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.]