While liberals are busy reacting like a school girl at a boy band concert over the apparent “Mike Flynn May Have Flipped on Trump” story, let’s stay for a moment in the semi-rational world of things we actually know, as opposed to things that some are desperately hoping will come to be. If liberals had the discipline to stay in the realm of reality, they might actually see that Donald Trump somehow being forced from office — while a fun fantasy — may actually be the worst thing that could possibly happen for them.
Of all of my many objections to the Trump candidacy, the one which I felt most strongly about was that, in the long term, a Trump presidency would be worse for conservatism and the country than even a Hillary Clinton presidency would likely have been. I also felt that we conservatives would pay FAR too high a price (in the form of lost principles and credibility) to warrant the relatively meager short-term gains we would likely reap from the improbable victory of a person I view as liberal conman.
While there is (seemingly) a long way to go in the Trump presidency, these concerns are in the process of being completely vindicated.
Predicting anything about Trump is obviously an inherently precarious business, there seems to be a fairly logical path on which his presidency appears to be treading. At the end of this road appears to be the destruction of the Republican Party as we currently know it.
Yesterday, Trump continued his effort to deflect blame from his humiliating health care defeat by attacking the House Freedom Caucus of conservatives. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, strongly implied that Trump may seek Democratic votes to promote his legislative agenda, while House Speaker Paul Ryan openly worried about the same veiled threat that Trump could turn in a more openly liberal direction.
Even reliable Trump sycophant Laura Ingraham says that criticizing the most conservative members of your own party in such a hostile manner is a bad idea. But she may not have her eyes open wide enough to see what is, politically, really going on here.
The reality is that Trump is already dangerously close to squandering his “honeymoon” period, with almost nothing truly significant (other than maybe the Neil Gorsuch nomination) to show for it. With his historically-low approval ratings struggling to stay over 40% and an FBI investigation hanging over his head, his ability to reverse this negative momentum, barring an unforeseen news event that works in his favor, seems very limited.
Trump, because he cares only about himself and has no real principles (at least not of the conservative variety), will have no hesitation in pushing new buttons if he senses that the ones he is currently favoring are going to lead to him enduring the humiliation of a failed presidency. This means that if conservatives won’t bend over to give him want he wants, he will simply try to go to the other side of the aisle and deal with Nancy Pelosi, the woman to whom he once sent a newspaper article of her being sworn in as Speaker, signed by himself, complete with effusive praise.
Many conservative commentators have recently drawn the comparison of Trump to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after he was elected in a “once in a lifetime” election as a Republican, only to quickly start acting as a Democrat as soon as he suffered a couple of defeats. He ended up getting reelected, but he governed as a liberal and left the state GOP in complete taters and totally powerless.
While the national political environment is (thankfully) significantly different from that here in California, there are obvious personality similarities between Schwarzenegger and Trump (beyond them both having hosted the same phony reality TV show). For one thing, the most important woman in each of their lives, Maria and Ivanka, respectively, are both unabashed liberals. Both men are also extreme narcissists who want very badly to be seen as a “winner” and not as “loser.”
Schwarzenegger’s betrayal (which I predicted before anyone else that I know of) was very easy to see coming because it was so simple for him to implement. What will be more interesting here is that the landscape is far more complicated for Trump to do the same, at least right now.
What I see happening is that as the rift gets deeper between Trump and philosophical conservatives there is less chance that Trump is able to fulfill a significant number of his ludicrously lofty campaign promises. He may try to turn left to get the votes he needs, but there are very few Democrats currently willing to work with him publicly, even on issues with which they might strongly agree.
This will create a bit of a stalemate through the midterm elections when the Democrats can run against an unpopular president who has energized their normally sleepy base, while Republicans will be largely demoralized and disorganized. If not for the Democrats own disarray and the prospect of returning the highly disliked Pelosi to power, this would be a sure fire recipe for the House to change hands for 2019.
Should the Democrats overcome the Pelosi factor and win the House, that’s when Trump will do the “Full Schwarzenegger” and become a Democrat in nearly every significant way. At that point, the Democrats would have to make the fascinating choice of either impeaching Trump with very little chance (nor incentive, really) of actually removing him from office, or using the threat of impeachment to get Trump to support almost anything they want.
In practical terms, it would seem very likely that a health care bill far more socialistic than even Obamacare would pass in the House as a “fix” for a bad law in a death spiral, while the Senate, even if still narrowly held by Republicans, would be under extraordinary pressure from their “own” president to pass it to “save the nation.” That’s how electing the guy who claimed he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare could easily result in the Democrat’s wet dream of socialized medicine, all with Republicans helping, or even being set up to take the blame if it doesn’t work.
Under this scenario the Republican Party would completely shatter in dark division and confusion. Effectively no longer in the majority, and without a semblance of a belief system on which to hold itself together or fall back on, it can no longer even marginally function as a national party.
The “funniest” part is that I can see Trump being primaried in 2020, then, but because the opposition won’t be able to unite around a top-notch candidate, he is still ends up as the “GOP” nominee. Then, unless Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama decide to run against him, I can see where Trump somehow survives the general election to serve a second term as a full-fledged liberal. Either way, Republicanism/conservatism would lose big-time and Democrats, despite their own incompetence, would be in a terrific position to do almost anything they wanted.
The great irony in all of this is that if the liberals thirsting for Trump to be removed from office actually got their way, all of this would be reversed and the Republican Party under Mike Pence would suddenly be in a rather advantageous political and policy position for the foreseeable future.
As is so often the case in this nutty post-Trump universe, reality is not only different from what it seems, but it is quite often the exact opposite of what is widely perceived.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.