One might think that, after almost 18 months of hyperventilation, the kick-Trump-out crowd would have passed out. Or, at least found a paper bag into which to inhale and exhale until they calmed down a bit. Yes, Mueller’s investigation continues, and it remains possible that he finds something substantial enough to warrant impeachment proceedings against the Untethered Orange Id, but at this point I’m skeptical that something meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy (and no, that’s not a Stormy Daniels reference) is going to be uncovered. Still, I remain open to the possibility.

What I’m not doing is banking on it, or even giving it much thought, as some folks (who really should charge Trump rent for the all the brain space he’s occupying in their heads) still do today. And, I think that, even for Trump-skeptics and Trump-haters, wanting him thrown out is a Bad Idea that will do more harm than good to your hopes and desires. It’ll also set a terrible precedent for future presidents, and escalate a cycle of two-party obstinacy and tit-for-tat.

If you think Trump is doing a bad job, or if his turpitude is a sufficient affront, and you want change, you should want him to complete his term. Nothing easier to run against than a bad record and a laundry list of sleaze. Negative campaigns work, and dirt sells in an election year. Moreso, if his policies are bad policies, having them play out can sway public opinion in your direction.

Yes, you’d be justified in cynicism at this notion. After all, Americans elected many presidents who promised bad ideas, and re-elected presidents who pursued bad agendas. But, consider the alternative. Want to turn Trump into a martyr? Try and run him out of the White House on some picayune technicality or minor transgression. Already, his supporters have stopped believing anything negative reported about him. Nothing will energize them more than an attempt to impeach and force out that isn’t rooted in truly solid footings.

There are those (and I used to number myself among them) who feel that the Trump presidency will inflict lasting or permanent damage upon the GOP, or upon the nation’s political system itself, and this worry is sufficient to warrant continued efforts at expulsion (or at the minimum, a persistence in denouncing him at every turn). But, the other day, as I was watching a baseball game, I was reminded of an old bit of sage wisdom from one of the game’s greats:

Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. — Earl Weaver

The much-feared bad “momentum,” i.e. a deleterious effect on the party and its future, will dissipate within one election cycle of his electoral loss. We’ve seen it in both directions and with both parties. Carter led America during and into a malaise that was wiped out by Reagan, who proceeded to land-slide in 1984. Yet, in 1986, the Dems won a majority in the Senate. Clinton’s terms in office were a roller-coaster, with his early leftism leading to stunning mid-term losses in 1994, his centrist tack rescuing his second term in 1996, and his peccadilloes probably contributing to Bush’s defeat of Gore in 2000. We can chart every president similarly, and in doing so we’ll observe this: that, within a remarkably short bit of time after departure from the White House, the nation moved on, and the president’s “legacy” mattered only in those policies that remained active. Even Obama, who in the eyes of many was inspiring, transformational, and a game-changer, lingers only in terms of his policies (e.g. ObamaCare, the Iran nuke deal, etc). No one focuses on the moral aspects of his presidency, good or bad.

Trump’s effect on the nation, in the long run, will be driven by policy decisions and actions, not by sex worker shenanigans or minor monkey business conducted by his aides. Trump rose, rather quickly and through a crowded field, to prominence and the Presidency. Once he’s gone, his “character” will go with it, and the GOP will move on (as will the Democratic Party). His legacy, apart from active policy, will fade by the beginning of the next election cycle, just as Obama’s has going into Trump’s first mid-term.

What’s the point here? That, if you want Trump gone because you think that leaving him in situ will permanently wreck the GOP, perhaps it’s worth reconsidering. Nothing is permanent in politics, and voters are far more interested in the here-and-now. Sure, some political hay will be made of Trump, just as it has regarding both Clintons and regarding Obama, but that’s going to happen whether Trump finishes out his term or not. The shock to the nation from forcing Trump out over relative minutiae is a far greater peril than any benefit the party might gain, and satisfaction you might receive from doing so is not remotely a reason to muck so fundamentally with our system.

If something major, some truly damning evidence of traitorous intent or action emerges, then, yes, by all means, lets witness the process unfold. But, if it takes tortuous dot-connection, guilt-by-association or -by-insinuation, or nitpicking letter-of-obscurity machinations to bring impeachment charges against Trump, nothing good will come of it. For either party or for the nation as a whole. Barring something deeply revelatory, it’s far better to let Trump’s presidency ride than to topple it. Whatever “personality” momentum carries beyond his tenure will have minimal effect the next election.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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