I admire Martin Longman and read his work with respect and consideration, but even he must get tired of writing an article that once again predicts the imminent downfall of the Trump administration.
It’s not just health care and tax reform that are in peril. If Trump attempts to raise the debt ceiling using nothing but Republican votes, he will fail, too. If he tries to pass appropriations bills without any Democratic support, the government will either shut down or be funded on continuing resolutions that keep Obama’s priorities in place. He will not get an infrastructure bill without significant Democratic input and support.
Not only can he not govern successfully using this strategy, he cannot govern at all. This is why I foresaw that his administration would crack up on the shoals sometime this summer, and certainly no later than September when the fiscal year ends and the debt ceiling becomes critical.
Most concerning was the prospect and likelihood that he had painted himself into a corner and would discover that he had no way of recovering from the mess he’d made. As McConnell’s plan for Obamacare repeal faltered, he began warning his caucus of exactly what I am explaining now. But it was too late and the plan was never going to work anyway. The only thing that McConnell had to use in support of a bill that the people hate was the direness of the consequences of failure. But either he doesn’t understand the severity of the problem or he was unable to communicate it effectively enough. Perhaps it’s just not salvageable on any level, since the only way to delay their fate is to pass a bill that would strip 22 million people of their access to health care.
The consequences will begin to pile up now. Trump will lash out in ever more confusing and bizarre ways. And then the indictments and plea deals will start to flow in from Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s shop. By Thanksgiving, if not before, the nation will be confronted with the urgent need to remove Trump from power and I suspect there will be more consensus about it by then than most people can imagine right now.
But if there’s one thing that Trump has managed to do in defiance of all of this as well as gravity itself, it is to stay afloat. I would love nothing more than to see him gone. But as long as there are men and women in the halls of Congress who will support him, at least in front of a TV camera, and as long as there are those in the GOP base who think it’s about damn time we had a president who didn’t stand on fussy old protocol and knows that WWE is real, he will be going nowhere.
As Steve M points out, trying to remove him by invoking Amendment XXV basically lays the groundwork for a coup d’etat anytime a president does something the other people don’t like. Impeachment is the only way out, and history has taught us that a president can’t be impeached unless the opposition party holds the majority in the House and the Senate. So until that happens — the earliest would be January 2019 — this disaster will, as we used to say, keep on truckin’.