Today I saw two TV pundits debating whether Donald Trump or the House Democrats now have the upper hand, in light of this week’s developments. The moment was a microcosm for the same debates that have been playing out this week across all political platforms and conversations. The thing is, both sides are entirely correct – they’re just not seeing the full picture.
Here’s the argument for why House Democrats have the upper hand against Donald Trump: they’re fighting him on numerous fronts, they have him surrounded, and they only have to break through on one of those fronts. If they get his tax returns, he gets crushed. If they get one key Mueller report witness to testify against him, he gets crushed. Not only do they only have to win one of these kinds of battles, court rulings thus far make clear that they’re winning on every front.
Here’s the argument for why Donald Trump has the upper hand: he’s instructing William Barr to carry out fraudulent criminal prosecutions of his political enemies. He’s trying to carve out a legal path to start indicting political journalists. He’s threatening to declassify U.S. intel secrets just to harm the United States. He’s on a dangerous, maniacal, monstrous rampage – and it’s escalating by the day.
The reality is that everything in both of the above arguments is entirely correct. Donald Trump is surrounded on all sides by the House Democrats. They only need to break through his defenses on one major front, and they’re in the process of breaking through on every front. Trump knows he can’t stop any of that, so he’s doing what any deranged villain does when he’s under siege: he’s lashing out in every monstrous direction he can think of, trying to find a way to change the game, or at least scare everyone into backing off.
So yeah, Donald Trump is on the ropes and he’s more vulnerable than ever, and as a result, he’s behaving more aggressively and maniacally than ever. These two things are both true. Trump is closer to his downfall than ever, and he’s more dangerous than ever. It’s important to keep both these things in mind as we head into these crucial coming weeks in American history.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report