edited 24 May.
I realise it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, but I think some visioning could be useful. I think it is time to plan out some logical scenarios, based on different courses of action regarding the Trump Junta. Time is an important dimension in all of this.
This would be the most suboptimal result for all concerned, including Trump. There was talk early on that Trump never wanted to be president – he saw himself as a protest candidate. When he started winning, his ego – roughly the size of Betelguese, only dark and seething instead of red and pulsating – got in the way, and his vanity campaign turned into his vanity presidency. His disinclination to take the job seriously is evident in his regular flights to Mar a Lago – he’d rather play golf than do his job. He has no idea what he’s doing and isn’t all that worried about that. He is more worried about the things that threaten to remove him from office.
However, one scenario is that he beats the rap – nothing sticks, the Republicans close ranks around him and prevent his ouster. In this way, he continues the dismantling of the USA in the interests of the Republican Party and their owners. This would result in a few things – the most obvious is the immiseration of millions of people. I’ve been predicting a major economic discontinuity for 2017 / 2018 for a number of years, and this would further exacerbate the problems inflicted on the USA by the ruling elite and their Republican Pawns. However, this could also lead to a Democratic sweep in 2018. If that happens then Trump’s days in office are numbered, possibly in fewer than three digits after the Congress starts in 2019. The results of his impeachment and conviction would be interesting and follows.
Assuming he doesn’t beat the rap then we’re looking at several possibilities:
1. He resigns
2. He is removed by the 25th Amendment
3. He is impeached
4. He and Pence and Ryan are impeached / convicted per RICO charges.
The timing becomes important.
- He Resigns
There is a nonzero probability that he will resign. This would be the scenario most desired by the Republican establishment. This way, Trump is gone, they don’t have to impeach him, and they get Pence and all his right wing dullery as a prize. His resignation may be triggered by the Republicans – they may have a sit-down with him and tell him: “Look, if you don’t quit, we will impeach you and convict you. It would be best for the Republican party if you simply quit and walked away from this. You can make a deal with Pence to have him pardon you as his first act in office. You don’t go to jail, we keep power, and all is well for our owners.” He’d probably take that deal. In terms of timing, sooner would be better for him and the Republican Party. Dragging this past the 2018 elections would still work for them, but if he quit now, they would have more time to prepare for 2018.
- He is removed per the 25th Amendment
This is a bit of a longshot. However, it would work to the Republican advantage to do this, quickly. it’s pretty clear that Trump is a taco short of a combo platter, and his cognitive abilities meager at his best decades ago, are obviously degraded. There is a non-zero probability that he has dementia or early stages of Alzheimers. If so, the Republicans could use the 25th Amendment to remove him. If they did this quickly, Pence would be made president. How quickly could it be done? His mental state would have to deteriorate, or, more precisely, his apparent and reported mental state, would have to be one of deep deterioration. That would be a difficult trick to pull off, for as daft as he is, he isn’t any more insane than half the congress critturs who would seek his ouster.
- He is impeached
If he doesn’t take up the Republican Offer to GET LOST, then there are a number of things to impeach him on – emoluments clause, conflict of interest, nepotism, etc. This would be the Republican’s second choice. It would totally mess up their plans and take a lot of time and energy. They would rather have him simply resign. If he resists all the way to conviction and does not resign, I don’t think the Republican Leadership will be particularly merciful. Very messy. If it does go this way, it would be best for the Republicans if they got it over with in the next several months, to prepare for 2018 and set up deflections should they lose in 2018. Such preparations could also serve them well if they don’t get creamed in 2018.
- He and Pence and Ryan are impeached / convicted per RICO charges.
If this is done quickly, then it results in President Orrin Hatch. A Hatch administration would be an improvement over what presently obtains, however, it would not be an improvement for the better. It would be like jumping out of a burning building, and winding up in the hospital just to find that you have a few broken bones and your burns are superficial, however, you now have stage II bowel cancer. So, while yes, you didn’t die in the fire, it seems your life really completely sucks now. However, a Hatch Admin would be most acceptable to the Republican powerbrokers. This can only happen if Trump and his junta are impeached and removed before 2018. If not, and 2018 goes Democratic, and then the Democrats remove the junta, you could see President Pelosi…
This all puts the Republican Leadership in a deep bind. So far, Trump hasn’t really produced much for them. They’re not getting much back from the Grifter In Chief for their support. They can’t hold onto him much longer, at the same time, they can’t be actively removing him without losing their own base. If they do carry him much longer, the investigations could prove brutal and force him out anyway via RICO. And beyond that, there’s 2018, and if it goes Democratic and Trump is still there, he will be removed shortly thereafter as noted above.
So, I would predict massive pressure to build in the leadership to convince Trump to resign. They’re not going to get much more out of him. He’s an imbecile and incompetent.
I would also predict that in the next month or two they will realise that standing in the way of the investigations won’t help them, and they will become more amenable to investigative hearings and a committee or commission to investigate impeachment.
As long as the Republicans control Congress, they can’t really lose in most of these scenarios. So a swift removal of Trump will serve them well. If the Democrats take Congress in 2018, Trump is gone anyway. They need to figure out who is better for them: Hatch or Pence or Ryan? If Pence goes, Ryan goes with him, so it effectively boils down to Pence and Hatch. The window for that is not closed, but it does have a time limit.