For those of us who opposed Donald Trump from the beginning, we have passed beyond the #NeverTrump phase, past the “take what we can get” phase, and even past the cringing embarrassment that he’s the leader of our party.
Now comes the cackling-maniacal-laughter schadenfreude stage. Yes, that’s right. This is so big that we need a really nasty German word to describe it.
This is the stage some of us have been waiting for since the beginning: the stage when Trump tacks back to the left and makes nice with Democrats—and not just any Democrats, but the worst of the swamp creatures. It’s the point where he wrecks every part of the supposed Republican agenda and sells out his core supporters, even as they struggle desperately to convince themselves that it’s all a super-smart feint to Make America Great Again.
This phase was inaugurated with Trump’s meeting with congressional leaders last week over the debt ceiling, when he sold out congressional Republicans and cozied up with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to endorse their proposal to raise the debt ceiling for another three months with no bargaining and no conditions.
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
Meanwhile, administration officials are hinting that Trump’s announcement that he will end the “Dreamer” program in six months unless congressional Republicans come up with a legislative replacement is just a bluff. After all, a big announcement followed by failure to follow through is entirely consistent with the art of the deal as practiced by Trump.
So Trump supporters are now in a situation where it looks like, by the end of his first year in office, there will be no wall, no mass deportations, no Obamacare repeal, no tax reform—but there will be multiple extension of the debt ceiling and a permanent legislative version of amnesty for some illegal aliens. But hey, we’ll always have Gorsuch!
As this possibility shapes up, Trump supporters have been caught out for having heaped invective in the past on establishment Republicans for doing the same thing Trump just did—and somehow not being able to apply the same standards to their man.
— Marcus Hawkins (@HawkinsUSA) September 7, 2017
“Maybe if I start using a unicorn emoji this will all make sense” pic.twitter.com/rWhwflWHoL
— Kilgore Trout (@KT_So_It_Goes) September 7, 2017
Except for Ann Coulter, who has been using Trump’s preferred medium, Twitter, to push out a series of angry tweets denouncing him for selling out his supporters on their central agenda item, immigration.
The problem is that less than a year ago, Coulter published a book titled In Trump We Trust, laying out the case for him as the one politician who would finally make good on her anti-immigration agenda. The key word there is “trust.” Trump’s fanatical advocates violated what I think should be the First Commandment of the Right: “Place not they faith in politicians.”
Yet these are the people who thumped their chests and mocked us for doubting Trump, declaring that we were weak and compromising and impugning our very manhoods. (Remember that these are the people who dragged the term “cuck” from its sordid corners of the Internet and brought it into the mainstream.)
So sure, it’s totally appropriate to take a few moments to gloat at the collapse of Trumpism. But let’s not spend too long in this phase.
Maybe Trump’s apparent triangulation is just temporary and won’t last. Maybe we’ll still get another good Supreme Court nominee. Maybe the Republican Congress will get its act together and actually pass some kind of Obamacare repeal. (Sorry, my cackling maniacal schadenfreude laughter just degraded into hysterical crying laughter.)
At any rate, the satisfaction of schadenfreude won’t last long, because the big picture is our failure to address out of control government spending, the ballooning federal debt, and their key driver, the bloated middle-class welfare state—which nobody is even pretending to do anything about at this point.
So get in our laughs while we can, and then get over it, because those problems (and others) are eventually going to push us into a crisis, and the Trump era will have left all of us less prepared than ever to face it.