Trump supporters
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Greg Sargent poses a hypothetical that isn’t really hypothetical at all:

Because Trump is undermining our democratic norms and processes in so many ways, it is often easy to focus on each of them in isolation, rather than as part of the same larger story. But, taken together, they point to a possible climax in which Trump, cornered by revelations unearthed by Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and by ongoing media scrutiny, seeks to rally his supporters behind the idea that this outcome represents not the imposition of accountability by functioning civic institutions, but rather an effort to steal the election from him — and from them.

This isn’t a “possible” outcome. It’s already happened. Last Thursday he made an appearance in West Virginia at what amounted to a campaign rally. He told the assembled audience:

“They can’t beat us at the voting booths, so they’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want. They’re trying to cheat you out of the leadership you want with a fake story that is demeaning to all of us, and most importantly, demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution.”

But, here’s the thing. What are we supposed to do about it? Back down? Tell Mueller to lay off and for the media to lay down? If Trump is forced to resign or is impeached and convicted, there will be a lot of Americans who are angry about it and that believe it amounts to an unconstitutional coup. So what? Will these people be a problem? I imagine that some of them will be. I can foresee some civil unrest, even some violence. But it’s not like we should be intimidated. And what can we do about it anyway? This isn’t a time for handwringing or cowardice, and I don’t see why it matters that Trump is going to make this as painful as possible. Of course he is. What matters is whether this country still has enough of a pulse and enough self-respect to take care of the problem we have in the White House. Pretty much nothing else matters at all.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at