Connect with us

Opinion

When Will the Trump Show End?

Published

on

This opinion piece was written by Dr. Ionas Aurelian Rus, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College (USA). The opinion does not necessarily represent the opinion of the editorial staff of Moldova.org.

***

I have been asked repeatedly when the Trump presidency will end. My answer has been for several months “Probably on January 20, 2021”.
Trump’s presidency has been far from a success, yet the fact remains that whatever can be proven about Donald Trump, namely the fact that the real estate tycoon engaged in money laundering, is probably not one of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” necessary for impeachment and removal from office any more than Bill Clinton’s perjury about what he did with Monica “Jaws” Lewinsky. The issue of whether there is a “smoking gun” in connection with Russiagate is the wrong question. There is a smoking gun in the case of various people linked to Trump, some of whom will go to jail. Yet the interpretation of the evidence has come to be seen as an issue of opinion in the post-modern age of “alternative facts”. It is unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate will remove the president who lost the popular vote by almost three million votes to Hillary Clinton from office.
Trump’s popularity rate of 40%, which has been stationary for a long time, is not sufficient for re-election, yet it is also too high for impeachment. Very many of the Republican House of Representatives members will vote against impeachment due to the fear of Trumpist competition in the Republican primaries. They might be seen as “profiles in lack of courage” from a Democratic perspective, or as individuals dedicated to a Republican legislative agenda from some conservative perspectives. The standard conservative candidate for the Republican nomination for the Virginia governorship for 2017, Ed Gillespie, barely won by 43.7% against the Trumpist Corey Stuart, who got 42.5% on June 13, 2017. Many House of Representatives members do dislike Trump, but most of their voters despise the Democrats so much that impeachment is out of the question as long as the Republicans control the House. Even if the Democrats will win the House of Representatives elections of 2018, which is less than 50% likely, it is unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate will vote for Trump’s removal from office.
Trump has indeed lost some support in comparison with the November 2016 elections, but those voters whose support he has lost are unlikely to vote in the Republican primaries. He has lost the support of many of the Democratic populists and has gained the support of some former Cruz voters who are satisfied that the president is, surprisingly to them, conservative enough. Trump has been a “fake outsider”, in respect to China a “fake protectionist”, and probably a fake populist. Unlike the wealthy, but elitist, 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, he does not strike one as an elitist who would eat “grey poupon, one of the life’s finer pleasures”. Just like Bill Clinton, Trump likes McDonald’s.
Trump has been lucky with his enemies, not only in the Republican primaries and the general election but also in the press. The flaw of the mostly Democratic Washington and New York press, especially in relation to Russiagate, is obsessiveness, which makes it boring for a person with a short attention span. That Trump has been guilty of unethical behavior is clear. Yet his spirited defense of his former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn is less reminiscent of Richard Nixon during Watergate from the movie “All the President’s Men” (though the reality was more complex than the movie), and more similar to Harry Truman’s defense of the former State Department employee and Soviet Communist spy Alger Hiss, who was convicted of perjury in 1950.
There was also a fear that Donald Trump would hand over various countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to the Russian sphere of influence. This has not happened at the G-20 meeting, while in Warsaw, Poland, Trump fully endorsed NATO. Would there have been more leaks about Trumpworld’s links with Russia if NATO would not have been fully endorsed, or if Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia would have been handed over by Trump to the Russian sphere of influence? Perhaps. Yet this is not the age when this could be easily done. There is, after all, even a European Union which does not want these countries to join the Russian sphere of influence. If he would have attempted to help Putin expand his sphere of influence, that would have constituted proof of intentionality and thus of impeachability in the Trump team’s collusion with Russia. And Trump is still a very intelligent man, who knows how to hire very well-paid, very smart lawyers.
Yet reciprocating Russian president’s Vladimir Putin’s endorsement of Trump during the 2016 elections and his “extra credit” help with the elections, as one of my former students called it, Trump has de facto endorsed Putin for his 2018 re-election at G-20. Trump’s past investments in other countries before his presidency did not take into account human rights. The current administration has been much less supportive of human rights around the world than any U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, to the immense pleasure of Russia’s president. Putin seems indeed like Dr. Evil. We are thus dealing with organized evil, whereas Trump is merely “creative” with his Twitter.
The charismatic Republican star Trump, who succeeded Barack Obama, has also benefited from opponents who were not charismatic in the Republican primaries and caucuses, and against Hillary Clinton in the general election. Trump was quite original in his insults, but his elite opponents have not been up to the task. It is hard to imagine that any Republican could defeat Trump in the quest for the Republican nomination for 2020, and the opinion polls are showing that he would get the support of 59 to 68% in September 2018. Ohio’s Republican governor John Kasich, who is of Czech and Croatian ancestry, is planning to run for the Republican nomination in 2020 and will damage Trump.
Trump has also benefited from Putin’s “useful idiots” from the unreasonable left of the Jill Stein, Oliver Stone, and Stephen Cohen variety, who could be seen on RT (Russia Today) and in other places. Trump is afraid of being assassinated by the CIA, just as in Oliver Stone’s famous movie, “JFK”. Progressive public figures have not taken a position against Putin’s useful idiots, though they should have. In 1948, the mainstream liberals defined the pro-Soviet Russian elements as beyond the pale, but this did not happen in 2016. And, in a certain section of academia, there is more sympathy for those fired from the State Department under Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry under Obama for being too pro-Russia than for those fired under Secretary of State Tillerson under Trump for being too anti-Russia.
Could Trump be re-elected? This is unlikely, but not impossible, in the case of a catastrophe like the 9/11/2001 attacks, or of a series of bomb threats and actual bombings in the bathrooms in train stations and colleges, brought to us by Russian intelligence under the “modest” guidance of Vladimir Putin. Could Trump be impeached and removed from office? This is very unlikely, but he might resign a la Richard Nixon, and he might even invoke health as a reason for his resignation. Yet even that scenario of a shortened Trump presidency is unlikely.
So Trump will probably continue serving as the president of the U.S. until January 20, 2021, after which he will probably be succeeded by the Democratic presidential candidate. In any case, his epitaph should be, just like that of Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, “He Seen His Opportunities, and He Took ‘Em.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Culture

East or West? Celebrating Victory Day and Europe Day at the same time

Published

on

For 3 years, people in the Republic of Moldova have been debating what is more important: celebrating Victory Day or Europe Day on the 9th of May? In 2017, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a law to make Europe Day an official holiday in Moldova, along with Victory Day.

Every political party, regardless of the political views, organize a celebration on this day. This year, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the Șor Party organised concerts, parades and demonstrations for celebrating Victory Day, whereas the political bloc ACUM, the Liberal Party (LP) and the National Unity Party (NUP) celebrated Europe Day. Another political actor – the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) tried to please everyone and organised a holiday of “peace and prosperity for Moldova”.

At the same time, the Moldovan Government decided to focus merely on Victory Day and postponed Europe Day for the following weekend, on May 11th-12th. In such a way, they considered the conflict of interests resolved.

Now it’s the proper moment to ask: what is the problem with having 2 different holidays on the same day? In fact, they are not even contradictory. On the contrary, they are related, as the end of World War II and the surrender of the Allies armed forces (which is celebrated on May 8th in Europe) represented an important drive for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community – the forerunner to the European Union. Actually, the only problem with it is the context of the Moldovan social and political behaviour.

First, both holidays are politicized and are transformed into an apple of discord deliberately, as the Moldovan politicians, especially those who are in power today, understand very well that a divided society means a weaker society; therefore, an easier to control society. The debates about directing Moldova to West (the EU) or East (the CIS) never stopped in Moldova. On May 9th, everyone argues about that: the governors, official representatives of the civil society, activists and, consequently, common people that instead of taking time to discuss their real problems, new businesses, initiatives, projects, protests against the injustice that is done to them, most of them are dividing in groups, spreading hatred and treating superficially the true meaning of both celebrations.

People forget that Victory Day is not about expensive concerts organised by the socialists or buckwheat with pickled cucumbers served in the city centre by the democrats. It is not about pompous demonstrations that involve children who are forced to dance synchronously instead of listening from their parents, grandparents and teachers about the tragic consequences of the Second World War.

Children singing and dancing on Victory Day| Photo: ZdG

On the other hand, Europe Day is more than classical music concerts organised in the central park of the Moldovan capital. Behind the exposed photo galleries are people that have been working a lot, searched and applied for European funds, people that didn’t expect somebody to simply come and save them from the poverty, corruption, injustice, etc. Unfortunately, such people are still not enough in Moldova and Europe Day is treated by the majority just as superficially as any other holiday in Moldova: an occasion to eat out, listen to concerts’ music and have fun.

Moreover, the governmental institutions and some big media outlets present the events happening on May 9th as a natural occurrence. So, the fact that several political parties ‘marked’ their territories in the city centre of Chișinău, organizing their own events for their own electorate is considered normal. The direct use of propagandist methods combined with avoidance to declare the events’ costs by the political parties is not a problem in Moldova.

We live nowadays in a country stuck between Eastern and Western worlds, which can perfectly make it without our existence. We live in a country with poor people, morally poor first of all, as we don’t really know much about our past and don’t care as much about our future.  None of these two holidays real meaning is interesting for the biggest majority of the population. We just love their symbolism that takes us back in the past or enables us to dream about the future. May 9th is just another reason to celebrate, not more than that.

Photos: Ziarul de Garda

Continue Reading

Featured

Why do Moldovans have fewer official holidays but still don’t work more than Germans?

Published

on

I am an emigrant. Several years ago, I left my home country – Moldova and, after several changes, I ended up in Germany. No, I am not telling you my life story. You just would need some background information to understand why I decided to call your attention to this sensitive topic.

Every year, I encounter the same situation: a lot of people from Moldova are complaining about too many public holidays in Moldova, empty streets and paralysed public services. Especially during this period: Orthodox Easter Monday (April 29th), Labour Day (May 1st), Memorial Easter (May 6th), Victory Day or Europe day (May 9th) – a reason for one more dissension in the Moldovan society, all of them in just two weeks.

So, in a way, it is understandable why some people are not very happy about it. But are they not happy because of the public holidays’ existence or because of the way things are taken care of during these days?

There are a lot of countries in this world that have more public holidays per year. One of them is Germany. That’s true, one of the most hard-working nations in this world (at least according stereotypes) has slightly more public holidays than we, Moldovans, do. So, does that mean that Germans work less throughout the year? Not necessarily.

Well, let’s take it one by one.

First of all, as compared to the Moldovan people that have 12 public holidays in 2019, Germans, in particular Bavarian people (this is the region where I live in) have 13 officially declared public holidays for the same year. Nonetheless, I never heard that Germans would collectively and continuously complain about that. On the contrary, they love it.

Somehow, they got used to the fact that on national public holidays and on Sundays everything is closed, including the grocery stores. In bigger cities, there is still at least one open grocery store at the central train station. In smaller towns, people have the option of gas stations stores only.

Now imagine how people in Moldova would react if one day the government would decide to implement such a measure and almost all grocery stores would be closed on Sundays. It would be a catastrophe!

Germans learned to plan, to prepare everything in advance. That is one thing that Moldovans need to learn as well.

One more important aspect is that some service industries are still open: public transportation is still punctual, even though, it comes less often, there are enough hotels, cafes and restaurants that provide their services, as well as entertainment and sport institutions like theaters, cinemas, museums, swimming pools, tennis courts and so on, remain open. And of course, the emergency services such as fire, medical, police services are available. People that work in these areas usually receive supplemental pay for working on Sundays and holidays. They understand that their job is important for other people who want to be safe or go out during their free time. At the same time, nobody expects postal services, administrative institutions, fashion shops, travel agencies, family doctors, lawyers to work in these days.

What do I want to actually say through this article? It is not as much about the amount of working time as it is about the efficiency of the effort. It is the government’s job to assure the basic public services during the national public holidays (e.g., public transportation) and it is the people’s job to adapt to the free days setting and plan everything in advance. That refers to Moldovans as well – we should stop complaining and try to be more productive during the working days, so that no frustrations would appear when we have our free days, which are, by the way, not as many as we think.

Continue Reading

Important

Expert: The possible effects of snap elections in the Republic of Moldova

Published

on

The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IEPR) published recently an analytical note that describes the possible effects that the snap parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova could have.

The main conclusion expressed in the note: the decline in the geopolitical character of the recent parliamentary elections, the delay in functioning of the institutional structures of the newly elected parliament, and the uncertainty about the formation of a parliamentary majority capable of appointing a new government, escalates the risk of having snap parliamentary elections.

According to the author of the document, Mihai Mogîldea, an IEPR associate expert, more than 2 months after the parliamentary elections, the political parties that entered the Parliament failed to advance in the establishment of a parliamentary majority. The only rounds of consultations, organized by the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the political bloc ACUM, revealed the diametrically opposed positions regarding a possible coalition formation.

Moreover, the character of the geopolitical vote, used in the previous elections as a powerful tool of dividing the society on the basis of language, ethnicity, geographical location and geopolitical options, has changed. “As less geopolitical discourse during the last pre-electoral and electoral period was present, the attention of the political parties was focused on other areas besides foreign and security policy of the Republic of Moldova,” stated Mogîldea.

At the same time, by analyzing the impact of the mixed electoral system and electoral rhetoric on the results of the parliamentary elections, the author concluded that the current electoral system favoured to a large extent the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), which with a result of 23.62% of the votes (the results in the national constituency) obtained 30 seats in Parliament (out of which 17 seats were allocated based on single-seat constituencies results). On the other hand, the mixed electoral system clearly disfavoured the ACUM bloc, which received 26.84% of the votes and only 26 seats (12 seats based on single-seat constituencies results). Even if the PSRM obtained the highest electoral score (31.15%) and the highest number of seats (35), it proved to suffer the greatest loss from the mixed electoral system. Due to the configuration of the single-seat constituencies, the PSRM lost its primacy in the regions considered to be pro-Russian.

Therefore, the following effects of early parliamentary elections in Moldova can be highlighted:

Effect 1. Running early parliamentary elections in in a short space of time after the local elections could favor the DPM, which could get a higher score of about 5-7% due to its administrative resources at the local level.
Effect 2. The active involvement of President Igor Dodon in a possible electoral campaign for the snap parliamentary elections would facilitate the wider mobilization of Socialists’ voters.
Effect 3. Keeping the non-geopolitical character of the electoral campaign might disadvantage the PSRM, whose electorate may partially and gradually migrate to the supporters of the “Șor” Party.
Effect 4. The organisation of snap parliamentary elections could cause a lower presence in the polls during the fifth voting process organized in only three years.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Latest News

Society16 hours ago

Manifestations in front of the Government building: the difference between protests and hired crowds

The representatives of the political bloc ACUM have organized a public protest in front of the Government building against fuel and...

Justice17 hours ago

From Plahotniuc to Moldasig, via Gibraltar. New details about a business of over 500,000,000 lei // RISE Moldova

RISE Moldova has offered new details about the business of over 500,000,000 lei through which 3 buildings owned by Finpar...

World News17 hours ago

A ship under the flag of Moldova carried armored vehicles from Turkey to Libya

Under the Moldovan flag, the “AMAZON” ship entered the port of Tripoli (Libya) on May 18, with 50 KIRPI 4...

Politics2 days ago

Opposition bloc ‘ACUM’: “It is time to get ready for protest actions.”

Yesterday, the bloc ‘ACUM’ invited the Moldovan Socialist Party to the special session of the Moldovan Parliament, aimed at electing...

Politics3 days ago

Snap election: is it a practical solution for the political crisis in the Republic of Moldova?

Today, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova has an anniversary – 2 months since both the first and the...

Society3 days ago

A group of people, detained for smuggling weapons, ammunition and drugs from the Transnistrian region and the Russian Federation // VIDEO

The accused ones are people from Stefan Voda and Chisinau, uncovered by police and prosecutors. The grouping has been documented by...

Politics4 days ago

PM Pavel Filip wasn’t present at the investiture ceremony of the new Ukrainian President

More senior state leaders and senior officials were invited to the investiture ceremony of the new President of Ukraine. Among...

Advertisement

Opinions

Advertisement

Trending