Categorized | Middle East, Sharkansky_Ira, USA

How long can Trump, Netanyahu stay in office?

By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM — What’ll it take to get rid of Trump?

It won’t be easy.

It shouldn’t be, given his election.

One should be careful of messing the aura of legitimacy, even for a boor who can’t express a sentence in his native language, has flirted with a government considered a serious antagonist by many in the American establishment, has presided over a number of screw-the-others corporate bankruptcies, has business dealings with foreigners that may violate Constitutional provisions, and has come close to endorsing the KKK/American Nazis.

Open up Google News, and chances are that its survey of prominent stories will emphasize the latest wonderment about the American President.

Recent headlines coming from a variety of media:

Sen Corker isn’t the only Republican who’s increasingly questioning Trump’s stability.
Fox CEO James Murdoch criticizes Trump over response to Charlottesville
Donald Trump set to RESIGN this autumn–former ally says
Trump’s attacks could leave him friendless if impeachment comes
When CEOs sound more like the president than the actual president
A Nazi salute, KKK hoods and Trump: Magazine covers after Charlottesville are jarring
GOP fears damage to its brand from Charlottesville
Trump said to study General Pershing. Here’s what the president got wrong
Investors Sell Stocks, Dollar on Fears Trump Agenda is Foundering
Democratic congressman to introduce articles of impeachment.

Donald would have no trouble labeling it all “fake news,” but the rest of us can read and decide.

Getting rid of the boss is a political process, rendered so by Constitutional language. “High crimes or misdemeanors” qualify for impeachment. That could mean unpaid parking tickets for a President without any political support.

But there has been no President in history without enough political support to frustrate those wanting to impeach him.

There’s also an unfit for service amendment, which has been tempting a number of folks with medical qualifications since the election.

But that is yet to be tested against a President who thinks he is fit. A prevailing view that Donald suffers from a serious case of narcissism pretty much rules out his admitting that he isn’t fit.

What President hasn’t been narcissistic? is a fair question, but Trump seems off the charts.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his staff is only one of the inquiries moving forward. Congressional committees are also looking into this and that, and the media (albeit with a tilt to the left) is digging and publicizing.

Surveys are showing that Donald’s support is holding. That it’s less than 50 percent, and heavily weighted to sectors not likely to be represented among readers of these columns, is less important than its social and geographical locations. Their link to enough States and Congressional Districts will make impeachment a problem.

Continuing pressure, an oral promise from Mike Pence to protect him from any criminal charges, fatigue, aspirations to return to business where he really can be the boss, and the threat of something especially dire may produce a Nixon type exit, with a garbled half dozen words rather than a great wave on the way to the helicopter.

There may not be a helicoptered exit, since Trump can do it from his resorts in Florida, New Jersey, or his Tower in New York City.

We can wonder about Trump and the stock market. The S&P 500 has been climbing toward a 20 percent increase since the election. A simple analysis is that investors like Republican Presidents, but Trump is far from a conventional Republican. His support is heavier in the working class and the lumpen proletariat that traveled to Charlottesville than among main street lawyers, bankers, and merchants.

A letter has circulated from the President of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville that could be summarized with its line, “This is America in 2017.”

“On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. Even the police department’s limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept . . .
For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. . . .
parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There’s the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil” and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.”

As the writer notes, there was no police protection, but a number of non-Jews came to the Temple, expressed their concern, and joined Jews and armed guards in a show of support.

One can wonder if Blacks or Jews are more at the focus of extremists who Donald Trump has trouble singling out for condemnation. And–if along with their glorification of the Confederacy–how many of them know that a Jew–Judah Benjamin–served that government at various times in its short history as Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.

Journalists have perceived body language signifying embarrassment as Trump’s newly appointed and highly touted chief of staff listened to one round of the President’s efforts to extract himself from what seemed like an endorsement of racism and anti-Semitism.

Israel’s President was more explicit in challenging the United States to do something about people who chant Nazi slogans and parade with Nazi flags.

Political analysis begs comparison. Something is decent, wise, or contemptible only when compared (explicitly or implicitly) to something else.

Donald’s Israeli friend and supporter is both similar and different. One of his Knesset yes-men has criticized President Rivlin for criticizing Trump’s lack of a clear repudiation of his right wing supporters.

There are Israelis who support Trump. Some of them don’t care about the problems of the United States, and welcome the rest he provides from the nuttiness of Barack Obama about Islam and the Palestinians.

Bibi is a world class speaker, capable of full sentences artfully delivered in two languages, with a native’s accent in each. He also has a decent record of moderation in action if not in speech.

Their constituencies are similar, leaving aside Donald’s flirting with Nazis. The bulk of support received by both comes from the bottom half of each country’s demography, with supporters of both considerably to the right on issues associated with nationalism, race or ethnicity.

Both are under official inquiries.

Bibi’s wife and son are part of his problems. Sara may be charged with crimes that could put her in the can for five years. What we know of Yair is more in the realm of boorishness than criminality, but some of what he’s done might be lumped with Dad’s acceptance of gifts in exchange for favors.

While Trump exists in a setting of fixed terms, Bibi’s parliamentary setting can produce an election when warranted by the political interests and capacities of those opposed to the Prime Minister from party colleagues or other Knesset Members. Dumping a Prime Minister is easier than impeaching an American President.

Currently, both seem secure, but we shouldn’t bet how long that’ll last.

*
Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University.  He may be contacted via ira.sharkansksy@sdjewishworld.com

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