Let me see if I understand this …
Donald Trump and the Russians get together and influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. They do this by duping us with fake news and a whole lot of hacking. One can imagine the chortling. Trump and the Russian government can’t laugh, of course. The best they can do is chortle. What’s chortling? Imagine the fishy belch of a walrus. Put that on a five-minute loop in your brain. Bam. Chortling. So Trump and the Russians pull off the win, but they can’t pull off the cover-up.
Around inauguration time, Trump’s goons start getting themselves picked off. They have, it turns out, significant, longstanding, multilayered ties to Russia. Paul Manafort, et al. Flynn most prominently. Flynn lies to Vice President Mike Pence about Russia. We find out. Flynn gets fired. The FBI figures, "We should probably check this out." Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself, under pressure, mind you, because he too has borscht on his breath.
Trump says to FBI Director James Comey: "Do me a solid. Drop the Flynn thing." Comey pukes a little into his mouth, then goes home and writes that s@&# down. He shows that s@&# to some other FBI guys. Trump asks Comey over for dinner. Comey would rather stuff an electric eel into his undies, but he goes to the dinner because "The President." Trump says, "Comey, do you love me?" Comey says, "I love the FBI, sir." They chew some and Trump says, "Do you love me, Comey?" Comey pukes a little bit into his mouth again and immediately realizes this won’t be the last time he has to swallow back down his own barf because of Trump. "I love you as friends, Mr. President," Comey says. Then, he goes home and takes a bath in Lysol.
Trump fires Comey. The White House tells us: "Rosenstein sent a memo. Trump loved it. Peace out, Comey." The White House says: "Memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo, memo!"
Trump says: "Russia. Actually."
Lester Holt spit takes. Comey full on projectile vomits. Sean Spicer hangs up "MISSING: MY NADS" posters all over D.C. The Russians come over to visit. Trump tells them: "Israel is our super-ultra secret source of intel on ISIS. Also, Comey? Gone. That’ll grease up this cosa nostra, yeah? Have a cigar." The FBI drools on itself. Congressional Democrats lose their s@&# completely. Comey is up to a party ball of Pepto a day.
Robert freaking Mueller. The Democrats chill out a little. The Republicans chill out a little. Trump whizzes in his tighty-whities, then tells us he spilled his Perrier. Comey orders a pizza piled high with anchovies, washes it down with a half-gallon of whole milk and goes for a 10-mile run. He feels fine. Congressional Republicans stare at each other. They blink once, twice, three times. Paul Ryan finally says, "… I’m sure this will go away …"
Is that the basic gist?
It goes without saying, but nothing, it turns out, actually goes without saying in the Trump era: It’s not going away. The circus that is the Trump administration is just getting started. Obviously, there are a lot of ingredients in the mix … Trump’s ego; his cluelessness about how to (a) lead and (b) lead the free world; the booty smooching of the pitiful hangers on—Conway, Spicer, et al., who look more and more like chumps every time Trump opens his teensy mouth. But look. The real catastrophe isn’t actually the fact that Trump is actively shaming the office of the president (and therefore the entire country) in front of the entire world.
All the above is a choking smokescreen wafting over the average Trump voter. The working-class, Rust Belt, salt-of-the-earth, silent majority types who want better lives for themselves and their kids and their grandkids. Folks with dirt under their fingernails and grease on the palms of their hands. Trump promised them more than any other presidential candidate had ever promised them. But Trump is the president most uniquely unqualified to make good on his promises.
In the first place, he doesn’t care about his average voter, and never has and never will. Besides that, his inability to feel normal without loads of public dysfunction (case in point: his entire life) snuffed any embers of noble political will way, way before he took the oath of office. Convenient for him, as he can easily tweet-blame anybody else even remotely involved in the drama—and these days, it seems like he’s going after his own staff—for his own failure to do anything of substance during his time in the White House. Which will be the net result of his presidency, no matter how long it lasts. "Their fault, not mine." "I tried, but they stopped me." "I’m the good guy; they’re bad."
The real catastrophe is that, under Trump, precisely no change in their favors will occur. Jobs won’t come back from overseas, at least not in significant numbers. Abortion will stay legal. Immigrants without papers will find ways into America, wall or no wall. Those Trump voters, for whom these were the big issues, will feel all the more ignored by Washington. All the more jaded, all the more furious. These people have always been the bedrock upon which the United States is built. But under Trump, the ground is shaking.
Paul Luikart is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of places over the years. His most recent book, "Animal Heart," is available now from Hyperborea Publishing. Follow him on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.