Will the Remaining Trumpian Politicians Get Trumpier?

el caudillo

A surprising number of commentators have made that prediction, and, I would say, it’s now conventional wisdom. And it may happen.

What do I know? I’m just a guy sitting at a computer. I come equipped with no inside knowledge or political genius. But I can look at the facts and apply logic to them, and if that logic leads me to a prognostication not supported by the conventional wisdom, then I can say so.

A Thought Experiment

Let us say that I am a politician in a deep red state or perhaps a purple state. Assume that, well knowing it was a load of horse manure, I spent the recent campaign ranting about the caravan and generally slinging nonsense in all directions. Let’s say I have no morality—because if I were a good person, I never would have done what I did in the last campaign—but that I do have a certain amount of common sense self-preservation. And let’s say that I am not an actual member of the Cult of Trump, only someone who is happy to manipulate the poor, ignorant cultists, as long as that is in my interest.

What do I do now? What do I do, for example, when Trump executes the coming Saturday night massacre? Or when he nominates Micky Mouse to be Attorney-General? Or when he ratchets up the trade wars, and my constituents are well and truly screwed?

The Dilemma of the Trumpian Politician

  1. If I am an actual member of the Cult of Trump, then obviously I go with Trump. And if that means I go down with the sinking ship, then so be it. But my thought experiment assumes our hypothetical politician is a cynical manipulator, not a blithering idiot.
  2. A big portion of the folks who voted for me, and thus a big portion of those who might vote for me again, are cultists, so that is certainly a significant consideration. It isn’t in my interest to piss off the remaining cultists among my base. At least, not if there isn’t an ever more compelling reason on the other side.
  3. If he runs again in 2020, Trump is going to lose big time. The immediately preceding post lays it out.

And let’s add this. Sometimes, when we look at an issue, there are, say, two considerations that point one way and three considerations that point the other way. But in the case of the 2020 election, each and every relevant fact points toward a serious Republican loss. It’s not a certai

  1. But if, somehow, my peers and I can find a way to deep six Trump before 2020, we might just eek out a victory under President Pence.
  2. Another consideration informing my thinking is just how badly Trump will behave in the next few months. It’s one thing if he keeps on tweeting out palpable lies and shameful insults. That’s kind of baked into our expectations at this point.

It is something else if I, as a cynical politician, am put in the position where I need to defend clearly criminal behavior.

So no, I am not persuaded that all the remaining Trumpian politicians will, in the end, choose to go down with the ship.