By Dr David Laing Dawson
Many pundits have referred to Trump as a Reality TV President, partly referring to the origins of his infamy, and partly to the way he operates as a politician and leader. But the description is increasingly apt. The whole scene – the White House, daily tweets, the books, the anonymous op ed, the daily coverage and panel discussions, the leaks – it has all taken on the tone of Reality TV. And as it takes on this tone – the vying for limelight, the petty competitions, grievances aired, boasting, lying, the focus entirely subjective, the absence of actual reality, the absence of awareness of a world beyond the bubble – we fall into watching it the same way. Each day we tune in to watch these conflicts unfold, and just as in Reality TV, we are far more concerned with the relationships of all involved than with the prize (in Realty TV) and the enacted policies (in governance). Our hunger for prurient detail, for the personality machinations, conflicts, buffoonery, stupidity and chicanery in and surrounding Trump overwhelm our concern for health care, international relations, and global conflict.
In Reality TV the conceits of drama are imposed in the editing room. Here they are imposed by the Media, the watchers, the Late Night Hosts, and Trump himself.
I am thinking of this as I wonder how the Trump presidency will end. Last night he told his supporters that if he is impeached he will hold them responsible for not voting in the midterms.
If the Democrats do regain control of Senate and Congress and start impeachment proceedings, what will happen? How will Trump behave?
We know he will not go quiet (or gentle) into that good night. We know, at least as far as I can see, that his profound narcissism never ever permits a breach in his defenses, an admission of failure or of being bested in some way. We know this is extreme. We know that he will take praise and support from anyone, including Kim Jong Un. We know he is capable of seeing what he wants to see, to a delusional degree. And we know, unfortunately, that he is not constrained by a conscience, by empathy for others. And we know that people who lie to others as easily as he does, also lie to themselves.
We also know he will rage and blame others and that he is capable of outrageous lies to support his position.
If this were Shakespeare we could leave him in the turret of his castle railing at the moon.
But will he sabotage the castle when he is cornered? Will he burn Paris as he retreats?
Unfortunately I think the answer to that question is YES.
So if the Democrats gain power and start impeachment proceedings I think they need to be prepared to invoke Article (Amendment) 25 before Donald J. Trump lights the match.