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Unread 04-01-2017, 06:06 AM   #671
Solid Snake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pochercoaster View Post
So Trump could possibly resign.

What does a Pence presidency mean for us? Isn't that worse?
Trump is on shaky ground, but he was perceived to be floundering through most an election season and he ultimately won.

Assuming the evidence of Russian meddling and possible collusion between Russian agents and the Trump campaign continues to gain steam, Trump losing the office (and President Pence or, if Pence is implicated too, possibly President Ryan) would be a bit of an even wash in my book. There's good news and bad news to a wounded Trump remaining in office, and there's good news and bad news with a potential resignation.

If Trump Stays, the Good News:
He'll be condemned to be an ineffectual President through, at the very least, the remainder of his first term in office. He will either stubbornly seek reelection and almost certainly lose (unless the Democrats botch it again, but they'd need to run someone even worse than Clinton was in 2016, and it's hard to imagine a new candidate with similar decades of baggage), or he will bow out and the Republican field will be open in 2020.

In that case, the new Republican candidate would struggle between a rock and a hard place -- fully embrace Trump's legacy and lose independents and moderates, or repudiate Trump and risk alienating Trump's hardline base? During the Obama administration, opposition to Obama united disparate legions of conservatives...but under Trump, we're already seeing schisms between Ryan's futile attempts of halfway measures governance and the Freedom Caucus, and Trump will not endear himself to libertarians or Neocons. The GOP is at risk of a major fracture in 2020 and keeping Trump -- a very divisive figure even within his own party -- at the head may cause an implosion.

If Trump Stays, the Bad News:
First and foremost, if Trump really did collude with the Russians and if he personally was aware of said attempts to manipulate the American public, there's an ethical argument to be made that regardless of the political pros and cons it's a net loss for the nation if Trump effectively gets away with treason. (For the record, I think he did collude, though I also think he had no serious intentions of winning, and only sought to use Russian aid to ensure a close race, a dearly wounded President Hillary Clinton, a divided nation and the opportunity to exploit incoming scandals with the launch of a Trump right-wing media platform -- no one may have been more surprised with these results than Trump and his surrogates.)

If Trump escapes penalty or punishment, that implies the GOP as whole favors partisan unity over loyalty to country, which could get dangerous quick in regards to national security. Trump also may be tempted to escape condemnation through the tried and true method of enabling a terrorist attack or declaring war to divert public attention from scandals. Neither of those options sounds appealing.

A failed impeachment proceeding could dearly cost Democrats among bitter members of its progressive base who are desperate for any victory to reignite optimism in the nation's future. Trump could attempt to salvage his reputation and turn the situation around by pointing to the failure to indict him as a sign of his innocence; I doubt Dems would fall for that BS but I'd expect his approval ratings to shoot back above 40% as conservatives and moderates embraced him again.

From a policy perspective, President Trump probably does -- even if his legacy is burdened by the rumors of Russian collusion -- succeed in wasting at least some money on the Mexican border wall, which I'd take an educated stab and guess would be between 20 to 30 percent completed by 2020. It's worth noting that this is the biggest possible positive impact of a President Pence or Ryan, as neither Pence nor Ryan have the border wall anywhere near the top of their respective agendas. The border wall is a huge fucking waste of money and I would not shed a tear for its demise.

Additionally, the other bad thing about President Trump is entrusting our nuclear codes and our national security to someone who's mentally unstable enough to start a war for an irrational reason. President Pence or President Ryan each offer their own unique nightmares to the Oval Office, but I'm not nearly as worried about the possibility of a nuclear holocaust with those two jackasses. With Trump, I've woken up three times in the past two months in a cold sweat upon hearing a loud noise that I mistook for an attack.

If Trump Leaves, the Bad News:
I'll do the bad news first with this alternate hypothetical, why not.

Trump's resignation or removal from office would give us either President Pence or President Ryan, and both are smarter, more capable, and more devious kinds of conventional conservative dipshits than Trump. Either Pence or Ryan would have higher overall approval ratings (unless they ostracized Trump supporters and openly celebrated Trump's demise, but both are smart enough to play the diplomatic game to ensure Trump supporters viewed them as an ally throughout the impeachment process.) President Pence or President Ryan would have a higher chance of reelection in 2020, and the GOP would have the opportunity to rebrand and rebuild.

Pence in particular is just plain worse than Trump on most social issues. Trump has indicated he has no desire to fight back against the Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage and, while his own nominees to the Court may reverse that decision in the judiciary, I genuinely believe Trump doesn't really give a shit about issues like Planned Parenthood funding and he's just tossing those issues to Pence as a way to appease conservatives. Pence and Ryan would both be much more aggressive against LGBT rights and their anti-women and anti-gay agendas would be informed by a more openly regressive theocratic approach to governance in which laws and regulations are justified by archaic Biblical principles. It's strange to imagine that the ludicrously offensive sexual assaultin' braggart is the lesser evil here, but Trump's overtly misogynistic personality is actually a blessing in disguise for certain progressive feminists who'll have an easier time mobilizing large masses of protesters against his lunacy than the comparatively subtle misogyny that's buried underneath Pence or Ryan's easygoing smiles.

Trump, Pence and Ryan will all be equally egregiously awful when it comes to Climate Change. Regardless of who is President we'll see major reversals of Obama's energy and environmental policies that will essentially ensure that our children will be the last reasonably healthy generation of human beings on this planet, and their children -- our grandchildren, likely born within our lifetimes -- will live long enough to see the planet become inhospitable for human civilization. Hell, our children will probably need to wear something to protect their skin from insane doses of UV radiation when they're just walking outside, and many cities -- from Miami to Boston to Bangkok, Thailand to Mumbai, India to portions of coastal China representing nearly 25% of China's entire population -- will be completely submerged underwater. We did it to ourselves, folks. We're well and truly fucked and everything else I bother to even type here is completely irrelevant.

Beyond that nihilism, Pence or Ryan would nominate shitty Supreme Court justices, take pro-police, pro-white 'Law and Order' approaches to criminal justice, and continue giving everything of value they possibly can away to corporations with the continuing ambition of converting America to a Corporate Oligarchy.


If Trump Leaves, the Good News:
Trump's resignation or forcible removal from office in the event of really damning revelations of treasonous collusion with Russian agents could cripple the Republican Party in the aggregate. It may represent a short-term boon for the Republicans to prop up Ryan or Pence for the next few years, but I'm betting the inevitable division between Trump loyalists and other factions in the GOP would make the party's long-term prospects look incredibly bleak, as a certain subset of conservatives would turn against their party for 'betraying' Trump and Trump himself would likely go rogue against the Republicans who condemned him to his fate as a failed ex-President.

The election and quick impeachment of Trump would be a historically damning black mark for the Republican Party, and it'd get worse and worse for the GOP the longer they attempted to manipulate the process to protect Trump before it'd all fall apart like a house of cards. Trump is notoriously spiteful, so he'll be on a warpath for vengeance and he'll burn every possible bridge. A Pence or Ryan Administration would have their hands full dealing with Trump's Twitter rants and the daily deluge of news from impending trials, *and* they'd have an emboldened Democratic opposition on top of that. It'd be a difficult environment for Pence or Ryan to make any meaningful policy headway in because so many GOPers with associations with the Trump campaign would be dragged through the mud of legal discovery proceedings, evidentiary requests, testimonies and affidavits...remember how crippled Clinton was when dealing with his impeachment proceedings? This could be so much worse for them.

Furthermore, the need to replace a substantial portion -- if not an outright majority -- of high-ranking Executive officials would slow down the new government's agenda for months. We'd see new confirmation debates and proceedings and Democrats would have new opportunities to instigate new roadblocks and make new nominees miserable by asking them all kinds of awkward questions about past associations with Trump or anyone in Trump's team who's indicted in this mess.

Some further good news: Pence and Ryan have both proven to be just as incompetent as Trump is when it comes to passing an Obamacare replacement, as Trump relied on them both to help him with Ryan's recent legislation that horribly failed. So, President Ryan and/or President Pence most likely won't pass comprehensive healthcare reform, and they'll either have to cave in to the Freedom Caucus wackos who want to completely abolish Obamacare and leave nothing in its wake (an act of career suicide) or negotiate and even more moderate compromise than their most recent attempt with Democrats to ensure even nominal Democratic support to push through legislation.

The Mexican wall farce would be scrapped, and we'd see much more reasonable (if still somewhat more burdensome than we'd like) immigration policy (and no outright bans of Muslims, Ryan and Pence would be more subtle and less broad about this to ensure it's legal.)

Oh, and best of all: We'd all enjoy the karmic comeuppance of witnessing Donald J. Trump's fall from grace, and mocking him and his supporters as he has a complete meltdown and loses the most precious thing to him: The value of his brand and identity. He'd become a laughingstock and a joke and the world would briefly unite, all as one, to belittle a man who so thoroughly deserves to be ruthlessly humiliated.

All in all, the long-term gains of a Trump implosion outweigh my short-term concerns of what Pence or Ryan might do once he's gone. I'm not entirely sure Pence will be able to completely distance himself from the same collusion allegations Trump's fighting against -- if Trump's guilty it's hard to imagine Pence knowing nothing about this. Which means President Pence could be in for a similar hell shortly after Trump's impeachment. As for Ryan...if anything, his most recent mishandling of his healthcare legislation may well prove he isn't much more capable a leader than Trump is.

(For the record, the true base-case scenario for most Republicans, and the true worst-case scenario for Democrats and decent human beings, is Trump dying before any of this comes to a head. Ryan and Pence would never admit it but I guarantee you they're both wistfully daydreaming from time to time of hearing the news that Trump keeled over with a heart attack before the impeachment proceedings got going. That'd enable the GOP remnants to prop Trump up as a 'Good Person' and ensure continued support from Trump's base, and they could bury this Russia story without fully addressing Trump's sins because why speak ill of the dead?)
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