Yesterday Trump fired the acting attorney general who refused to defend his unconstitutional travel ban. The last time something like that happened was in the Nixon administration. Less than a year later, Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace.
Ben Mathis-Lilley at Slate has some useful perspective on the theory that the immigration order was a trial balloon for a coup. (For the record, despite linking to this story yesterday, I never endorsed the use of the word "coup". To me, the events of the last few days have "merely" been chipping away at the rule of law, the foundations of which have been crumbling for some time now. Not that anyone should take much comfort in that.
My wife, Nancy, turned me on to two interesting pieces at The Week (a really excellent publication, by the way. Everyone should subscribe.) The first, by Ryan Cooper, soberly describes how Trump is imperiling the Constitution.
Donald Trump's executive branch is defying the judiciary, even with the personal, in-person assistance of national legislators. He is attempting, in part at least, to overturn constitutional government in the United States.
This is not an exaggeration. In a republic, a professional legal corps gets to interpret the law as written by the elected representatives of the people, and the agents of state violence must obey their commands. In a tyranny, the leader does whatever he wants. That is what Trump, with the close counsel of his advisers Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, is trying to create.
The second explains the obvious truth (often the most difficult to describe without getting hyperbolic, because, geez, how can anyone with even half a brain not see this?) that the reason Trump's immigration order is outrageous has nothing to do with discrimination or the rule of law and everything to do with the fact that not a single terrorist has ever come into the U.S. from the countries from which immigration is being blocked. Of course, this is far from the first time that Trump has made policy based on falsehoods, nor, sadly, is it likely to be the last.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly in the long run, there is a first-person account from Kieryn Darkwater about what it's like to be indoctrinated as a right-wing culture warrior as a home-schooled child. This should be required reading for every aspiring liberal leader. It describes exactly how the right won (and continues to win) the culture war, in short, by breeding, blocking out opposing views, and taking over the government from the bottom up, starting with local school boards. It is a terrifyingly effective strategy, and if the left doesn't wake up to the realization that we are in fact at war and that the enemy is both amongst us and formidable, we are probably doomed. One symptom of the fact that the left has not woken up is that we're all focused on how horrible Trump is and fantasizing over getting him impeached (or otherwise removed from office), apparently oblivious to the fact that Mike Pence is actually much, much worse.
I watched the Tea Party takeover and was surprised no one saw it coming. After all, this was part of the plan. Trump being elected is also part of the plan, although not Trump specifically; the true goal is Pence.
Christofascists have been wanting someone like Pence in the White House and, until now, didn’t have a way to get one in. They know Trump is easily manipulated and will change his mind with the wind if it makes him feel more powerful and famous. Trump couldn’t care less about policy, a fact he’s made quite obvious. The Right has given a tyrant power and fame; he will do whatever they want him to do in order to keep it. This way they can sneak Pence in on a piggyback while filling Congress with even more evangelical conservative Republicans. Compared to Trump’s abrasive and terrifying behavior, Pence seems much less threatening. This is not the case. Pence has a proven track record of legalizing discrimination and acting against women and marginalized people. Those of us who didn’t leave the far Right are being elected to federal positions or are taking over states and cities. With Pence in office, even the reasonable-seeming incumbents – who have been and are still at the mercy of the Tea Party – are growing more bold in their attempts to further the Christofascist agenda: To Take Back The Country For Christ.We need to wake up and smell the theocracy. ISIS is not the imminent threat. Quiverfull and the Promise Keepers are.