Um, he’ll be the nominee in 2020. Barring an unforeseen health crisis or a highly unlikely development in which Bob Mueller turns up evidence of direct collusion between the president himself and Russia, the only thing stopping him from the nomination is his own willingness to seek it. It’s possible, I guess, that he’ll be so frustrated by the job after three years that he’ll say “to hell with it” and not run, although he’d probably perceive that as letting his enemies win and would decide instead to run just to spite them. The other possibility is that Trump gets fed up having to play nice-ish with members of his own party and decides to go independent, clearing the way for a three-man race in 2020. Although (a) going indie would be stupid since it would risk dividing the right-wing vote between two candidates, clearing the way for a plurality Democratic victory, and (b) precisely for that reason, the GOP might decide to nominate Trump anyway despite his public repudiation of the party. Ninety percent of the reason to vote for him last year was to block Hillary. Ninety percent of the reason to vote for him in 2020 will be to block Elizabeth Warren or Andrew Cuomo or Kamala Harris or whoever. That being so, the GOP will choose to keep the right united as best it can and nominate the independent president for a second term, hoping he’ll recommit to the GOP eventually.
You have to be patient with the more fanciful anti-Trumpers out there, though, and indulge them their fantasies about removing him from office early. They know deep down it’s not going to happen, but it helps them to cope by inventing and reinventing ways that it might. Case in point:
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren introduced a congressional resolution Friday urging President Donald Trump to get a medical and psychiatric examination to determine if he should be removed from office…
“President Donald J. Trump has exhibited an alarming pattern of behavior and speech causing concern that a mental disorder may have rendered him unfit and unable to fulfill his Constitutional duties,” Lofgren’s resolution states. It urges the Cabinet to “quickly secure the services of medical and psychiatric professionals to examine the President … to determine whether the President suffers from mental disorder or other injury that impairs his abilities and prevents him from discharging his constitutional duties.”
In a statement, Lofgren’s office questioned whether Trump has “early stage dementia” or whether “the stress of office aggravated a mental illness crippling impulse control.”
If Trump can be shown to be incapacitated, the 25th Amendment could be triggered and he could be removed so long as, er, the Vice President, cabinet, and Congress — all of whom are Republicans or dominated by Republicans — are willing to go along. Easy peasy. Lofgren’s resolution, though, shows you how far Democrats are now willing to go with their attacks on Trump, all but openly accusing him of being mentally ill. It’s not just Lofgren either: Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ big cheese on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN yesterday that he also wonders about Trump’s mental health. But we’re not at the point where we should be looking at the 25th Amendment, he says. Yet.
I’m with Kevin Williamson, one of NRO’s most ardent anti-Trumpers: Let the man serve out his term. He’s the legitimately elected president of the United States (provided Mueller finds nothing collusion-wise). Besides, after nominating him, Republicans deserve the full extent of the consequences.
We cannot allow the current state of affairs, in which the loss of a presidential election is met with ever wilder and more vicious attempts to immobilize the executive, to become the new normal. We cannot treat every lost election as an illegitimate one — which is precisely the direction in which the Democrats have us pointed at the moment. Our federal government already is dysfunctional, and that kind of banana-republic total-war opposition, carried on without rest or relief, will lead to a country that is truly ungovernable and not simply acting ungovernable for short-term political reasons. Driving Trump from office would hurt Republicans in the short term. It would hurt Democrats a great deal very soon after. And, much more important, it would do great violence to our constitutional order and our long and proud history of regular government. The Yorks wouldn’t have peace with a Lancaster on the throne, and vice versa, but the United States of America is a republic. Fortunately, the president is only the chief administrator of the federal government, not a personification of the national ideal.
There are two ways to come off a ledge, and Americans should choose carefully.
The trick in convincing Trump not to run again would be to entice him with an opportunity that seems much more fun (and lucrative, of course) than the presidency. He’s not going to relegate himself to one term so that he can go back to doing Friday morning hits on “Fox & Friends.” If that Bannon TV network gets off the ground, inviting him in to fill the Ailes-ish role of CEO/guru might be the best you could do. Nothing except a media job would appeal to him and that’s the obvious opportunity. Rebrand it “Trump TV” and he almost couldn’t say no.