Losing the popular vote by three million didn't end the political career of Donald J. Trump, so it's difficult to figure out what actually will. The Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election kicks into another gear this week, so maybe this will be the final turning point?
The stakes will be raised as Donald Trump Jr. is to be convened before a Senate special committee behind closed doors. The "never Trump" crowd has banking on "Mueller time" to be what finally ends Donald Trump, and it very well may.
However, one must remember where we've been as we watch the Russia investigation unfold. Trump has already survived dozens of consequences that would have destroyed the political career of anybody that isn't Trump.
Since he announced his presidential ambitions with a speech that painted Mexicans as rapists, we've been watching a horror movie where every time you think the villain is about to get vanquished, he's not. On numerous occasions, we thought we had reached the part of the film where we learn "Oh, that's how you kill off the monster."
Every single time, we've been wrong, but maybe Mueller is finally the Batman that Gotham has needed and longed for.
It was very difficult to limit this list to just five, so we tried to keep it to only the most egregious.
1. The Access Hollywood Tape
We had an actual video of a major party candidate bragging about repeatedly committing an act that is the very definition of sexual assault - yet he somehow won. Even more alarming and disturbing, the other guy in the video, who did nothing but listen and laugh along, saw his entire career vaporized. If one instance validates the Teflon Don theory it's this one, a classic definition of an October Surprise that somehow still wasn't enough to sway the election.
Neither was the fact that almost every single observer and analyst believed Trump lost all three presidential debates.
2. Attacking the Gold Star Family
After the invasion of Iraq and the catastrophe that followed, the Bush administration deservedly received a ton of criticism. As we learned from another previous quagmire, Vietnam, the troops following orders shouldn't be eviscerated for following the horribly misguided orders handed to them.
Thus, since the mid 2000s, the military has essentially been above criticism in many ways.
What about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to this great nation? Surely, their loved ones are off-limits, right? Anyone who attacks them will be shamed into irrelevance, yes?
Not for Trump, who is shameless and has no regard for anyone and anything but his own interests.
It used to be that calling someone or something a Nazi during an argument was a last resort and practically admission of defeat. That's because Nazis were recently considered so overwhelmingly evil that applying this label to your opponent was the worst thing you could do.
Those were of course simpler times when just about everyone in America hated Nazis.
Then Nazism resurfaced, calling itself the Alt-Right, and they held a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. An innocent woman was murdered in cold blood by a white supremacist, and Trump's reaction was to say that the group of Alt-Right demonstrators in attendance that infamous day included a group of "some very fine people."
4. Failure to Divest His Businesses After Ascending to the Presidency
Other than the Russia investigation, a potential violation of the emoluments clause could be the most likely cause of a Donald Trump presidency ending prematurely. It's not sexy enough to get all the headlines, but the law is the law, and it doesn't care what moves the needle.
5. Stubbornly Hiding His Tax Returns
Just like they said in Watergate: "follow the money." Maybe this is all, at its simplest, a matter of building a Trump Tower Moscow, and he couldn't come up with the payment, so instead he just handed control of the Federal Government to Vladimir Putin?
If that's so, or something close to it, you would almost certainly see guideposts to that scenario in his tax returns, which Donald Trump has bent over backwards to conceal.
Just missed/could have easily been swapped in for any of the five above:
Embodying the very definition of a racist by claiming a judge can't do his job due to his Mexican heritage, demanding the highest order of federal law enforcement officials swear complete allegiance to him, referencing an orgy in a speech to children, welcoming Russian spies into the White House, appointing his family to key leadership positions like the leader of a banana republic, his own son freely admitting that they attempted to collude (and possibly commit treason) by working with Russia, repeatedly insisting that the 44th POTUS was literally the founder of ISIS, calling on second amendment zealots to attack his opponent, threatening to jail his opponent.
What did we leave out? Include anything that we missed in the comment section below-
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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