A modern-day Greek tragedy is playing out before our very eyes. It's an epic event, the kind of thing historians centuries from now will study and wonder about, as we do today of tales of mad kings, tyrants and scheming Roman emperors of ancient time.
All things Donald Trump are the stuff of public spectacle, filled with puffery, duplicity, conspiracy, madness, mayhem, deceit and treason. Were it just a dusty tale of distant past, we could enjoy its unfolding, safe in knowledge it's long finished, safely tucked away in the cold storage of history.
But alas, we are in it " deep in it. We are towed along in its daily, even hourly, wake. Like it or not, it will take us, take us all, along with it, to what will certainly be a bitter end.
Of course we could, with more than a little justification, blame Democrats for blowing what should have been the easiest win in the party's history. But, tipping our hat to that likely truth, would miss an even more dastardly and significant truth: Republicans made a Faustian deal, a deal that now costs them their credibility and, come 2018, will likely cost many of them their seats in Congress.
The GOP's unholy deal was simple enough;
The party had spent decades mining the loyalties of America's "low-information demographic." They succeeded stirring up this group of largely white lower middle class folk, as evidenced by the Tea Party. When they saw that Trump could leverage this easily swayed group, placing the GOP in control of both the White House and Congress, they hitched the party wagon firmly to him.
Of course GOP leadership knew, and know even more so now, that Trump is a disaster waiting to happen. They knew that, once in office, they would have limited time before Trump self-destructs. In the meantime, before the real sh*t hits the fan, they hope they can pass the kind of far-right legislation that has eluded them for decades; to defund Planned Parenthood, gut the EPA, rollback industrial regulations that protect workers and the environment, slash taxes for corporations and the already filthy rich, gut public education in favor of "school choice," (ie. Privatize elementary public schools.)
They are hoping Trump lasts just long enough to sign such legislation into law before he's forced from office. And they know the time is short. At best they have 18 months, before they face the 2018 mid-terms and will have to, by that time, have distanced themselves from this damaged and damaging president. And by "distancing" I mean they will have to begin backing some process that removes Trump from the scene.
It's a very dangerous game they are playing. It reminds me of the game Stalin played with Hitler, signing a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1939, and agreeing to share the fruits of the dismemberment of Poland. Stalin, like Congressional Republicans, knew full well that Hitler was a cheat and a congenital liar. But he figured it was worth the risk. Hitler was clearly on a roll at time and he, Stalin, could benefit from a brief collaboration. And he did, at first. He got a hunk of Poland free and time to build up his military. But it was a brief honeymoon, and it the ultimate price Stalin paid was a "Barbarossa" " Hitler's attack on Russia came 18 months later"costing the lives of tens of millions of Russians.
Such are the fruits of most Faustian deals.
The Republicans are today where Stalin was when he and Hitler were salivating over the prospects of mutual gain. But GOP leaders know they are riding the proverbial tiger, furiously trying to do business as long as their foes are in disarray, but already looking for a way to safely jump off the beast. But, as uncomfortable as it's become for congressional Republicans, now it's still too dangerous to jump. Trump still has too much support among their large deplorable base, so they dare not. Instead now is the time to try to harvest what they can while their dangerous beast in the White House is still in charge. But it's a beast that, on some days, threatens to bite both friend and foe.