If I were a Republican (which sharp-eyed and politically astute readers of this blog will recognize I am not), my basic calculations in the wake of the Comey firing would be this:
- We’ve supported Trump so that we could kick millions of people off health care and cut taxes for the rich.
- And oh yeah, destroy the environment and the public good!
- And he’s been super willing to do that, so it’s been ok to ignore the troublesome what-have-yous over his total lack of mental or moral capacities for the job. He’ll sign anything to get a win so he can pretend to be Mr. Businessgenius President, and anyway, the Mexican and the Muslim stuff has been a great bonus. Aces all around!
- But ok, this might be too much. You can’t fire the FBI director because he’s investigating your Russian crimes, man. This looks superbad, even though we love the strongman thing. Except when the black guy does it, then it is tyranny.
- So, can we get through this? If we get rid of him, can we still get our stuff done?
- Let’s say we impeach. It’s a bad year, really bad. But we look brave! And the media calls us heroic, putting the country ahead of our party. And then we have President Pence, and he hates taxes, health care, the public good, the environment, hippies, and liberals as much as we do. And he hates abortionists and gays way more than Trump!
- So we can weather this impeachment, because god knows our democracy is literally under assault, and still get stuff done before the midterms. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually pick up seats for our courage.
There are flaws in this calculation. For one, what if Trump doesn’t care if he is impeached and refuses to leave? And the drama of displacing a President might overtake everything else, especially this President. And you might lose the base entirely. And you might not be done by 2018.
And I may be assuming facts not in evidence. I am assuming there is a baseline of genuine patriotism here. That despite their love for voter suppression, the GOP doesn’t actually want to see us go full banana. That Trump, whole embarrassing, is sort of exactly what they want. So I might be making a few too many assumptions, really.
But dammit, come on. President Pence will give you what you want! I would loathe a Pence Presidency. He’s a theocrat and a bigot and kind of a dummy and I’d fight every one of his policies, but he is so within the acceptable norms. I even sort of fear a post-impeachment Pence, because the sigh of relief will be so great that he will be sort of unshackled. Any opposition might be seen as gauche.
But things are so bad now, and we’re so close to an epochal constitutional disaster, that I’d embrace that. Even if it is for the wrong reasons–to make it easier to pursue their terrible agenda–one has to hope that the GOP discovers some patriotism, before it is too late.