UPDATE:

Need a job? More than 160 employers will be at UD Arena

Opinion: Don’t rush to impeach Trump


A few days ago, which is to say an eternity in our Trump-dilated time, there was a story on NPR about anxious evangelicals’ seeking a meeting with the president.

The subject of their agita, not entirely surprisingly, was the Stormy Daniels affair, in which the president’s lawyer-fixer, Michael Cohen, appears to have averted a possible October surprise by buying the silence of a porn star (and perhaps more than one) with whom Donald Trump committed adultery shortly after the birth of his third wife’s only son.

But the prominent evangelicals seeking the meeting were apparently less concerned about the adultery than about the political ramifications — low religious-right turnout in 2018, a defeat for Republicans, and from there defeats on the policy issues that forced religious conservatives to make their peace with Trump in the first place.

The sudden investigatory focus on Cohen and Daniels might turn out to be a legal tempest in a D-cup. But still, for evangelicals concerned that their agenda is yoked so closely to the fortunes of that Hefnerian president, this seems like a good time to contemplate a simple question: Why not Mike Pence?

In the 2016 election, once Marco Rubio was defeated and Ted Cruz dispatched, religious conservatives faced a binary choice: Vote Trump or get Hillary.

But the politics of the coming year, once the Robert Mueller investigation delivers whatever it’s going to deliver, might offer a very different choice. If Trump were impeached, the presidency would devolve to precisely the kind of man whom much of pre-Trump religious conservatism insisted that it wanted in the Oval Office: an evangelical Christian family man with a bluenose’s temperament and a boring Reaganite checklist of beliefs.

Lots of Republicans who once resisted the Trumpian takeover have now accepted the various narratives that cast him as an indispensable man — because he’s the only Republican who knows how to fight, because his removal would be a victory for the hated establishment and the even more hated media and the many-tentacled Deep State, because whatever else happens you can’t let the liberals win. And evangelicals have their particular version of these Trump-the-indispensable conceits, from the analogies to King David (who slept around a lot, too, didn’t he?) to the widespread belief that Trump’s repeated against-the-odds victories mean that Providence somehow chose him for this role — and whom God has elevated, let no man impeach.

There is no way of knowing exactly what would have happened, of course, had Bill Clinton been pushed out by Senate Democrats and Al Gore installed in his place. But there are good reasons to suspect that as an incumbent steward of late-1990s prosperity untainted by his steadfast support for a lying boss, Gore would have had an easier time dispatching George W. Bush in 2000, and the entire trajectory of the early 2000s would have been more favorable to Democrats. And there are also good reasons to think that professional feminists, who contorted themselves absurdly in defense of Clinton’s predatory conduct, would have been better off accelerating their reckoning with the pigs of liberalism rather than waiting for the age of Trump and the old age of Harvey Weinstein.

Plus, there’s the providential aspect. Sure, making use of Donald Trump to keep Hillary Clinton from being president is a fascinating flourish by history’s Author, but the idea that the Almighty might use a porn star to make Mike Pence president represents, if anything, an even more amazing miracle.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: The shameful silence of the CEOs

Congressional Republicans would be more willing to stand up to Donald Trump if their major financial backers — big business and Wall Street — had more backbone. Ever since 1971, when then-future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell urged corporations to mobilize politically, corporate money has flooded Washington — most of it into Republican...
Opinion: U.S. not as intolerant as we make it out to be

I don’t normally watch the GLAAD Media Awards. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. GLAAD, by the way, originally stood for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation” before the organization declared that GLAAD was its name and not an acronym. But I did see a video of Britney Spears’ acceptance of GLAAD’s...
Opinion: Educational fraud continues

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just...
Opinion: Remembering Barbara Bush, grieving mother

My mother and Barbara Bush were contemporaries. Despite coming from very different backgrounds — daughter of a Kansas farmer and daughter of a New York City businessman — they had a common experience, a very human link. It’s a sad connection that I suspect also has many a woman feeling fondly toward Bush, who died Tuesday at 92. Both...
Opinion: Paul Ryan is the ultimate party man

The mistake about Paul Ryan, the one that both friends and foes made over the years between his Obama-era ascent and his just-announced departure from the House speakership, was to imagine him as a potential protagonist for our politics, a lead actor in the drama of conservatism, a visionary or a villain poised to put his stamp upon the era. This Ryan-of-the-imagination...
More Stories