So where do we stand right now?
Senate Republicans’ own self-interests will have to soon get them to stop just blindly following/excusing/ignoring Trump just because he is nominally a Republican.
I deliberately wrote “Senate” Republicans because “House” Republicans are a totally different animal. Coming from their hugely gerrymandered, often small districts, if they are truly representing their constituents, there are still enough pro-Trump voters out there in their districts that I don’t see House Republicans changing their tune any time soon.
Even with a vastly activated anti-Trump, mostly Democratic base, unseating those representatives will be a monumental task. Just look at the Atlanta race to replace Tom Price’s seat as a good example. Democrat newcomer Jon Ossoff is still running a significant uphill battle. Granted, he almost got the necessary 50% in the initial vote, but now he is up against it in the runoff as the Republicans consolidate against him.
Remember, Tom Price won that Atlanta seat by 23 points in 2016 and that has been the closest anyone had come to beating him since he first won election in 2004 when he ran “unopposed”! So even if turnout is great, and Ossoff does very well, he could still lose by 10 points.
There are a lot of other House races around the country that will be equally tough for the Democrats to take, notwithstanding having the vote for TrumpCare to hold over the head of most of their Republican opponents.
Senate Republicans, on the other hand, represent their entire states, many of which were either won by Hillary or were won by Trump by very small margins.
Most Senate Republicans couldn’t stand Trump during their primaries but, once he won, they have simply held their nose … and their tongues (but decidedly NOT their votes) … and gone along hoping he could advance at least part of their agenda. The main thing they wanted was to complete the monumental Constitutional theft of the Supreme Court seat that should have gone to Merrick Garland – about as close to a centrist nominee that a Democratic President would ever have nominated. Well, they certainly got their conservative dream fulfilled with Neil Gorsuch.
But now that they have guaranteed a right-leaning Supreme Court for another however many years, on top of the 30+ years they have had it since Reagan, you would at least think that Republicans would now feel less allegiance to Trump. As far as furthering other items on their legislative agenda, such as healthcare “destruction” (Reform? Really?), they can’t really blame Trump for their failure on that so backing him won’t either hurt or help in that regard.
As the Duluth Trading Company Buck Naked jeans’ slogan goes, the Republicans need to “get a pair”. It was ultimately a few Republican Senators who stood up for the country and put Constitutional interests ahead of party during the Watergate time of Richard Nixon. It took Republican Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott finally going to Nixon to get him to realize that resignation was the only honorable way out of his predicament.
If this ever does get to that point with Trump, however, don’t count on him to do the honorable thing. As despicable as much of Nixon’s behavior was, he ultimately put the country’s best interests ahead of his own by not forcing the impeachment proceedings to continue to their inevitable conclusion. Faced with that same choice, what do you think? Would Trump ever put country … or anything else … ahead of his own self-interests?
Even if the opposition party is in control of the House and Senate, censure or impeachment is ultimately up to the party of the President – the Republicans. So even if the Democrats do regain the House or Senate in 2018, taking action against Trump will still rely upon at least some Republicans getting … or growing … a pair.