Stopping Trump: a once-in-a-lifetime political opportunity

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The current state of proliferating Trump scandals presents a once-in-a-lifetime political opportunity for the first Republican to truly stand up for what is right.

Think about it: One brave Republican congressperson, senator, governor or state legislator could build a 2020 presidential campaign on a single act of courage — standing up to the bully, being the first to publicly say no, and saving America from a despot. Remember Woodrow Wilson’s re-election slogan, “He kept us out of war?” Here’s one for a courageous — and ambitious — Republican: “He saved democracy.”

Clearly, taking a stand against Trump’s corruption, incompetence and mental unfitness is the right thing to do. Doing it for the sake of America’s future would be the purest of motivations — because it needs doing. But such an act of pure patriotism is probably too much to expect.

So, although I know it’s cynical to say this, an astute Republican with presidential aspirations could build a lot of political capital by being the first to seriously take on Trump. Doing so would be seen as an act of integrity and fortitude and leadership. Politicians have run — and won — on a lot less.

And if it’s a legacy one is seeking, this could be a big one: You could win the Profiles in Courage award, have a page reserved for you in every high-school textbook in America, be memorialized as a great American hero.

So, who’s it going to be? An article in the New York Times highlights several Republicans to watch  — not necessarily as potential presidential candidates, but as possible key players in the investigations into Trump/Russia that are now ramping up: Senators Susan Collins [ME], James Lankford [OK], Roy Blunt [MO], Marco Rubio [FL], Richard Burr [SC]. Judging from their past records, I have a hard time imagining any of these people taking a principled stand on anything, let alone bucking party loyalty and challenging Trump.

But maybe there are others whose political history is not as tainted as these old-guard party loyalists. Surely, if Trump’s popularity plummets and he is seen as a liability to continued Republican dominance in Congress, somebody’s going to glom onto the notion that breaking away–and being the first to do so — would be politically smart. So, even if a Republican can’t find the inner strength and moral imperative to do it for the good of the country, I’d settle for someone doing a good thing for the far less noble reason of seeing a political opportunity when it stares them in the face.

[This is not to imply that I would actually vote for such a person.]

Gloria Shur Bilchik Gloria Shur Bilchik (643 Posts)

Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of democratic values and progressive programs as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.


  • Stacy Mergenthal

    I think they’re waiting for their rollback-everything-Obama-did agenda to be complete while they still have party unity. Trump et al have been able to undo quite a bit of his meager progress these first few months. Maybe a Republican will step forward after their party has dismantled health care and ensured only a select few with means can afford to have it. I think killing 40k Americans every year is the centerpiece of their agenda, isn’t it? Or was it privatizing Social Security? Defunding Medicare and CHIP? Taking food out of children’s mouths? It’s hard to keep track.

  • Stacy Mergenthal

    I remember now. It’s massive tax cuts for the uber wealthy! That’s what ties all the austerity measures together.

  • liberalguy1

    Some Republicans have spoken out against him on some things. A few Republican governors have expressed concern about his health care plans, and others are warning him not to pull out of the Paris climate change accords. In the Senate, Ben Sasse of Nebraska has spoken out against him pretty strongly.

    But run against him in 2020? Maybe– maybe– if he is gravely wounded, politically-speaking. But I doubt it.