If the "Trump is doomed" narrative sounds familiar, it is because we have been hearing some version of this on an almost daily basis from the mainstream media since even before President Donald Trump entered the White House.
It is one thing to hear criticism of this type of anticipatory journalism from conservatives but in this case it is the New Republic's Jeet Heer, hardly a Trump supporter, who wrote the critique about the MSM living in a fantasy world in which Trump is constantly on the verge of leaving office. We Are (Probably) Not in the “End Stages” of Trump’s Presidency should be mandatory reading for everybody in the MSM who wants to discover how ridiculous they appear to the unobsessed world:
The media has been imagining Donald Trump’s downfall since the moment he announced his candidacy in 2015. During the 2016 campaign, these daydreams and predictions took many forms: Trump would be undone by his racism, or his sexism, or his political inexperience, or his policy ignorance, or the Access Hollywood tape. After Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, the media spun scenarios in which state-level recounts overturned the result, or the Electoral College revolted against him. And if Trump somehow survived until Inauguration Day? Then perhaps the 25th Amendment would topple him.
For more than a year now, though, the expectation of a foreshortened presidency has been driven largely by special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Every new development is treated like a bombshell, collapsing the distinction between routine investigative procedure and legitimate revelations. The public could not be faulted for assuming that Mueller’s conclusions, whenever he comes to them and releases them to the public, will mark the beginning of the end for Trump—that it’s only a matter of when, not if, he leaves the White House prematurely.
And yet, there remains no publicly available evidence that Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton in 2016. Mueller may have such evidence, but it’s just as likely—if not more so—that he does not. His investigation could yield other conclusions, such as Trump’s obstruction of justice in firing FBI Director James Comey, but it’s not clear that Congress would find them sufficient to warrant removing Trump from office. In other words, Mueller may well not be Trump’s downfall, either.
After Mueller made no charges of Russian collusion in February that hardly made a difference to most of the MSM. They simply continued unabated in the hope that something, anything could be out there that would lead to Trump leaving office early. The latest iteration of this MSM Trump exit fantasy was the FBI raid on Michael Cohen's office and hotel room:
Perhaps that’s why some journalists are reading so deeply into the news last week that the FBI had raided the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, a longtime Trump attorney and fixer, seizing documents, emails, and even audio recordings. (Federal prosecutors obtained the warrant after a referral from Mueller, but the raid is not part of his investigation.) “This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency,” The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson wrote in a widely praised column on Saturday. “This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.”
But Davidson is premature in arguing that, as he put it, “We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.” For one thing, Davidson overstates Cohen’s role in the Trump Organization. As Bloomberg’s Timothy L. O’Brien points out, “Cohen has never run the company in a significant way.” Other figures, notably former Trump lawyer Jason Greenblatt and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, are far more important in the Trump Organization chain of command.
And now some really sad news for hopeful liberals out there:
Even Davidson, in tweets after his piece was published, allowed that Trump might win re-election. “I feel highly confident that more people will be indicted, prosecuted, and more fairly irrefutable evidence will emerge. It will also reframe the things we already have reported. I have no idea if this process takes 3 months or 3 years,” he wrote. “I don’t know if Trump will be impeached. I find it highly unlikely he’d win reelection but he might. That being said, I think that he is already in something of a lame duck phase. His presidency is, already, in some ways, over.”
It’s hard to see how we are at the end stages of the Trump presidency if, as Davidson allows, he could be in office for another three or even six years.