“President Pence, President Pence.” Get used to it because you are going to be saying it a lot. It is not a matter of if but when.
The outrageous Trump tweets about Obama beginning around 6:30 am on Saturday mark the beginning of the drip, drip, drip that will eventually end up in a pool of slimy water so vast and so deep that except for the die-hard Trump/Bannon fanatics no one will be willing to throw Trump a life vest. He apparently is accusing Obama of “McCarthyism” and illegal wire tapping in order to divert the attention from the Russian inquiry concerning their rigging the presidential election. The New York Times and Washington Post now report that at least six people connected with the Trump Campaign had repeated contacts with Russian operatives during the campaign when Russian email hacking was taking place. Outright collusion has not yet been established, but one has to ask, what to you think they were talking about, the weather.
It is over, Republicans. Suck it up.
“But no,” you say, “no one thought he would get nominated, and certainly not elected. And the spineless House Republicans and Senators will never vote for impeachment no matter what Trump has done or will do.”
You are probably right. Trump will not get impeached. He will quit.
Trump could quit for a number of reasons, and there are certainly a lot of valid ones lurking on the horizon: The Russian inquiry shows probable collision between Trump operatives and Putin operatives. The Republican Congress shows that it is actually dysfunctional and can’t or won’t put a nail in the much heralded Obamacare coffin or pass any legislation which will help the white working class. Once the Republican Establishment gets its tax cuts and deregulation, it signals it is ready to dump him. His cabinet is at each other’s throats, and no one seems to have a clue about foreign policy. The Saturday Night Live satires continue to set ratings records. The fledging anti Trump resistance movement swells. There is a major uproar and pushback on massive deportations. The unfake press continues its unrelenting criticism of everything he is doing. The list is long.
But none of these reasons is why he will quit. He will quit because he is not having any fun and because he realizes that all this president stuff is actually hurting his brand. Just look at the guy. Have you ever seen a smile that did not look forced? What about his mad tweets, his ranting and raving to his staff, his inarticulate, angry remarks when not using a teleprompter? This is one unhappy camper. And no wonder. His wife and young son remain in New York, and he shuffles around an empty White House in the middle of the night unable to find a single person who will talk to him. I can’t imagine that he has any real friends. And he has got to be wondering what he got himself into. Talk about in over your head! The guy can’t even read a briefing paper without graphs and illustrations. He has got to be scared stiff.
And what about his brand? There just aren’t that many foreign diplomats, spies, and billionaire tycoons in the world to fill up the rooms in his myriad luxury hotel and business empire. Falling occupancy and falling sales, when you get down to it, are probably the only things that he really understands or that will capture his attention. When that happens, he is history. Outa here, baby. Hasta la vista!
So then we get Pence.
Pence, at best, is a mixed bag. He is a quintessential, right wing Republican and an ardent cheerleader for his boss. Unlike Trump, however, he actually seems to believe in all the things hard core Republicans are supposed to believe in—small government, lower taxes, minimal safety net, strong military, free trade, pro big business and anti labor. In addition he has been a strong supporter of the NRA and a strong opponent of abortion and LGBT rights. It is not clear whether he acknowledges evolution is valid and whether climate change is real. Before he won elected office, he was a conservative talk show host. In short, for us liberals and progressives, he is a nightmare. Pence is so far to the right on virtually every policy issue, he would not have had a chance of getting elected president on his own merits. He certainly would not have captured the imagination of the white working class the way the faux anti establishment candidate Trump did.
On the other hand, unlike Trump, he seems to be a decent person. His Christian faith seems genuine. Raised as a Catholic he became a born again Evangelical following a conversion experience and attends a non-denominational, Evangelical mega church. I have always been perplexed by how Evangelical Christians can enthusiastically support someone like Trump and remain true to Christian beliefs of love, acceptance, helping the poor, and promoting peace and justice. But many of them do– as do many Christians who are not Evangelicals–and as a Christian myself I honor their sincerity regarding their faith though I do not agree with them.
The big question regarding a Pence presidency is will his Christian faith and human decency come through and allow him to back off from his extremist policy views and move toward the middle. Will he be a leader of all people, not just those who agree with him? Will he try to bring the country back together again?
Of course, the scenario I have just described is pure conjecture. I have no idea how we are going to get through the Trump mess and what will happen next. Trump appears to be on-the-ropes and hasn’t even confronted a single crisis not of his own making. How much worse does it have to get before he throws in the towel? But he could surprise us again.
But this I do know: Our country is facing a real crisis. We have as president someone totally unqualified for the job who has gotten off to the worst start of any president in U.S. history. He is a loose cannon with strongman tendencies. Our very democracy is in danger. Except for the period leading up to the Civil War, we have never been more divided. If Pence does actually end up as president, he will have to face a crisis far greater than Gerald Ford did when Nixon imploded. Ford was the right man for the job at that time and helped pull us through the Watergate crisis. Could Pence pull us through the times we are now experiencing? The stakes have never been higher.