Like Donald Trump before him, Boris Johnson — a hollow and dangerous man — shamed himself and his nation for not the last time. Johnson's self-induced collapse was fait accompli for anyone wise enough to internalize Max Hastings' 2019 warning about elevating one incapable of shame.
As it is, the Johnson premiership could survive for three or four years, shambling from one embarrassment and debacle to another, of which Brexit may prove the least ... If the Johnson family had stuck to showbusiness like the Osmonds, Marx Brothers or von Trapp family, the world would be a better place. Yet the Tories, in their terror, have elevated a cavorting charlatan to the steps of Downing Street, and they should expect to pay a full forfeit when voters get the message.
Neither Trump nor Johnson voluntarily stepped aside — deviants never do — but both men's worldview starts and ends with narrow and immediate self-interest.
Yet their terms ended quite differently.
Why would Johnson resign but Trump stay?
Johnson and Trump, as people, are not particularly interesting or clever. Faced with the same set of choices, each man's actions are for the sole purpose of advancing their own narrow and immediate self-interest. Nothing, and no one, else matters. But Boris and Donald exist in different contexts. What's interesting is how their environments shape, and are shaped by, them.
Johnson's favorability has been responsive. His early tenure saw impressive spikes in favorability — peaking around 66% — but naked immorality has cratered his support. Favorability now hovers about 20%.
Trump's radar does not even register Boris's minor crimes on a terribleness scale. Trump violated his government's Covid protocols and lied about it, but he did much more!
Nevertheless, Trump's support was resilient. It remained between 38-46%.
For years, the world watched would-be fascists, racists, and traitors openly coddle other would-be fascists, racists, and traitors. Far from breaking ranks, the alliance of treason — elected officials, party hacks, and the whack pack media — remains proudly cloaked in the bloodied flag of insurrection.
The Brits who broke ranks have guaranteed Boris will remain wrapped in a much-deserved cloak of shame and disgrace forever. The rest can return to the critical work of punishing Putin, easing Brexit, and reminiscing about the fallen empire.
Meanwhile, Donald is itching for another chance to break what was known as a democracy because political violence trumps all in America's Republican Party.
Years ago, I wrote an essay, "Why Leaders Should Break Ranks," about the unique power of unexpected action.
As a red-baiting junior congressman, Nixon established his anti-communist credentials on the House Un-American Activities Committee. His decades-long political career — from congressman to President — was marked by savaging opponents for being too soft on communism. Then Nixon went to China.
To the civilized people of the world, let's keep this going.