Republican senators will soon be receiving an invitation to tear apart the GOP ahead of the 2020 elections, and they are going to decline to accept it.

It’s a trope of pro-impeachment commentary that it should be simple for Republican senators to swap out President Donald Trump, who puts them in awkward positions every day, for Vice President Mike Pence, an upstanding Reagan conservative who could start with a fresh slate in the runup to the 2020 election.

The only flaw in this scenario is that it is entirely removed from reality.

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Rich Lowry

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.

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Trump himself isn’t going to get convicted by the Senate and say: “Well, I’m a little disappointed, to be honest. But it was a close call, and Mike Pence is a great guy, and I’m just grateful I had the opportunity to serve in the White House for more than three years.”

He won’t go away quietly to lick his wounds. He won’t delete his Twitter account. He won’t make it easy on anyone. He will vent his anger and resentment at every opportunity. It will be “human scum” every single day.

And it’s not as though the media is going to lose its interest in the most luridly telegenic politician that we’ve ever seen.

The mainstream press would be delighted to see Trump destroyed, yet sad to bid him farewell. The obvious way to square the circle would be to continue to give Trump lavish coverage in his post-presidency. He’d be out of the White House but still driving screaming CNN chyrons every other hour.

In other words, Trump’s removal wouldn’t be a fresh start for Pence and the GOP; it would be more like getting stuck in the poisonous epilogue of the Trump era, awaiting the inevitable advent of the Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg era.

All of this is why the “cracks in the Republican Senate” coverage is so ridiculous and overwrought. It depends on the idea that GOP senators — who, it is true, are continually frustrated by Trump’s controversies — are on the verge of engineering their party’s own destruction.

It’s possible to come up with a scenario in which Ukraine developments are much worse than imaginable right now, and Trump’s support craters, even among Republicans.

Then, you might have GOP senators voting to convict. This is just another path to the immolation of the party in 2020, though; there’s no way it would snap back from a Nixonian meltdown at the top in less than a year.

In short, Mike Pence might be elected president one day, but it’s not going to be while presiding over a party that has just jettisoned Donald Trump.

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Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry.


(16) comments


Ding! Dong!


Hive - “ First, Bo, the below with me name, was not me...really not easy to explain.”, then don’t be so cryptic

Second with DT as bad as he is you know what you’re getting, other pols not so much.

Third, we are in agreement, Congress is at fault. So let’s not blame Trump for all Congresses failures.

Fourth, my pronouncements are just my opinion based on what I see through prism.

I to seek real facts, however in today’s world, fact checkers are like Pols, they all lie. Which make the obvious not so obvious.

I to wish only good to others, regardless of what you and JD think. With the exception of Harry Reed and Adam Shiff whom I believe are just evil Pols and deserve what ever ill fate is coming to them.


Sorry Mr. Hive!


I forgot to add, re impeachment. POTUS is a dinger who asked for it. Who trusts liars, especially compulsive liars. No one, not even other liars...

So we elected a dinger who pours gas on the fire he lights. Ain't the first. Thing is we have also brought Mother Nat into it, and she rules; meantime, survive. L-I-C gets booted or he doesn't - amen - but the world does not need his (DT) selfish crappola.


I might at, simple is best and while so, often difficult to explain, even to "see."

One has to "go outside self, to become more of a Self," if that notion of "becoming" makes sense...? Saints and creeps are made, not born, usually. Humanity orliving needs to be seen as an objective venture.

One example, Warren touts "Universal Medicare" on a multi-trillion dollar debt...duh! She has cart in front of horse...for now...for lazy-asss people.


First, Bo, the below with me name, was not me...really not easy to explain.

Second, nothing new going on. Adams was DT's predecessor, snaky as you get. and Johnson was a bad boy.

Third, IMO, Congress is at fault for most of what is happening. Trust, is ideal, but pragmatically speaking, distrust, as Kill implies below, is word of the day.

Forth, you made pronouncements. I could give you chapter and verse on who believes bullroar, but prisms are what they are subjective...like religions.

Some seek real facts, others are pretending or "zero-summers," who only seek winning, some seek to reinforce what they believe. Will let you decide what category you fit.

Truth is not subjective, IMO, but it is often not obvious.

I am fairly consistent of a person's character...is personal honesty needed?

We are born, we die. We are only what we do in between those uncontrolled events.

Who was it who said, we are what we do when we are "alone?" Well, are politicians part of that milieu? Not to me! Show me a pol, you have a liar...rare extremely rare exceptions.

Like I said more than once, "que sera!" or c'est la vie; I watch and wish only good to others, and miss the days when some people were "kinked" and manners counted.



Hive - This is America and you , me and JD have our own individual denials and are free to express them. However, I’m pretty sure the nation's framer's never intended unelected officials be allowed to undermine the POTUS and make government policy as they believe it should be. Impeachment was not to be used as a political tool against an opponent.


Mr. Bolake, Mr. Hive's opinion regarding your zest for self-denial is well taken, as may be Mr. jdinfinity's derision. You err, again! To wit: the nation's framer's outlined fears of monarchy and feared interference and more, as noted in the Federalist Papers, implied in the Declaration and stated in many scripts. The Constitution, though written by one man, was ratified by many men. Being antithetical to history betrays common justice and breeds contempt, similar to the Colonial view of royalty/ SCOTUS' "First Justice" John Jay wrote (in his Federalist Papers), “Distrust naturally creates distrust, and by nothing is good will and kind conduct more speedily changed.” Also the later view of Justice Louis Brandeis. A political citizen, Mr. Charles Nash, republican, believed a government that does not fear its governed is in fact a criminal conspiracy! Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, Jay and other patriots thought as much. Ask yourself, "What individual would trust a self-serving person, but for similar reasons?" And, who-for and why-fore do official "oaths" exist? The "experiment" is American governance.


Whatever you say. The "high bar" is whatever Congress decides! Should really read history of Constitution's authorship and approval battles, and why...try Jill's (Lapore) "These Truths." Woman is a genius. Might take nota bene as well.


No, what the Founders feared was using impeachment to rid your political opponents. That’s why they set the bar high.


Bo, the "experiment" is our "democratic republic," which POTUS wants to rule. The 5 years, you mention, (DT) election is an aberration; a very possible aberration, which the Founders feared. Duh!


We need to explain: Impeachment does not mean removal from office, it only means the House has voted to try the prez in the Senate...

After using the Office for personal gain and to try to blackmail (Ukraine) other nations, the way he uses legal threats in business, we find POTUS has violated his Oath and diminished "our" Presidential Office, among some actual crimes he will be called to task after he becomes an ordinary citizen...why he likely left NY for FL...all gambits...but city, state and federal courts have DT in their sights...amen.

You watch, this bozo thinks he will lose, he will bolt!


Hive - There are 5 more years of this “experiment “ left.

“ without manufacturing ability America is "papertiger." perhaps that is why Trump fights so hard to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. Unlike Obama who said they were gone forever.


Pence/and wife? Please...

Even for 30-days. History will puke!

Snake is no different than HRC, Biden and so on. As we have said before, at least with Trump, we know the "snake-y-ness" as it unfolds...but he has gone too far am thinking and is too dangerous for whatever time this "experiment" has left. In past Jim R Miller got it right, he basically stated, without manufacturing ability America is "papertiger." Hope hard DT does not believe otherwise...

Despite the bully-talk...he scares no one, but us.


Better watch out Hive. If Trump is impeached half way through his second term, the gate would be open for Pence be a 2 1/2 term President. Imagine that, 10 years of Pence. Lol


Lowry, "The only flaw in this scenario is that it is entirely removed from reality." Duh! The idea of Pence is as bad as HRC and, of course, more Trumpity lies. One thing, Trump believes his own bulllshidt and says it often.

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