By now you’ve heard that the government of China changed the law to allow current President Xi Jinping to essentially remain in office for life. That’s a major step backward when it comes to the small handful of baby steps that China had arguably been taking in the direction of democracy. Not shockingly, Donald Trump thinks it’s a good thing. The trouble for him: he took it way too far, and he got caught on tape doing it.
CNN says it has a tape of Trump saying these words at a recent private fundraiser: “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.” First, let’s be clear about a few things. It’s absolutely not going to happen here. You can stop wringing your hands. Trump isn’t within a million miles of having the political muscle to arbitrarily remain in office. He has so little political muscle remaining, and he knows it, that he can’t even bring himself to grant a permanent security clearance to his son-in-law. But there are major ramifications to these words.
Even though there is a 0.0% of Trump being able to pull something like this off, it’s notable and scary that he even fantasizes about this kind of thing. It reveals his mindset, and it further cements the reality that he has zero regard for the Constitution or democracy. His apologists will argue that he was just joking, and maybe he was. But considering that he conspired with a foreign enemy to illegitimately get into office in the first place, he of all people doesn’t get to make jokes like this. However, this incident is actually good news for the anti-Trump side.
The laws of politics are making more clear by the day that Donald Trump won’t even get to finish his first term, let alone have a second or a third. But because he was stupid enough to say this out loud without realizing it would obviously become public, it’ll now be held against him. His political fate was always going to be decided in the end by the people in the middle who don’t care much about politics and who don’t take sides, but who make up the crucial middle margin in approval ratings. When they hear this kind of cartoon villain talk from Trump, it can only hurt him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report