I believe Trump will not make it through 2017 as President. He’ll either be impeached, or will quit—possibly citing health reasons.
History will not treat him kindly. Of course, in the short term, right wing historians will argue that he was “driven” from office by a partisan left, aided and abetted by a complicit liberal media. That narrative will appeal to tea party types and evangelicals, who saw in Trump their Great White Hope, and they will endlessly repeat the narrative in their echo chamber and especially on Fox “News.”
But right wing historians don’t get the final word. They will have to contend with serious presidential historians and scholars, who will see the brief Trump regime as an aberration, a period when America lost its mind and descended into insanity.
The main charge against Trump, apart from his pathological lying and narcissistic personality disorder, will be his mauling of the Office of the President. They’re going to have to de-louse the Oval Office when he’s gone. To call him “unprepared” for the presidency is an understatement. Bad as that is, his bloated ego cannot admit—even to himself—that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That makes him doubly deplorable, and the fact that no one around him—neither his aides nor senior Republicans—is able to have a sit-down with him, telling him the emperor has no clothes, makes them all complicit in this dirty deed.
What we can expect next, as the scandals pile up, is that those aides and senior Republicans will start scrambling to cover their rear ends. We saw it during Watergate; we’ll see it again. As Mueller’s investigation, and those in the House and Senate, pick up steam, more facts will leak out (and thank God for the leakers; Trump wants the FBI to arrest them and the reporters who publish the information, but these leakers are true American patriots and ought to be thanked). The media will become ever more obsessed with the winding down of the Trump regime; you’ll know the sea change has occurred by seeing the Wall Street Journal editorials become increasingly critical. Fox “News” will never get beyond their cheerleading for a sinking Trump administration; they’ll go down with the ship, stirring up the tea party to violent indignation, lashed on by the chicken-hawk likes of Hannity and the odious Tucker Carlson. None of their propaganda will suffice; nothing can prevent this president from being forced from office, one way or another, and sooner rather than later.
Which leaves us with Pence—assuming that he, too, isn’t thrown out. There’s a meme going around in Democratic circles that we really should go light on Trump because Pence is worse. I agree that Pence is a horrible, awful person, as insane as Trump, but in a different way. Pence’s insanity comes from his unthinking belief in Christian superstition: he is a homophobe of the first order, anti-science, anti-woman, a fundamentalist who would throw America back to the mid-1800s, when white men made the rules and everyone else obeyed.
So, yes, it’s true we’ll be stuck with Pence. But I think, in the 2018 election cycle, it will be easy to make Americans fear him, because there’s so much to fear. He’ll always have the 25%-30% of evangelical crazies, but he’ll scare the hell out of moderates; he’ll be easy to beat in 2020 (if he runs again), and Democrats can use him (and the still-fresh memory of Trump) to take back the Senate, and possibly the House, in 2018. Even if Pence doesn’t run again, whomever the Republicans choose will be stained with the tar of Trump, with one possible exception: Jeb Bush.
And what of Trump and the zoo he surrounds himself with? Some of them will go to jail, including, possibly, Jared and Flynn. Others will be disgraced, and able to get jobs only in reactionary organizations (Fox “News” always needs right wing analysts). The Trump children can live out their lives playing with their cohort, other lucky-sperm brats. Melania, who seems to hate being first lady, can go back to what she does best—dressing up and being a hostess (although I wouldn’t be surprised if she divorced Trump as fast as she can). And The Donald? There is no doubt that historians will rate him the Worst President Ever; they will add that America did an awful thing electing him, but redeemed herself by dumping him before he could bring the nation to ruin.