Five Scenarios for Trump Leaving Office
News seems to be coming out of Washington every week about the Mueller investigation and Trump's latest attacks on the FBI. We find ourselves asking, "What if Trump really does leave office early?" Today we look at some different scenarios to gauge the fallout.
#1 - Trump Resigns Before the 2018 Midterms
The president's party typically does worse in midterm elections because the opposition is more motivated to come to the polls. With Trump gone, the GOP base would feel even less enthusiasm and that could lead to a stronger environment for Democrats. Trump has been dragging down Republican poll numbers overall, and Democrats currently enjoy a 13-point generic ballot advantage. Although Trump vacating would likely lessen Democratic voters' sense of urgency, but the Republican base would be dismayed. Democrats almost assuredly take the House and are at least close to a majority in the Senate.
#2 - Trump is removed by Congress before the 2018 midterm
The only way this happens is if we see irrefutable evidence that Trump colluded with the Russian government to win in 2016, or if he's guilty of another high crime we do not yet know about. Trump's base still commands tremendous power in GOP primaries, so it could cause a massive number of sitting GOP members to lose in primaries. If that happens, it's unclear what exactly happens to Democratic turnout. Trump is out, but Trumpian Republicans are on the ballot. Either way, the year would be remembered for high drama.
#3 - Trump resigns in victory
Many have speculated Trump could get tired of being president and decide to return to his life as a celebrity. Trump announces he has "Made America Great Again" and that he never intended to stay in office if he got the job done. Mike Pence takes over and has almost universal support of the GOP entering 2020. This might be a best-case scenario for Republicans, but the economy will have to stay strong for them to remain in the White House.
#4 - Democrats impeach Trump after the midterms
In this scenario, Trump doesn’t actually leave office. Democrats manage to take the House in 2018 and details of obstruction of justice come out of the Mueller investigation. Democrats seize the opportunity to impeach. The country is divided, with Republicans unsure if the crime is worthy of removal. The Senate fails to reach the 2/3rds majority to remove Trump and the country stays on a similar track. We enter 2020 with even greater divisions, and neither party has a clear edge.
#5 - Trump leaves office in disgrace after Dems win the midterms
Overwhelming evidence convinces even Republicans to vote for impeachment and removal. Mike Pence is made president and has to deal with a Democratic majority in Congress. In this scenario, Pence is put in the Gerald Ford dilemma: Does he pardon Trump? If no, he offends Trump loyalists who refuse to believe anything but deep state conspiracies, and GOP turnout declines in 2020, losing him the election. If yes, he loses the support of many independents he will need in 2020. He loses in 2020 either way.
All of these scenarios have strong down-ballot implications for gubernatorial races and state legislatures, all of which affect redistricting after the 2020 election. Trump leaving office would have a profound effect on American politics over the next decade.
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What We're Reading
Eric is recommending Hit Makers by Derek Thompson.
"An unbelievably easy read about an ever important topic. How things become 'hits' in the movies or music is a question we all ask. The answers are both obvious and random. Exploring the topic of what makes a hit lets us explore life itself. 'None of this is new. From ancient lullabies to modern memes, new hits serve old purposes: to fill the time, to familiarize the strange, to estrange to familiar, to infect with emotion, to create meaning.' I strongly recommend this book."
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