Obama’s Final Hope

A paradigm shift is in order before America’s destiny for the next 4 years is tied to this inauguration and Obama reconciles himself to the inevitable disintegration of his legacy.

When Donald Trump feared a Republican popular vote victory but ultimate defeat in the Electoral College to incumbent President Obama in 2012, he took to Twitter to lambaste the Electoral College and called to “march on Washington and stop this travesty.” He doubled down on incitement to “a revolution”: “Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice!” In March 2016, he raised (but did not denounce) the probability of “riots” and “problems like you’ve never seen before…bad things” if denied the Republican nomination. On the prospect of conceding his expected defeat to Clinton, Trump told us to hold our breath: “I’ll keep you in suspense.” Ironically and hypocritically, he would decry the “Not My President” riots that contested his own Electoral College victory as “very unfair.”my poster Obama reciprocated Trump’s recurring dismissal of democratic norms by recognizing and accepting Trump’s win within hours; Obama also championed “a respect for our institutions…rule of law” and that is key. In his “Farewell Address” on January 10, Obama referred to Trump’s inauguration as “a hallmark of our democracy.” He converted the crowd’s spontaneous jeers of disappointment into cheers by calling attention to “the peaceful transfer of power, from one freely elected president to the next” which deserved “the smoothest possible transition.” Obama deflected the matter at hand from Trump and his policies to the transition of power itself. Steadfast fidelity to democracy and the rule of law, a far cry from Trump’s self-serving, selective application of democratic norms, may grant validity to future ploys to unseat Trump. Obama realizes that he must adhere to the political apparatus and set a precedent for the smooth, lawful transition of power to Trump, so that the same can be easily carried out after Trump in the next elections or earlier through impeachment. A Democratic congressional majority, possible after the 2018 midterm elections, or enough Republican congressmen recognizing Trump as more of an ideological and political liability than an asset, may seek to impeach Trump. A constitutional impeachment would be no less democratic than the Electoral College glossing over the popular vote.

The question has been raised, most notably by several congressmen recently, as to whether Trump is a legitimate candidate for public office to begin with. Israel, for one, has a precedent of denying candidates the ability to run for office. Knesset Member Rabbi Meir Kahane and his Kach party were barred from running in the 1988 elections on the grounds of their racist platform and the concept of a defensive democracy.

Trump’s political career is the germ that infected the American and world body politic with a fever that has only risen. His movement has revived abhorrent political ideologies and may cause a domino effect worldwide of populism and bigotry. A hundred wise men cannot remove the stone that a single fool throws into the well. The international community is threatened not by a pebble but the arsenal at the disposal of the leader of the free world.

Trump is incapable of separating his personal business empire from the people’s business he assumes as the POTUS. Having close family run the business does not properly divorce Trump himself from dealings, a fact compounded by nepotism expressed in Trump’s appointments. It would be rather simple for interested parties to trap Trump by bringing into play numerous conflicts of interests. Due to the international nature of The Trump Organization, this could be done beyond America’s borders and through the utilization of foreign citizens.

While plenty of loyal supporters are willing to overlook any and all flaws on Trump’s part, the media will not tune out during the coming years. Despised for their obvious bias, the media has already risen to the challenge since Trump first entered the campaign. Trump took them on successfully and won the election, partly spurred by animosity towards the mainstream establishment of which the media compromises an integral part, but they may yet have the last laugh by exposing a sensational scandal. Trump takes great pleasure in vengeance; his opponents may yet have theirs. Remaining close on his tail, they may deliver a KO in the final round of this match.

About the Author
Elad Daniel Pereg studies Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University. He was raised in LA before returning to Israel, his land of birth. He speaks, in fluctuating levels of fluency, English, Hebrew, Farsi, and Arabic. He aspires to one day serve Israel either as an MK or ambassador to Iran.