(ABSTRACT – July 31, 2017)
Many observers in 2016 warned that Donald Trump was unfit for the White House. After half a year in office, many more unhappy observers are saying that Trump is unfit for many reasons, and hope that he will be somehow out of office by 2020, if not earlier. But very little has been said about how this “Trexit” might take place, and what happens in the aftermath. These scenarios are an adaptation and refinement of the six “Trump Scenarios” previously posted on the “Human Interest” website. They can help us to think about what is more possible than not, to dampen inflated expectations, and to encourage hope and effective actions to overcome this dangerous historical anomaly before many millions of people worldwide get seriously hurt.
No scenario stands out as probable. But several are somewhat likely: 1) Impeachment (most widely understood and mentioned, but not likely unless Democrats flip the House in 2018; even then, two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict an impeached president and remove him from office); 2) Resignation (certainly possible before House impeachment proceedings begin or before the Senate votes to convict, but Trump likes to fight and seems very likely to struggle to the end, all the while tweeting “unfair”); 3) Disability (as pressures mount, the possibility of disabling physical or mental health could loom much larger, perhaps invoking the never-used 25th Amendment to the Constitution; or demise or disability could result from an assassination attempt); 4) President Pence (in the event of removal, resignation, death, or obvious disability, the Vice President assumes the presidency, unless implicated in the many scandals now being investigated; however, some liberals worry that he would probably be more effective in realizing the extreme conservative political agenda.
Several more scenarios are less likely but deserve mention: 1) President Ryan (if Pence is dragged down with Trump, the Speaker of the House is next in line of succession, and he may be even more effective in realizing the GOP agenda); 2) Trump Loses Primaries (if Trump hangs on to 2020, he might be beaten in the presidential primaries, or, facing humiliating defeat, he may not run for a second term); 3) The Long and Ugly Goodbye (imagine that Trump has been impeached and convicted, but refuses to leave the White House because of “unfair” treatment by the “fake media”; his well-paid lawyers appeal to the Supreme Court while supporters parade 24/7 around the White House; 4) Trump-Caused Disaster (natural and man-made disasters happen, and leaders are often justly or unjustly; blamed—or gain in popularity if they act in an appropriate manner); 5) Trump Triumphs (the fake president might somehow survive all the lawsuits and investigations, complete his first term, and get re-elected in 2020, but this would likely require a deep center-left division among the Democrats and/or an attractive third party candidate who splits the anti-Trump vote).
These scenarios are generally gloomy, pointing to a regressive plutocracy, even if Trump exits.
But there is a positive scenario of The Great Reversal if big Democratic wins occur in 2018 and 2020.
This requires obvious strengthening of “The Resistance,” attractive candidates, and a galvanizing platform. But, in addition, a less-obvious consolidated case against Trump should be made and widely distributed in order to erode luke-warm support for Trump and energize anti-Trump resistors. Unlike the single-issue Watergate scandal that deposed Richard Nixon, there are hundreds of reasons to fire Trump, in addition to the currently leading concern about corrupt Russian connections.
The widely scattered anti-Trump bits and pieces should be assembled in an encyclopedic website clearinghouse, from which one or more simplified briefs would select the most compelling anti-Trump arguments, e.g. “50 Reasons to Fire Trump and his Congressional Supporters”. These reasons should be grouped in two broad categories: Personal Behaviors (chronic lying, projected defects, gross exaggerations, lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, hypocrisies, questionable allies, incompetence, etc.), and Misleading Slogans and Beliefs (Make American Great Again, Drain the Swamp, America First, He Understands Business, Give Him a Chance, etc.). Democrats must stop being nice and clearly stress how Trump is dangerously ignorant, how he is making America worse in many respects, how he is creating a much larger “swamp” in Washington, and more. “The Great Reversal—and More” can restore America’s tarnished position of global leadership, and will surely be a major step forward in the human interest and for realizing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, hugely overshadowed by Trump’s puerile antics and backward policies.
Michael Marien is an independent social scientist who edited the World Future Society’s monthly Future Survey for 30 years. He is currently Senior Principal of The Security & Sustainability Guide, identifying and classifying nearly 2,000 organizations pursuing essential global goals. A longer 5,750 word version of “the Trexit Scenarios” (9 single-space pages) is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org .
Comments are invited on this evolving project.