Trump is unpopular but he denies it and he says he doesn’t care. Trump is petty and vindictive, but that shows he does care– about respect and deference for his domination. He would rather gain popularity from sentiments of fear and awe than from gratitude for fulfilling forgotten and impossible promises. Bad and unpopular policies, corruption and plunder: these are of no significance to Trump, unless his follies and predations are exposed and the exposure triggers defections among his corps of fanatic followers. That won’t happen. They won’t know what hit them.
Trump will tell his true believers why they do not benefit from the successes he constantly proclaims. First and foremost, he will rant that he is too often balked or stymied by the bureaucracy, but also by the other branches– the Congress and the Courts. His exercise of the appointment power will eventually remedy the latter, and his threat of immediate reprisals will check intra-party opponents. The leverage of deep pockets, the availability of “purer” primary opponents, and the diminished power of the major political parties were already worrisome to incumbents, the vast majority of whom are opportunistic careerists.
Trump won’t need to wait for the next election to punish his opponents. Trump will give the dial a further twist, and put them in fear for their lives. He will devote a Huge portion of his [public service] time to visiting the constituencies of recalcitrants, where he will hold 2nd Amendment-intensive vigilante rallies. He will blame his failures upon the fact that he has opposition. Opposition is inconvenient, inefficient. It gets in his way. Their way.
Trump ran an incendiary campaign, and the fire he lit is now well beyond his control. Since he cannot deliver the recovery of his imaginary America’s putative “Greatness”, Trump must stoke the resentments that fuel loyalty to his vicarious magnificence. To that end, he must scapegoat the civil servants who comprise the Permanent Government until he gains unquestioning and leakproof compliance with his dictates; but more importantly, he must consolidate and expand zones of government classified secrecy and opacity to include his private profiteering, and his conflictual overseas interests as well as his tax returns and balance sheet. We may confidently expect Trump’s attacks on the press to form the centerpiece of his relentless, vicious, and merciless rallies.
Our hopes for recovery of Constitutional government may depend upon the integrity of Jeff Bezos, or the Mexican patriotism of Carlos Slim. Their willingness to endure financial sacrifice may be the last bulwark of a free press and hence the rule of law: the exceptional, true, and very fragile American Dream. The sad dilapidation of our constitutional structure has come to this: survival of the United States rests upon the integrity of a few individuals, much more than it depends upon public opinion or the decision of citizens who vote. Indeed, before the debacle of Trumpism is finished, we may come to rely upon the Mormons, the Koch brothers, and a military that knows the limits of Presidential power, to draw a line allowing the willing remnants of the GOP to initiate impeachment.
Tally the Rallies, and Make a Plan B!