Monday, June 8, 2020

A Few Cracks

At long last the shit that Trump hath wrought is beginning to hit the fan.

Former military leaders kept up a barrage of criticism of President Trump on Sunday for his threat to use military force against protesters, warning the commander in chief’s actions could drive a wedge between the U.S. military and civilians.

The most withering critique came from Colin Powell in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The former secretary of state and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called Trump a chronic liar who had “drifted away” from the Constitution and become a danger to the country.

Powell said he plans to vote for Joe Biden for president and urged Americans to search their conscience and vote for the candidate who is best for the country as a whole, not only themselves.

“We’re not the country of just the president, we have a Congress, we have a Supreme Court,” said Powell, lamenting the silence from Republican members of Congress and lauding the retired military officials who have spoken out against Trump.

“But most of all we have the people of the United States, the ones who vote,” Powell said. “The ones who vote him in and the ones who vote him out. I couldn’t vote for him in 2016. I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.”

And the Republican establishment is finally getting a small voice.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sunday became the first Republican senator known to march in one of D.C.’s anti-racism demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly two weeks ago.

Wearing a mask and garnering little overt notice from fellow protesters, the former presidential nominee marched alongside hundreds of evangelicals in a crowd that eventually swelled to more than 1,000 demonstrators.

Romney said in an interview that he wanted to find “a way to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”

(And hey, who knows; he could still run in 2024…  Yes, I’m cynical enough to believe he was thinking the same thing.)

I cannot emphasize enough the simple reality that this doesn’t mean that the GOP has finally had it with Trump and they’re going to abandon him in November.  His talons are way too deep into the base that is still MAGA-sotted and believe in the conspiracy theories of Covid-19 being the brainchild of Bill Gates and that Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile mill out of a pizza joint.

The combination of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and racial unrest, plus the manipulation of the voting system piles up the anxiety factor.  Normally that would favor voting out the incumbent, but that’s under normal circumstances, and nothing’s been normal for a long, long time.  And the idea that even now, the polls showing Trump still at 41% means that even if all of the former generals and a few marginally principled Republicans are against him, the wall of ignorance and intolerance may have a few cracks, but it is still there.