The election analysis nobody asked for

So, yesterday was a very bad day for Republicans. The Gods of Ironic Justice smote the party of Trump in an unusually decisive fashion for an odd-year election. This is all very good news. Republicans lost a lot of ground in some key states (Virginia, I'm looking at you...with admiration), and Medicaid expansion won in Maine over the protests of their quite incredibly racist governor.

The most obvious takeaway from this is that it's very difficult to win when your party holds the White House and the President's approval ratings are south of 40%. The President isn't the party, but he's the most visible symbol of what the party stands for. Despite what a few sad, misinformed souls have suggested, Ed Gillespie's loss can't be blamed on a failure to embrace the President. If anything, his determination to association himself with the White House likely cost him.

I suspect that the Republican party has reached the same conclusion. Unless the President turns it around, he'll be a millstone around the party's neck this time next year. If he fails to improve his popularity, is there anything else they can do? Well, duh, of course they can. They can remove him. He's done numerous things that would warrant removal if they were done by literally any other President. Leaving aside the still-to-be-concluded Mueller probe, he's actively solicited donations from foreign governments even after he was told to stop, he sent Congress a note saying that he had no intention of abiding by the emollients clause because that kind of reporting would be inconvenient, he's attempted to use the Justice Department to harass his political enemies...I could go on, but really, they only need one thing and he's given them a bucketful.

Why is he still around? He's useful. While he's in office holding the spotlight, there's no limit to the kind of chicanery a Republican Congress can achieve. Voter suppression, rolling back civil rights protections for everyone but white men, knocking down the barriers between church and state, and tax cuts for the super-wealthy? You'd best believe it! This is very likely a once in a lifetime opportunity for this kind of mischief and removing the President would bring it to a halt.

This does not mean I think the President will be impeached in the next six months. I think that the election results last night make it more likely. If Trump continues to embody the concept of "box office poison," then Republican legislators will have to make the call. If he continues to damage the party and puts the seats of career politicians at risk, he'll be gone by late spring. Principles are fine, but if a legislator has to choose between "enacting a wildly conservative agenda" and "keeping their job," you know what they're gonna choose.

-RK