Monday, January 23, 2017

Kill List

So, Donald Trump is officially President of the USA and lots of people are unhappy.  Indeed, more people turned out to protest about him than turned out for his inauguration.  (Although in the parallel reality inhabited by the Trump camp, there was the biggest turn out ever for the inauguration).  But we're not here to dispute facts with the new US administration.  Instead, we're here to look at the practicalities of toppling it.  Now, before we go on, I think I need to make it clear that I am, in no way, endorsing political assassination, this is merely a 'thought experiment' (if we want to be pretentious).  Sadly, these days you have to be very careful what you say on line, as you never know who is reading this stuff.  But, back to the point.  A lot of people seem to think that assassinating the President would be enough to effect some kind of significant regime change, despite evidence to the contrary - which shouldn't be surprising, as they'd be succeeded by their Vice President, who generally holds similar views, lets face it, the wouldn't have been on the ticket if they didn't.  This is particularly the case with Trump, as his Vice President, Mike Pence, is as much a right wing reactionary as he is.  So, you'd need two assassins, (or one assassin with two bullets and both President and Vice President in close proximity to each other).

But even that wouldn't be enough to really change the current administration as next in line would be the Speaker of the House of Representatives who, right now, is Paul Ryan, another right wing Republican.  But if a hypothetical third gunman got him, the President pro tempore of the Senate would be the next to step up to the plate.  Guess what?  That's right, currently that post is held by Orrin Hatch, another right winger.  So, supposing that our overworked assassin(s) earns his bonus by offing Hatch, what next?  Well, we now have to work our way through the rest of the cabinet.  Now, we wouldn't actually have to have all of them hit - several are ineligible to hold the office of President, because they weren't born in the US or were, but are only naturalised citizens or, well there are all sorts of reasons I don't have the time or inclination to go into, so we can skip them.  That leaves eight cabinet members we have to work through, starting with the Secretary of State, we have o work through in order to have any hope of effecting some kind of regime change.  Obviously, as these people are Trump appointees, the odds are that most of them would be likely to hold similar views to him and follow a similar Presidential programme.  But there are some possible exceptions.  Defence Secretary Jame Mattis, for instance.  Despite his nick name of 'Mad Dog', he had a pretty decent record as a US Marine General and, unlike Trump, appears to take a more informed view of both Russia and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  It is possible that he might make a more moderate president.

So, we might be able to stop our campaign of assassination there.  But, if not, there are, currently, a smattering of Democrats in the cabinet.  These, however, are temporary appointments, until Trump's own nominees can be confirmed.  But if we were to move fast, we might be able to stop the killings with Defence, leaving the Acting Attorney General as the new president.  Failing that, we have to skip to number seven on the assassination list, the Acting Secretary of Agriculture, also a Democrat, before skipping to number ten, the Acting Secretary of Transportation. After that, we'd only have to off the Secretary of Homeland Security to leave us with no eligible cabinet members to step up to the presidency. With the succession thus destroyed, the whole administration would presumably collapse and political chaos reign.  Which might well represent regime change, but very possibly in the form a military coup in order to 'stabilise' the country.  But there you go, including the President, it would take twelve assassinations to completely destroy the Trump administration's succession. And that's presupposing that you can do it quickly enough to prevent any of the vacancies from being filled by new appointees.  Realistically, you'd have to take them all out simultaneously.  (Maybe Madonna was on to something with her talk of blowing up the White House).  So, getting rid of Trump and his legacy by violent means isn't as easy as it might seem.  Not that I'm advocating it in the first place, of course.  

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