For many persons and groups in the United States, the Trump Administration represents their last chance – the last chance for xenophobes to keep out and deport immigrants and refugees, even those who have been living in our country since they were children; the last chance for Christian theocrats to encode their religious beliefs into public policy and law and stack the judicial system with like-minded judges; the last chance for racists and white supremacists to maintain and expand white dominance of our culture and economy; the last chance for sexists and misogynists to perpetuate patriarchal systems and practices and control the choices of women; the last chance for those clinging to fossil fuels as our primary energy source to dismantle environmental regulations and avoid any responsibility or accountability for climate change; the last chance for those pressing for more income inequality to satiate their greed by entrenching regressive tax systems and tearing apart our social safety net; and the last chance for those who want to privatize public institutions to make more money from privatizing education, prisons, and healthcare.
When people see something as their last chance, they get desperate, they do things they would not otherwise do, they support people horrible persons like Trump to be their leaders because, well, they think he is their last chance. Perhaps this is why there is almost nothing Trump could do to lose their support. In fact as Trump doubles down on the worst of who he is, his support among those who see him as their last chance continues unabated and is even strengthening.
The “last chancers” do not care about collusion with Russia; they do not care about Trump’s affairs, sexual harassment, and sexual assault; they do not care about Trump’s corruption and nepotism; they do not care that he defrauds contractors and customers; they do not care about his ethics violations; they do not care about his violent rhetoric; they do not care about his blatant racism (many of them share it); they do not care about his attacks on a free press; they do not care about his denigration of the Justice Department or the FBI; they do not care that he is a threat to our democracy and to their very foundations of our republic – because he is their last chance, and when people think someone or something is their last chance, they can get desperate.
Given the attitude of the “last chancers,” those of us resisting Trump and standing against the threat his administration poses to our republic must realize that those who support Trump as their last chance will do almost anything to keep Trump in power. We have to realize that we are not dealing with the Republican party during the time of Nixon who put country over party. We are dealing with a party of last chancers, a party and supporters who are desperate to make their last chance pay off for them. Mueller is not safe, the FBI is not safe, the Justice Department is not safe, our immigrant and refugee friends and neighbors are not safe, and our country is not safe as long as the last chancers are in power. We cannot simply sit back and rest on the assumption that checks and balances and institutions will save us because we are living in the time of desperation of those who see this moment in time as their last chance. Our institutions may yet prove resilient. We may yet make it through this constitutional crisis; but it will take significant engagement, vigilance, and an awareness of what is at stake. And what is at stake? – any hope we might have for a just, participatory, pluralistic, and sustainable society.