We All Just Ignored Donald Trump’s Watergate Moment
Back in the early 1970s in the midst of a Presidential election Richard Milhouse Nixon hired a couple of goons to break into the hotel where the Democratic National Committee was keeping its records. Said goons were caught in the act. It quickly became such a national disgrace that Richard Nixon, who was never once mentioned in a positive correlation with honor and integrity, resigned from the office of the President and handed the reins over to one Gerald Ford, who would go down as one of the worst American Presidents and yet another example of why you do not want just any old Vice President taking over the Oval Office (Tyler and Andrew Johnson being the best examples of this conundrum). The scandal was named after the Watergate Hotel wherein Nixon’s goon squad was caught and ever since then America has acknowledged this formative information age scandal by throwing -gate onto the end of anything that even remotely resembles a scandal.
In 2016 in the midst of a Presidential election the email server of the Democratic National Committee was hacked. Emails taken from said email server were leaked on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, forcing the Democratic Party Chair to step down less than 24 hours before the start of the Convention. The Republican candidate, one Donald J. Trump, then went on the stump and repeated (mostly unfounded) claims that Russian hackers were behind this most delightful and victimless crime. He then went on to beg Russian President Vladimir Putin to see if he could find his opponent’s supposed missing emails from when she was the sitting Secretary of State.
So where does this leave us? We have yet another example of the complete and utter removal of any sense of decency and morality from the Republican Party. We also have absolute, unabashed proof that the American news media is no longer operating as an organ of information but an organ of propaganda and entertainment. They will happily write headlines putting “-gate” on the end of any made up, pseudo-scandal but when the closest thing America has seen to an actual Watergate arrives they shrug and go back to talking about how the Democratic National Convention is in chaos because some unrepentant Bernie Sanders supporters booed for a bit on Monday.
Donald Trump is an onrushing disaster mixing the worst habits of the 20th Century together. He is a divisive demagogue worse than Huey Long or Father Tom Coughlin. He race baits like George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. He blathers and blusters about the once great American Empire like Benito Mussolini. He lacks even the tiny shred of dignity and and honesty possessed by Richard Nixon. In a sane world we all would have jumped off of his train a long time ago. In this world some forty percent of Americans cheer his name while the news counts page views and eyeballs and gleefully rakes in advertising dollars. What was once a joke we laughed at before going to sleep at night will soon be the nightmare we wish we could wake up from.
Time and time again Donald Trump has acted beyond the pale for a potential American President. Time and time again he has given us reason to kick him to the curb and pretend this strange flirtation with governance as reality TV was just a laugh and the adults would soon be allowed back in the room. Time and again Donald Trump has made it clear that under his leadership America will be diminished at best and disaster at worst. Now, less than a week after delivering a meandering, self-aggrandizing speech on the heels of his party chairman calling for pogroms against their political opponents and his surrogates calling for a renewal of the Alien & Sedition Acts Donald Trump is flirting with treason. He has asked a foreign government to release official government documents for his own craven political gains.
It’s too bad Richard Nixon didn’t live to see the fulfillment of his political invention.