Democrats spend a lot of time these days in spittle-flecked rages over the racism, incompetence, thuggery, hatred and corruption that envelopes the Trump administration daily.
"OMG, I can't believe ..." is the way many social media statements begin, followed by six exclamation points. It seems to be the flavor of the day for progressives.
And there's a lot there, every day of every week. Whether it's the president and his lickspittles taking migrant children away from their parents, trying to strip away rights of LGBTQ Americans, ordering the U.S. military to step aside so the Turks could overrun northern Syria and slaughter Kurds, asking for help from a foreign government to manufacture dirt on a political opponent or trying to illegally award an international summit to a Trump resort, it's exhausting being exasperated so often.
There seems to be a belief among Democrats that the latest, greatest affront to decency or the law is finally going to be the poke that stirs Republicans to stand up and do something, anything, to check Trump.
The fantasy seems to be that a Republican of power, a U.S. senator or cabinet member, is going to stand up bravely before the world and demand Trump shape up. Then, Democrats apparently believe, the country can get back to disagreeing about taxes and abortion while playing by the same set of rules. You know, like the good old days.
Spoiler alert: It ain't happening.
Republicans don't care anymore. They're willing to let Trump say and do whatever he wants, including grifting in the open and allowing an ally to be slaughtered because of the president's incompetence, as long as they can retain power. Laws, ethics, morals —even the appearance of those things — no longer matter. Power and profit, and getting the ends they seek no matter the means, is all that matters.
This is where Republicans are so much better at cynical politics than Democrats, who naively cling to outdated beliefs that etiquette and tradition, not to mention the law, matter. Mitch McConnell hit them over the head with a Neil Gorsuch hammer in 2016, with no discernible awakening.
We've reached the point where one of Trump's henchman can stand before the cameras and announce a world summit is going to be held at a Trump resort, clearly meaning millions in profits for the president and his family and just as clearly a violation of the law, and many Republicans smirk and shrug their shoulders. Get over it, they say. Trump pulled the plug on his grand profiteering scheme, but Republicans showed their hand.
Trump is daring Republicans to stop him and they won't. They're on the train, they're going to ride it as long as possible, and they don't care what emerges on the other end as long as they get judges, lower taxes, fewer regulations or whatever piece of flotsam they seek. It's not about democracy, the Constitution or norms. It's about power.
Republicans are driving a bulldozer while Democrats stand in their way waving pieces of paper crying, "But, but, but, but ... this isn't fair!"
The quicker the Democrats realize this, the better chance they'll have to win the White House in 2020 and staunch the bleeding from our democracy. Don't hold your breath.