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Monday, 21 January 2019

Steamrolling

Each day we read new articles that reveal how the 2016 US presidential election was tampered. Each new revelation is (slightly) worse than the previous one. This approach can be characterized as steamrolling: "bring to a specified state by overwhelming force or pressure". The analogy stems from the steamroller, which is used for paving roads.

Interestingly, 2015 presidential candidate Trump used the same steamrolling approach to first conquer Republican opposition and then conquer the final Democratic Party candidate. Each scandal that Trump provoked was worse than his previous scandal. There was hardly time to recuperate from those scandals. At some point you just get numb and stop resisting change. 

It appears that Robert Mueller and others are now using Trump's steamrolling approach against him in order to make his - sofar unwavering - supporters go numb. The timing of these revelations may relate to the US government shutdown, or Mueller's forthcoming report on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections - or both. 

The US government shutdown is another example of Trump steamrolling his opponents into submission. The 45th President is using - and abusing - some 800,000 unpaid federal employees as leverage for his Great Wall negotiations. On 27 December 2018, Trump tweeted: “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?” (NYT)

Initially, government shutdowns were the consequence of US Congress (ie, parliament) failing to agree on government funding. Later, it became a partisan parliamentary weapon for obstructing a sitting President. Today, it's a tool for the 45th US President to get what he wants. 

Trump's steamrolling approach appears to violate the presidential oath of office:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Conversation, July 2018: "Some legal observers believe that the presidential oath reflects a unique personal duty to shield the Constitution from external and internal threats to its integrity and sustainability."

A government shutdown is, however, Trump's ultimate blackmail. If and when Trump loses, he will lose (much) more than his Great Wall. Then Trump's many opponents will start steamrolling him into submission.

Steamroller Blues (1970) by James Taylor

Well, I'm a steamroller, baby
I'm bound to roll all over you
Yes, I'm a steamroller, baby
I'm bound to roll all over you


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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