It’s getting to be hard to see how Donald Trump will complete his term as president.
Leaving aside the potential for impeachable offenses, past, present, or future, I think there’s a fundamental hurdle that Trump may find insurmountable.
America isn’t his personal businesses. He doesn’t run it. It’s not his creation, something he can use any way he likes.
In particular, the American system of government has a baked-in balance of power that is unlike anything Trump has dealt with as an adult.
He cannot act by fiat. He cannot define a reality and expect everyone to conform to it.
He’s the president, he’s not the boss. The citizenry is the boss, and the wisdom of the constitution is that the system of checks and balances ultimately leaves control to the voters.
Throw in the “fourth estate,” the news media, and the system of checks and balances becomes even more robust. Trump has made a living manipulating the media, but we’re seeing the limits of his mastery of the media’s journalists.
Many times the system has faltered, but it has recovered and maintained its dominating role in the way America works.
All this is likely to lead to unbearable frustration for Trump, who has spent a lifetime making his own rules, and by and large getting away with it. But now he’s up against one of the things that makes America great, something that has stood up for more than two centuries, through wars — even a cataclysmic civil war — economic panics and depressions, even existential threats like the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I think it’s safe to say that Trump doesn’t really understand this, but its bigger than he is, and I don’t think he can abide that.
His way of re-establishing control over his reality will be to abandon the system that imposes reality on him.
And, disruptive as may that prove to be, it will be another triumph of the American way of government.