For months before the election, Donald Trump’s opponents predicted that he would soon drop out of the race for one reason or another. It was said, for example, that he ran as a publicity stunt and never expected to win — that part may well be true — but once he saw he had a shot he’d quit because being president was too much work. After the first debate, when it looked like Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in, many commentators said he was setting the stage to surrender because he couldn’t bear losing and would convince his fans that the media was out to get him so he had no choice but to drop out.
Of course, Trump stayed in the race and won but predictions and rumors that he’d be swiftly out of office continued to circulate, especially on social media, where they are everywhere in these days leading up to his inauguration. The main reasons that he’ll soon be gone — and we can all cheer the Pence/Ryan team!!!! — are, it is said, that he’ll be forced out due to the help he received from Vladimir Putin or that he’s got so many conflicts of interests that he’ll swiflty be impeached.
And since he’s discovered that being president really isn’t going to be much fun — this angle is a reprise from the campaign trail — he doesn’t really care anyway. He’ll be just as happy to get the whole thing over with and go back to making money.
I have no inside information but these predictions strike me as wishful thinking. The only way Trump can be forced out is if Republicans turn on him and while that’s possible, it’s also highly risky, especially early in his presidency. But the more important reason is that Trump is going to love being president and he’s going to have to be dragged out of the Oval Office by his fingertips.
Trump has an enormous, pathological ego. What could possibly be more fun for him than to be president and bask in his glory and self-perceived brilliance? And being president won’t be too much work. He’s delegating duties off to right-wing corporate allies and still seems to have plenty of time for Twitter, his primary occupation.
In terms of impeachment, that can’t happen until he’s inaugurated and he commits an impeachable offense. People say he’s so greedy and has so many business conflicts that this will happen soon, but I don’t see why. Trump was always a sleazy businessman but this may be the one period of his life where he doesn’t have to cut corners.
He’s got interests around the world, but why pay bribes or be heavy-handed when foreign governments are going to bend over backward to curry favor with him by approving his development projects? Bribes cost Trump money and he’s cheap; he can just sit back and watch the money roll in because there’s an immense value in the presidential brand on its own.
Then there’s the liberal dream that he’ll be impeached — and until recently, that he’d be blocked from taking office — because Russia helped elect him. I have no doubt Russia tried to influence the election — just as every other major power sought to do in their own subtle or unsubtle way — but it would also need to be true that Trump actively collaborated with Russia.
I’m very dubious of the most lurid, sensational charges, such as the ones disclosed in that BuzzFeed dossier, but even if they are true who’s got the evidence? If U.S. intelligence or Congress had the Golden Showers videotape it would have leaked already given the hostility with Trump. If the Kremlin has it, why would it release it?
For now, it’s unverifiable, as is the entire story of a formal Russia-Trump pre-election pact. If substantiated information doesn’t come out — for example, that Trump attorney Michael Cohen did in fact go to Prague — there’ll be no political consequences.
My own view is that Trump won this bullshit election and should be inaugurated (with protests) because the alternative at this point is a coup to block him. Maybe he’ll commit an impeachable offense but even if he does during his first few days in office, it’s going to presumably take some time to get the impeachment process going.
If you want a better future than either Trump of Hillary offered, it’s better that Trump delegitimizes himself with his supporters because liberal whining from the likes of Meryl Streep and the case of “Hamilton” is not going to do it. We need a reality-based political movement to oppose Trump because the short-term satisfaction of impeachment, especially a bogus one, is only going to lead to a President Pence administration and won’t help usher out the rancid corpse of the Democratic Party that this election exposed.