Let’s take an assessment of where we are in this race, 17 days out.
Ben Sasse has secured his footnote in history as number one in a guaranteed conga line of Republican senators who will come forth and disavow Donald Trump, a day late and a dollar short. Sasse is predicting “a Republican blood bath.” Sasse is the very profile of Republican courage in 2020, meaning that he held his tongue when he wanted Trump to give him what was then a much-coveted endorsement. It’s rather transparent, and history will record that too, that Sasse is only willing to speak against Trump now, at the eleventh hour, when he doesn’t need his help and when the end of the road is in sight.
Stuart Stevens is a strategist who worked for Mitt Romney and he says Trump will be “absolutely crushed” and he analogized Sasse’s posture to a “parable why in the end, it’s better to have moral courage than trying to negotiate against something which you know is evil.” The glaringly obvious point here is that moral courage is a non existent quality in this iteration of the GOP and certainly in the GOP-led senate.
If Republican senators had any courage, they would have removed Trump from office, when they had the opportunity to do so. They would have lost a little face, temporarily, but gained a great deal of profile, paradoxically. And they would have saved their party, most importantly. They were given an opportunity to do the right thing and they blew it, and in doing so, blew themselves up. Adam Schiff begged them to do what they knew was right. And they couldn’t rise to the occasion.
If they had removed Trump, Mike Pence would have dealt more sanely with COVID-19 — because a mouse would have dealt with it more sanely than Trump did — and the Republicans would not be paying the price that they’re paying now, not to mention the fact that a lot fewer Americans would be dead. For a brief moment, the GOP-led senate wouldn’t have looked good, removing a president that was one of their own, but they would have looked credible, not to mention decent. Ironically, they could have looked great. They would have been doing their job. They would have been standing by their oaths of office. They would have elevated their stature in America’s eyes and in the world’s, and been worthy of the respect of both. They would have proven that the descriptor, “world’s greatest deliberative body” was in fact the case, and not a joke. They have none of that to fall back on now. All they have to show for their actions now is how weak and scared and morally bankrupt they are.
Make no mistake: the GOP has destroyed itself — just as Lindsey Graham predicted it would. Trump is heralded as the doom of the GOP. While that’s a valid interpretation to make, the fact is, he’s one guy and the rest of the senators and representatives could have stood up to him at any time. They chose not to. If they go down kicking and screaming in two and a half weeks, as the blue wave closes over their heads, it will be because they abandoned all decency and fair play and tied themselves to an anchor of immorality — and it’s not like Trump didn’t advertise early on that he was exactly and precisely just that.
The Republican party made a Faustian bargain, in the name of power, and now they’re going to pay the price.
Take the time to listen to this 6:20 clip of Stuart Stevens. It’s a good synopsis of “the weirdness of Donald Trump and what a freak show it is,” “late Elvis,” and why 2020 is “closer to 1964 than to 2020” — and “totally different” from 2016.
And soon, in true Trumpian form, he will be remembered as not only the worst GOP president, eclipsing Dubya, but also as the GOP candidate who took the biggest drubbing, eclipsing Barry Goldwater, if we are lucky. Could it be that bad? Oh, God, let Stuart Stevens be right.
Lyndon Johnson won 61.1% of the popular vote, and 486 electoral votes. Here’s what the map looked like.
Isn’t that a heavenly vision? This would be Lady Karma’s final gift to Trump, a narcissistic injury for the ages. Words cannot express how much I would love to see this, or something like it, come to pass. A Goldwater-esque routing, Ouch!