The sitting Republican president is under investigation by his own Justice Department. Perhaps he colluded with a foreign power to swing the 2016 presidential election. More likely, he obstructed justice to stall an FBI probe of Russian electoral interference — an impeachable offense.
In May, Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, the man then heading said investigation. Shortly thereafter, the department appointed special prosecutor Robert Mueller to continue Comey’s work. It’s rumored Trump has been considering canning Mueller, as well. He can’t do so directly, of course, but the president can order Mueller’s superiors to do the firing.
It’s a corrupt presidency, and it’s tainting the entire Republican Party.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes:
More specifically, Trump’s very awfulness means that if he falls, the whole party will fall with him. Republicans could conceivably distance themselves from a president who turned out to be a bad manager, or even one who turned out to have engaged in small-time corruption. But when the corruption is big time, and it’s combined with obstruction of justice and collaboration with Putin, nobody will notice which Republicans were a bit less involved, a bit less obsequious, than others. If Trump sinks, he’ll create a vortex that sucks down everyone involved.
And so we now have the Republican party as a whole fully complicit in Trump’s crimes — because that’s what they are, whether or not he and those around him are ever brought to justice.
Krugman argues that, if Trump goes down, the Republican Party, an institution that has stood strong since the American Civil War, will fall, as well.
Perhaps it’d be better this way, but I doubt the GOP will be permanently damaged by its (conceivably) relatively short partnership with Trumpism. In the wake of Watergate, a scandal in which Republican President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace over impending charges of obstruction of justice (and more), the GOP was routed in succeeding congressional elections.
But the Democratic wave didn’t last. It never does. Just six years after Nixon’s humiliating resignation, Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate for president, won 44 states. The 1980 presidential election was a landslide. After a successful first term, Reagan then went on to win re-election by an even wider margin, sweeping all but a single state and the District of Columbia in 1984. Following his second term, Reagan’s vice president, George H. W. Bush, won a four-year term for himself.
All in all, the Reagan dynasty lasted 12 full years — eight more than the dynasty of Jimmy Carter, the sole Democrat to hold the White House between the Nixon and Reagan eras.
The great Reagan comeback shows that, in the American two-party system, neither party is ever truly out of the game. The laws of political gravity apply to Trump, as well. The current administration might end in disgrace, with Democrats gradually regaining majorities in both chambers of Congress, and then retaking the presidency, but it won’t be a permanent fix. Believing as much is the height of naïveté.
In less than a decade, Republicans will be back. The only question that matters: What type of party will it be once Trump is gone? ■