So Donald Trump fired James Comey. And what’s hilarious about it is the reason: Comedy is being fired because he broke protocol when last July (you know: just short of a year ago) he went public with an ongoing investigation. This is great when you consider that the 2016 RNC could have been called the “Lock Her Up” convention. And Comey’s later entry into the race probably did cost Clinton the election. What’s more, we find out from The New York Times, Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry.
What’s interesting about this is that Trump really does see being president as more or less the same as being a dictator. There’s no pretense that anything needs to make sense. Surely if Comey were to be fired for his handling of the Clinton case, he should have been fired when Trump came into office. Instead, Trump fires Comey at exactly the same time that the FBI director is turning up the fire on Trump and his friends.
Trump Has Nothing to Fear
But it’s hard to blame Trump for this. After all, what is going to happen to him? At the very worse, the Republicans will be forced to appoint a special prosecutor. And I wonder if even that will happen. The Republican Party is really only interested in getting tax cuts. And with getting their really vile Obamacare replacement through the house, they would not be keen to do anything that would sour relations with the Despot of Pennsylvania Avenue.
For a long time, I’ve been annoyed by people who claim that the Soviet Union was a communist system. Basically from the start, it was just an authoritarian regime. It was certainly not a dictatorship of the worker. What distinguishes Putin from Stalin is not that one is pro-capitalism and the other isn’t. Nor is it that one was nominally elected and the other was not. The difference was one of power and only power.
Trump’s Power Comes From the Republicans
The truth is that if Donald Trump had the Republican Party that Richard Nixon had, he already would have been impeached. And looking at it the other way around, had Nixon had this Republican Party, he wouldn’t have been forced out of office. And that is the essence of power. The truth is, any man is just a man. There are no superheroes. People have power because there are people around them who give them power. All else equal, it was as easy to kill Stalin with an axe as it was Trotsky.
So Trump’s recent effort at exercising his own power is ultimately a question of how much power that the Republican Party is going to give to him. And I tend to think they will give him as much power as he wants. That’s because the Republican Party cares only about power. That’s what happens when your ideology is reduced to “give as much money and power to the people like me who already have a lot of money and power.”
The Despot in the White House
The whole thing may backfire on Trump. It’s unlikely to — at least until 2018. but it’s possible. The main thing to keep in mind is that you can have a rabidly pro-capitaliat despot like Trump. Or you can have a rabidly anti-capitalist despot like Stalin. It’s not about economics. It’s about power.
But it’s telling that Trump thought he had anything to fear. The Republicans have his back. Comey was just one man. When the legislature and courts are on your side, you have nothing to worry about. And that’s especially true when the man you supposedly fear, Comey, had lost almost all credibility
Meanwhile, we live in a nominal democracy, with a despot in power. It’s very, very sad.