If I had to place a bet on the next election (and the ability of Trump to survive his first term), I’d bet that Trump not only survives his first term, but also gets elected to a second term. I’ve been wrong lots of times before, and I hope I’m wrong about this — maybe just about the second term part, but more on that later. The only chance I see of any kind of impeachment or removal from office would be after a full democratic sweep of Congress, and I don’t see that happening. The seats up for election in the Senate grossly favor republicans, and the House districts have been so cleanly carved up that I think it will be hard, if not impossible, to win back the House in 2018. But it looks like there’s some division growing in GOP land. We’ve seen this from pundits and strategists, but we’ve seen far less of it from elected officials, until now.
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is making the rounds with a new book called “Conscience of a Conservative.” In the book, he argues that the GOP has lost its way, and put winning in front of their principles. I’m not sure it’s going anywhere, I’m not sure his votes will follow his rhetoric, and I’m not sure others on the GOP side will take his lead. I get a glimmer of hope that FoxNews is at least acknowledging the existence of his book, and his critique of the Trump presidency, but I remain skeptical that it will change much. Time will tell.
Just to be clear, when I said maybe we want Trump to survive his first term, but not win a second, it was based on a few things. First, I like stability, and an impeachment is a lot of instability. Second, I think there’s less of a chance of the GOP getting their agenda passed with Trump in office. A President Pence, even one tained by the impeachment of Trump, is far more likely to get things done. That worries me. Third, I see a distinct possibility that Trump will unite the nation against him. I think that could be good for us. I imagine a day when being like Trump is an insult that politicians run from. At the hint of his type of narcissism, emerging (and existing) candidates will change their behavior to be as unlike him as possible. That would be wonderful, and has the potential to change the tone entirely. I’m not sure if that happens if he’s impeached, but it might. In any event, I think the best outcome is a few more years of an ineffective President Trump followed by a strong democrat to restore civility and move a progressive agenda forward. That would be great.