The Reluctant Townie | Some things to think about before you vote

The Reluctant Townie | Some things to think about before you vote

I've been doing my best to avoid writing about Donald Trump.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which being I don't want to waste any more of my precious time on this blue rock with his paunchy orange grimace bouncing around my head than necessary. Heaven help me if I'm inviting Trump into my bedroom every night, Google searching myself to sleep. (We don't even have the rubber sheets down!)

But with the gubernatorial primary elections scheduled for later this month (March 20, mark your calendars), I thought it might be an appropriate time to examine where we stand with the Trump presidency and his perpetual enablers — the Republican Party.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Donald Trump's presidency is the worst thing to happen to the United States since 9/11, and in some ways it is arguably more destructive. He has lowered so many bars, so quickly, that it's hard to believe anyone in this country ever respected the office of the president to begin with, let alone continues to do so.

It is breathtaking how much he's been able to trample down in such a short time. Bulldozer in a china shop with a bad combover.

If the Russian collusion theory is to be believed (more on that later), Trump's Kremlin handlers would have wanted nothing less than what his presidency has already given the American people: increased distrust in our democratic process and institutions, diminished standing on the world stage amongst our allies, an increased polarization of American society.

Is Trump a Russian monkey wrench dropped into the engine of our well-oiled machine to seize the gears of democracy?

Consider just this small sampling of suspicious, hard-to-explain behavior you may have forgotten in the chaos of the past 15 months:

— Before Trump's inauguration, Jared Kushner and (the now indicted) Michael Flynn attempted to set up a back channel for communicating with the Kremlin that would have bypassed American intelligence agencies.

— Trump hosted Russia's foreign minister and ambassador at the White House the day after he fired the director of the FBI for investigating his own campaign for possible Russian collusion, and their meeting was closed to the press (with the exception of a sole Russian photographer).

— Trump met with Russian President Valdimir Putin during the G20 Summit in July of 2017, without any U.S. staff present (including a translator), and the two talked for over an hour. The White House did not disclose this meeting but was outed by the media nearly two weeks later.

Any of those incidents taken by themselves would leave a bad taste, like cheap vodka and unfiltered Eastern European cigarettes. Add to those suspicious behaviors the fact that Donald "Would Flame Your Grandma At Her Funeral." Trump has insulted any number of our international allies and has no problem blowing raspberries at North Korea's adversarial dictator, but he has yet to utter a single critical word about Putin. In fact, he is pathologically nice to him.

Despite the assessment of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers mounted an elaborate, state-backed influence campaign during the 2016 election to aid in the victory of Donald Trump and despite the fact that Congress voted to impose new Russian sanctions for the election meddling with a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote last year, Trump continues to cast dispersions on the IC findings, and refuses to impose the new sanctions, completely ignoring a Jan. 29 deadline to implement them.

What reasonable explanation is there for this behavior? Besides Trump being in cahoots with, or being blackmailed by, Vladimir Putin?

Even explaining it all away as a narcissist's overcompensation for having the legitimacy of his electoral victory called into question (which is the second most-likely explanation for Trump's bizarre behavior) requires an extreme suspension of disbelief and doesn't explain his campaign's seemingly never-ending connections to Russia.

Occam's Razor would lead us to believe the simplest explanation is likely the correct one, and the simplest explanation here is that our current president is a willing, or unwilling, traitor to the United States. How does one #MAGA that?

Which brings us to the Republican Party. Try as they might to fight against Trump during the 2016 primaries (please clap), they quickly fell in line and now exist solely to support and enable his unsavory behavior.

While a Republican Party with a backbone might have stood up to Trump — and on occasion, a handful of Republican senators have, most of them only to backtrack quickly thereafter — the current majority in Congress goes out of their way to justify and/or obfuscate the truth surrounding the Trump administration. They know their political survival is symbiotic.

This is especially evident in the House-led Russia investigation, as California Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump's congressional water boy, has used every possible tactic to derail the investigation, and to distort the realities of the facts surrounding the inquiry.

Most recently that included hyping the release of the "Nunes Memo," a cherry-picked collection of classified intel designed to flip the Trump-Russia narrative script in the matter of public opinion (and which failed to do so spectacularly).

Illinois 13's congressional representative, Rodney Davis, proudly signed onto the #ReleaseTheMemo disinformation campaign, promoting its release on his social media, as did a torrent of Russian bots, as reported by Business Insider and propaganda watchdog Hamilton 68.

Republicans have sold out any integrity they might have had in their Faustian deal with Trump. As special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign continues to unfold, with 19 indictments so far and more on the way, Republicans are moving further toward the wrong side of history.

Something to keep in mind at the ballot box.

Ryan Jackson can't wait to eat this nothing burger when it's finished cooking, and he can be reached at

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cydnab wrote on March 04, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Nice editorial. But people that can pass Econ 101 will still vote for Trump.

Ryan Jackson wrote on March 04, 2018 at 2:03 pm

So treason is ndb if you're getting a couple extra bucks in your paycheck*?

Glad to know we have strong Republican patriots like you, comrade.

* GOP tax cut is a scam that will ultimately cost average Americans extra $$$. If they could pass Econ 101 they would know that...

eastsideexp wrote on March 04, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Ryan - Head to Carle to begin treatment for TDS.  Good luck:-)

Ryan Jackson wrote on March 05, 2018 at 10:03 am

You forgot to add a string of cry-laughing Emojis to your comment.

Feel free to enlighten me with your red pill explanation for Trump's man crush on Putin. Instead of deflecting, you could make the case for why there's no "there" there.

Unless, of course, you can't.

GLG wrote on March 05, 2018 at 1:03 pm

you have a lot of nerve talking aboutPresident Trumps  hair cut!

What is that your 6th grade graduation picture?

Ryan Jackson wrote on March 06, 2018 at 7:03 am