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March 18th, 2018

Our Brand Is Constitutional Crisis

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Memo to the media: STOP SAYING IT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS.

The Donald Trump era of American politics has led to an entirely new list of things I didn’t know I hated, and now hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. For example, the word “sad” is now deeply triggering to me. But one of my hates doesn’t even come from Trump, or at least, not directly. It’s one of the media’s favorite phrases these days:”could spark a constitutional crisis”.

It usually crops up in the context of Trump firing Robert Mueller, and so it flared up again this weekend, when an increasingly unhinged and uncontained Trump took his traditional Sunday morning Twitter dump all over Mueller and his investigation. Trump’s wanted to fire Mueller for like nine months now, and the number of people around him telling him what an awful idea that is is shrinking fast.

But the phrase “constitutional crisis is infuriating, because it’s not a thing. It’s a shorthand for “things have gotten so bad that nobody knows what to do”. Nobody ever talks about what would have to happen should a constitutional crisis be sparked, because they don’t fucking know. There’s no process to follow, no mechanism in place. I mean, there are mechanisms in place, but they’re Somebody Else’s Mechanisms. But we can’t say “impeachment” like that, because then you’d be holding Republican lawmakers to the standard their jobs demand.

Also, let’s face it. Trump can’t “spark” a constitutional crisis. Donald Trump IS a constitutional crisis. The main reason he won’t release his 2018 tax returns is that they’ll reveal that 90% of his income is categorized under “emoluments’. Odds are good he’s committed high crimes and misdemeanors multiple times, some of them with a porn star. And, of course, he’s a walking, talking Three Billboards About The 25th Amendment Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

But the way the media talks about it, it’s like some magical spell, where Trump crosses an uncrossable line and suddenly, doing something about it becomes mandatory. Which is interesting, since they’ve spent almost three years reporting on him crossing literally dozens and dozens of uncrossable lines while nobody does anything about it. I suspect that what’s driving this is their blind reliance on The System that they’re a part of and that has enriched them over the decades, and so therefore it must still work, right?

We’ll see. Because that fucker shows no signs of stopping and no signs of changing, and more importantly, no signs of the kind of self-awareness that would cause him to turn his destructiveness inward instead of outward the closer he gets to disaster. He’s not gonna stop himself, no matter how many times someone declares a “constitutional crisis”.