Any loyal citizen who needs reassurance this Independence week that Donald Trump's presidency remains very far from a monarchy or dictatorship need only consider the lack of practical impact his most bizarre Twitter proclamations have for any purpose other than to thrill fans and razz others.
Trump's cyberreality ran afoul of external reality again this week when federal prosecutors debunked McCarthyistic inferences that a former tech staffer for House Democrats was some kind of foreign operative doing Democratic-protected espionage. Last month, Trump tweeted "Our Justice Department must not let Awan and (ex-Democratic national chairman) Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook."
"The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today," he said, going on about some mystery server.
As it turned out, Awan pleaded guilty to making a false statement on a bank application. According to "our Justice Department," it was a "key" to nothing at all. In fact, prosecutors explicitly stated to Awan's attorney, “The Government has uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”
None of the gossip spread on right-wing websites proved true about stolen equipment or illegal movements of classified information, officials said after a thorough probe, according to the unusual 11-page letter. Prosecutors did not address presidential talk of what they "must not" do.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted something else so strange and dark it was hard to guess at first glance just what he was talking about.
“Wow! The NSA has deleted 685 million phone calls and text messages. Privacy violations?” he wrote. “They blame technical irregularities. Such a disgrace. The Witch Hunt continues!”
The matter of NSA data collection is a longstanding issue. How this relates to a "witch hunt" or whether the collection or deletion was "a disgrace" was left for Trump to explain. He didn't.
The weirdest stuff never seems to pan out and ends up having no effect on day-to-day governance. His "election-fraud" commission addressing the "millions" of illegal voters Trump evoked last year vaporized. Hillary Clinton walks free, which makes sense, since she's been charged by legitimate authorities with nothing at all. Even Trump's most controversial campaign talk and tweets about banning travel from mostly Muslim nations ended with the Supreme Court approving a significantly modified form of his original proposal.
Trump's made good on none of the threats against Amazon, NBC licenses, companies that send jobs overseas, NATO, Mexico and Democrats he says are behind the Russia-gate investigations.
If Trump were king, all these words might have prompted his underlings to act at once. But this is the American republic, and voters of all parties, for all their sharp differences, seem to want to keep it that way.