Donald Trump has ramped up his rhetoric involving Kim Jong Un and is promising to “totally destroy” North Korea in his latest speech before the U.N.. Simultaneously the U.S. Senate passed a military spending bill for 700 billion dollars.
I am tempted to say “Here we go again” regarding the endless cycle of hawkish maneuvers by the United States, but to do so would be to dismiss that this is not like any other time in U.S. history. There has never been anyone in The White House quite like Donald Trump, a man who reads a Breitbart article at 3:00 AM and begins tweeting about his hotel room being wiretapped.
While most question the merits of Kim Jong Un having nuclear weapons, the idea of “totally destroying” North Korea is an act of genocide against a people that are already oppressed by a ruthless dictator. To punish the innocent citizens of North Korea is no better than “totally destroying” the United States, simply because we have a madman dictator in power. America and North Korea both have toddlers with nuclear weapons running their respective governments. Killing millions of innocent civilians does nothing to rectify either situation.
The problem isn’t that Donald Trump is incompetent. That much we could let slide. He would not be the first nincompoop figurehead to occupy The Oval Office. Perhaps we could even find a kind-of silver-lining to his presidency by framing it as a collective stupidity tax on every member of a society that allowed it’s culture to fall so deeply into the gutter that an orange racist punchline with bad hair could so easily lie his way into power.
If it were only Trump’s incompetence at play then we could all just share in the unified embarrassment of his Apprentice-style presidency for four years and then vote for Bernie Sanders (YES, then 79 year old Bernie Sanders!!) in 2020 and begin our nation’s healing process. We could work towards being a better country. We could apologize for our flawed electoral system (yes, $uper-delegates, I’m looking at you) and promise to take democracy more seriously going forward.
One day some inquisitive student would ask
“Is it true that there was once a president who was elected with no prior political experience, who bragged about sexually-assaulting women and said that women should be punished for having abortions, who made racist comments, who defended Nazis and used an ancient form of non-telepathic communication called tweeting to throw temper tantrums in the middle of the night?”
And an adult would say
“Yes, it’s true. That was when Americans woke up and realized that they had to participate in their democracy and do better as a culture. If you’d like to learn more about that dark time in our country’s history, you should check out the Mike Judge documentary Idiocracy. You can experience it in the Holodeck for just three galactic credits.”
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution has sparked great interest of late. The wording clearly states that if a president is incapable of fulfilling his duties for any reason, including mental incompetence, that the vice-president has the power to begin immediate precedings to remove the president from office.
In this scenario Mike Pence would be forced to lead the charge and he would have to convince more than half of Trump’s 24 cabinet members to declare him mentally incompetent to hold office. In this case, Pence would immediately take power (this means that Trump is stripped of his ability to use nuclear weapons) while Congress voted on the matter. If 2/3rds of Congress agrees with Pence’s assessment of incompetence then Trump is removed from office permanently, pending appeal.
Trump’s cabinet is a mess and leaks from inside The White House point to ever-increasing instability. But for Pence to perform a hostile takeover of the office, he would not only need to be certain of the outcome, he would also need to somehow perform the maneuver without alienating Trump’s base, if he were to have any hope of reelection in 2020. If Pence initiated the takeover and it failed it would redefine awkwardness as Trump and Pence would still have to continue working together after the failed coup. For this reason, and many others, Pence will have to make sure that all the pieces are in their ideal positions before launching his attack.
The GOP will be more than happy to help him with this chess-match.
If those on the left are hoping for a quick and clean dissolution of temperamental Trump’s hold on said nuclear codes, there is really only one way to effectively create this possibility. Those on the left must do something that is completely out of their comfort zone. They must do something that will be completely foreign to them. They must act like they are Republicans for one day and actually show up to vote in the 2018 midterm elections so the left can take control of The House.
The only way that Pence would make such an ostentatious move is if he could then blame the Democrat-controlled Congress for passing the measure that he, himself initiated.
You are probably wondering about my logic at this point. How could Pence initiate a move to remove Trump from office then blame the Democrats for passing the measure that he started?
Simple. Pence would just use the GOP controlled media outlets to continually cast blame at the feet of the Democrats until Trump’s base believed the corporate propaganda. This would be aligned with the wishes of the party that sees Trump as a wrecking-ball. Most Trump voters will believe whatever the corporate media tells them to believe. After all, these are the same people who fell for the Democratic Party’s cross-party manipulation of their primary process.
If the media continues to focus on the Democrat’s passing of the bill that removed Trump, then that’s where Trump’s base will be more than happy to direct their anger towards the Democrats. Pence can give a few speeches about how much he hates the Dems and how he is looking forward to carrying on Trump’s excellent leadership and the country will be duped into believing what they are told to believe. The left will feel victorious and the right will have what they wanted all along; a predictable easy to manipulate corporate puppet for president, in the person of Mike Pence.
Some will say that Mike Pence is worse than Donald Trump, due to the fact that he is actually a skilled politician who can work with the factions inside the GOP to pass draconian laws that will hurt American citizens more than Trump’s ego-tweeting ever could. I am inclined to agree with this assessment, but Pence, for all his flaws, is unlikely to launch nukes just because he’s having a rough night, whereas Trump is extremely unstable and is actually a very real threat to life on this planet. As far as passing law goes, Pence’s half-presidency would be completely handcuffed by a Democratic majority in The House and Senate.
Launching nukes is done by executive order and does not have a series of checks and balances. This is why Trump must be removed via the 25th Amendment. Any other method of removing him from power, including voting him out democratically in 2020, would result in a scorned Trump still having access to his nuclear arsenal, an inevitable scenario too dire for any of us to contemplate.
While invoking the 25th Amendment sets a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly have repercussions going forward, it is infinitely better than allowing this wannabe dictator to continue escalating his nuclear rhetoric with his narcissistic finger on the trigger of a gun that can and will destroy all life on this planet.
If you want Trump removed from office then the next step is to do something absolutely radical, something unprecedented, something so crazy that it just might work.
You’re going to actually have to show up and vote in the 2018 midterms.
That is if any of us are still alive by then.