Trump the Indestructible

President Donald Trump during a Make America Great Again rally in Southaven, Miss., October 2, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Kavanaugh will be confirmed, and Trump will solidify his own hold on power in the midterms.

The entire febrile effort to delegitimize President Donald Trump continues to be based on the ability of the Trump-hating media to confect or unveil a Trumpocidal deus ex machina every two weeks. I have just learned from a dear friend of many years, an intelligent and reasonable man who happens to be in the camp of the Trump-haters, what is being thrown into the line as the successor anti-Trump story to the Kavanaugh drama. The optimism about defeating that nomination is fading, and the sobering passage of a few days is melting the ardent hope that the fragile and completely uncorroborated account of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would sink that candidacy. The last-trench defense on that subject is already filled with the retreating forces of the anti-Trump media. The smooth-faced talking heads are earnestly wagging in unison across the channels as they find the judge’s lack of a “judicial temperament” to be “concerning.” My friend has enlightened me that as this cause célèbre evaporates like so many others, from Warsaw to Charlottesville to Pyongyang to Helsinki, the Trump presidency will be brought down by the New York Times’ revelation of a supposed tax fraud by Trump involving hundreds of millions of dollars. The president has been constantly subjected to tax audits for nearly 40 years. This is another clunker, after so many. I doubt that it will be more effective than the Times’ effort to fell Kavanaugh with the suspicion that he “may have” thrown ice-water at someone at a collegiate social occasion 35 years ago.

Even Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the last of the Never Trump Republicans in the Senate except for Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, acknowledges that the Republican majority in the Senate is holding and that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by Saturday. (In Sasse’s relatively agile mind, principle, opportunism, and snobbery are clearly contending fiercely.) The imprimatur of abject failure was placed on the Kavanaugh-temperament issue by the irreplaceable Hillary Clinton when she declared that Kavanaugh lacked the “stability” and “integrity” to be a Supreme Court justice. That comment from that source practically ensured his confirmation. Even my knowledgeable and highly intelligent anti-Trump friend, whose name would be familiar to most readers, acknowledges that it will be a cliff-hanger in the midterms in both houses. It won’t in the Senate, where there is minimal chance of avoiding some Republican gains, but the fact that the learned anti-Trump clarion call has become so faint is a persuasive barometer of the pre-electoral weather.

The mighty thundercloud of emasculating militant feminism, which on Friday seemed to be taking the lead over the good sense of the public with its lust for a regime of denunciation and the condemnation of men with no evidence, has almost evaporated. Not with a bang but a whimper does control of the Supreme Court pass to constitutionalists who believe that the intentions of the Constitution’s authors should be respected. (They weren’t framers and should not be so described.) With less than five weeks to go before the midterm elections, and the president running the most strenuous midterm-election campaign in history, his enemies are desperately grasping at anything that might avert the confirmation of the Trump ascendancy.

Just as he calculated that by speaking for all those who despised the entire incumbent political system he could win the Republican nomination, and that he could win by designing a campaign to exploit the possibilities of gaining a majority in the Electoral College rather than the popular vote (as five of his predecessors did, by design or otherwise), he is now exploiting the fact that there is no leader of the opposition in the American system, and between presidential elections he has no rival. The likely outcome is the most favorable midterm result since Franklin D. Roosevelt won nine additional congressional districts and gained nine senators in 1934. Even now, though the bunk about impeachment has subsided, Trump’s enemies have little idea of how profoundly hated the OBushinton era, 1989 to 2017, had become, as a time of sleaze and incompetence and stagnation. Now, in what is practically a full-employment economy, wages for the least well-paid are rising. Amazon and other retailers grumble about $15 an hour for unskilled work, but it is the first time people in that economic bracket have had real increases of purchasing power and the lack of fear of joblessness in more than 20 years.

If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed and the Republicans hold both houses of the Congress, it will be the greatest and swiftest ascension to comprehensive power in all branches of American government in history. A measurement of how the tide has shifted is the disappearance from public consciousness of the Mueller inquiry. The number of Trump-haters who are still clinging to that waterlogged life-vest is statistically trivial. It was just six weeks ago, when Michael Cohen’s plea bargain was announced and Paul Manafort was convicted (of offenses that occurred a decade before he knew the president), that Trump’s enemies ululated their triumph and proclaimed, in the words of one often-published Trump-hater, that “The fat lady is singing; it’s almost over.” She wasn’t and it isn’t. It has only just begun, and it will get better. Trump isn’t an aberrant interlude; he is a sea change. He has a mandate to clean up Washington and he plans to fulfill it.

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