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If House flips, Trump may bail

August 5, 2018

Donald Trump is the most unconventional politician you’ll find, but even he wouldn’t try something this risky: secretly hoping that Democrats take the House this fall so he would have an easy target to criticize and blame, thereby helping him get re-elected in 2020.

That’s way too convoluted, and it probably wouldn’t work. In fact, if Democrats do take control of the House this November, it might be the end of Trump — without impeachment.

Trump has never suggested he wants to see a Democratic House speaker again, but that is what a writer for the Wall Street Journal suggested last week. Hey, it’s hot all over, and some people don’t take the heat too well.

Sure, Trump would love to rail against Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or whoever the Democrats choose should they take the House. (And it probably won’t be her.) But this president doesn’t need a Democrat in power to find a villain for his tweets and rants. He’s still complaining about Hillary Clinton, and last I heard, she lost the presidential election close to two years ago.

Even if Trump would entertain a notion like that, or have it whispered to him by one of his sketchy advisers, the whole theory overlooks the massive problems that Republicans would face if they handed over the speaker’s gavel.

They could forget about ramming things through Congress like tax reform or bills that chip away at Obamacare. A Democratic House would just say no to anything like that and force some kind of compromise with the Senate. And since partisanship in Washington has gone from bad to worse under Trump, that just about ensures gridlock and endless bickering.

The greater concern for Trump should be the investigative powers of the House Oversight Committee. That panel would be able to subpoena the heck of Trump aides and Trump documents, and it would have a lot of juicy targets. The administration couldn’t stonewall or deny these requests. A Democratic House might even go after Trump’s tax returns in search of links to Russian money, and then things would get really interesting.

If Trump is frustrated now with the Mueller investigation dogging him, he would be miserable with a Democratic House. He wouldn’t be able to get much done, and if he has something to hide in his past (I’m just sayin’) he’d be constantly worrying about having it pried out.

In fact, a Democratic House just might put him back in Trump Tower as a civilian — and not from impeachment. Even if a House majority voted for articles of impeachment, the Senate would never provide the two-thirds vote needed to remove him from office.

But Trump would quickly realize how different things were in Washington, and not in a good way for him. Unless he felt that Republicans could regain control of both sides of Congress in the 2020 elections, he would be strongly tempted to declare victory and go home.

Trump would probably say he accomplished what he wanted and didn’t want to spend the rest of his time in Washington arguing with Democrats. He’d probably pardon most or all of the people convicted in the Mueller investigation, and maybe himself and his family too, even if they weren’t charged with anything.

Far better for him to return to Trump Tower, with easy access to Twitter and Fox News, and no boring meetings to attend. He could always say he did more in one term than any other president did in two. In a strange way, he’d be right.

Thomas Taschinger is the editorial page editor of The Beaumont Enterprise. Follow him on Twitter at @PoliticalTom

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