The Universal Notebook: Not with a bang but a tweet

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Donald J. Trump is the problem he is trying to solve. The sooner he realizes this, the sooner he can get back to making money and stop losing respect. We all just have to pray that when he goes down, he doesn’t take America with him.

Take the Affordable Care Act, for example. Rather than try to reform the ACA or replace it with a better, more affordable plan to cover more Americans, Trump and the Republicans in Congress, having failed to repeal and replace, are doing everything they can to make sure Obamacare fails and Americans suffer. Getting rid of the individual mandates and defunding subsidies guarantees rate increases. The problem isn’t Obamacare. The problem is Donald Trump.

Lack of public confidence in the election system? It’s not the phony voter fraud that cynical Republicans are investigating with a bogus commission that is undermining public confidence. It’s GOP voter suppression efforts, ID laws, gerrymandering, and reducing the number and hours of polling places for students and minorities that are worrying voters. That and a Trump victory aided and abetted by Russian hackers.

When it comes to the investigation of Trump-Russian collusion, the fact that Trump refuses to release his tax returns or divest himself of assets exacerbates and prolongs the problem. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and his threat to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller lead a lot of Americans to conclude that the president of the United States may be owned by Russian oligarchs.

On immigration, Trump’s incendiary anti-immigrant speeches and his administration’s tightening of work visas is making it harder for Americans to do business both internationally and domestically. And Trump’s support for white supremacists, KKK and neo-Nazis has driven away most of his remaining support among American businesses. People like Trump and Gov. Paul LePage legitimize and embolden racists. Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Donald J. Trump.

Trump’s adolescent addiction to Twitter and his inability to keep his mouth shut now pose the greatest existential threat America faces. What does he expect a murderous North Korean dictator to do when he threatens them with “fire and fury?” Personally, I have more faith in Kim Jong Un than I do in Donald J. Trump. With apologies to T.S. Eliot, “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a tweet.”

What I fear most is that Trump will try to prop up his plummeting approval ratings by starting a war. War is good for presidential popularity polls, at least until the bill comes due in terms of taxes and human capital. I fear that Trump may be willing to trade 10 million South Korean lives for another three years in office.

It would be one thing if it were just an inconsequential liberal columnist in a Maine weekly newspaper worrying about Trump’s access to the nuclear codes, but last week Ret. Lt. Gen. James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence, expressed the same concerns.

“In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un; there’s actually very little to stop him,” Clapper said. “The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”

Now some in Congress are looking into ways to limit Trump’s first-strike nuclear capability.

Currently, we have Gens. Mattis, McMasters and Kelly as the adults in the room keeping an eye on Trump’s Camp Chaos. If Trump tries to pull the nuclear trigger in the middle of the night in a fit of Twitter rage, I pray the military will disobey him, just as it ignored his lame brain order to ban transsexuals from the military.

“Okay, Mr. Trump, that’s it. We’ll take over from here,” the generals will say as they escort Trump from the Oval Office and institute martial law. Bannon has already been ousted, so it will just be a handful of zealots like Borka and Miller left to resist the coup.

The ensuing violence around the country, inflamed by Breitbart and Hannity, will likely be worse than in 1968, when leaders were assassinated, protesters rioted, police tried to crack down and cities burned. It’s just that this time, the anti-establishment fervor will come from the right rather than the left.

The election of a totally unfit Donald Trump over a highly qualified Hillary Clinton will likely be seen by history as the last desperate gasp of white male supremacy before all the patriarchal racism is purged from the American system. That, of course, presupposes America survives Donald J. Trump.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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