen minutes of extra time to make sure his Oval Office tape recordings were in order.
In contrast to Watergate, this Ukraine situation is not the event that will topple the Trump Tower. First, most people don’t even know where Ukraine is, that it used to be part of the Soviet Union, and that Vladimir Putin would like it back. The charge that Trump threatened Ukraine’s president by withholding hundreds of millions dollars-much of which helps Ukraine keep Putin at bay-for dirt on the Bidens is politics as usual. Politicians practice ‘this for that’ (quid pro quo) all the time. I practice it all the time: “Kids, give me your best this week and I’ll see if I can make some donuts appear before our Thanksgiving Break.”
In 1972, Republican and Democrats alike knew that Nixon had crossed the line and they saw to it that he went away. In 2020 there is no Republican support for impeachment and without that support, Trump stays put and continues to run for reelection.
The scenario will go something like this: The House of Representatives-which has a Democratic majority- will impeach the president which means charging him with a crime. Then the matter goes to the US Senate-which has a Republican Majority- for a trial that will last all of about ten minutes. Trump will be found not guilty and then the thing is over. Donald Trump, who has a great gift for spin, will then tweet to his heart’s content. His first Tweet will go something like this.
I’ve been Exonerated!
I’ve been Vindicated!
I’ll be Reinstated!
I think his election will happen and this is why. First, the economy is not on the ropes. People are working, unemployment is low, you don’t hear about evictions, excessive homelessness, more than usual bankruptcies. Second, for all his bravado, ridiculousness, and impetuousness, people secretly like Donald Trump. Those of us who sincerely dislike the way he conducts himself as president fail to recognize that his hubris endears him to people and those people vote.
Trump is like the friend, family member, or acquaintance that most folks have in their lives and that those folks agree is a blowhard. Yet, when that person is around and begins to spout about with off-color remarks, jokes about women or people of different ethnicities, of even those with disabilities, people secretly enjoy the display. They may feel guilty about it later or get chastised by someone close to them, but at the time they stomach the remarks because, well, it sometimes feels good to watch others get insulted.
Donald Trump is that uncouth person in all of our lives. Many people, not so secretly I fear, like very much how he conducts himself and the way he communicates, even if his message is no more than 168 characters of Twitter feed. I tend to hang around with like minded people and if any of my crew actually supports the man for reelection, I don’t know it and probably never will. Those of us in our small community who struggle with his leadership and want a change tend to live in a bubble, in the case of this readership, a Bisbee Bubble, and think our disdain for the man is more widespread than it actually his. The constant barrage of anti-Trump cartoons, videos, and sometimes hilarious captioned photos of Trump that we feed off from social media, don’t represent the electorate. It tells us what our friends think.
Richard Nixon left the US Presidency because he got caught stealing and Democrats and Republicans alike knew that. Whatever ‘high crime and misdemeanor’ Donald Trump committed, so far there’s no smoking gun that’s going to put him on Marine One for his final flight home-wherever the hell it is that he calls home. He gets reelected not because of his economic prowess or high moral character. He gets reelected because we as a country are off course and, for now anyway, would prefer to laugh with the bully rather than call him out, send him packing, and straighten our path.