The problem with President Pence

If Senate Republicans vote to remove Trump on anything like the current facts, even the worst interpretation of them, it would leave the GOP a smoldering ruin. It wouldn’t matter who the Democrats nominated for 2020. They could run Bernie Sanders on a ticket with Elizabeth Warren and promise to make Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez secretary of the treasury and Ilhan Omar secretary of defense, and they’d still win.

A significant portion of the Republican party would consider a Senate conviction of Trump a dastardly betrayal. Perhaps most would get over it, as partisan feelings kicked in around a national election, but not all. And so a party that has won the popular vote in a presidential election only once since 1988 would hurtle toward November 2020 divided.

How does anyone think that would turn out?

A lot of Trump supporters are going to want to blame the Republican establishment even if Trump loses in 2020 with the backing of the united party apparatus. Imagine what they will think if a couple of dozen Republican senators decide to deny him the opportunity to run for reelection, without a single voter having a say on his ultimate fate. It’s hard to come up with any scenario better designed to stoke the populist furies of Trump’s most devoted voters.