On the homepage today, Jim Geraghty makes the case that if Donald Trump were somehow to win in November Obama’s legacy would be in tatters. He writes:
Now contemplate Obama’s legacy if, on January 20, 2017, he’s looking on in barely suppressed disdain as the unlikeliest of figures places his (not at all too small, he insists) hand on a Bible declares, “I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.”
. . .
How successful can Obama’s two terms be if Americans were willing to take a chance on an outsider who stands for everything he abhors? Obama took office optimistic despite the Great Recession he inherited. How would it look if eight years later he left the office to Trump, who has risen on the strength of a despairing, angry, bitterly divided electorate eager to “burn it down”?
Geraghty is right, but I think he understates the case. In truth, a Trump win would do a great deal more than just damage some legacies: For a few years at least, it would relegate the Democratic party to almost universal second-fiddle status.
It seems reasonable to assume that, if Trump wins the presidency in November, there will not be enough of a pro-Democrat swing to flip the Senate or the House (or, for that matter, the majority of the states). And if there’s not enough of a pro-Democrat swing to flip the Senate or the House, then the Republicans will continue to control both chambers of Congress until at least 2018. And if the Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House until 2018, they will get to nominate and consent to the next Supreme Court justice. And if they get to nominate and consent to the next Supreme Court justice, they will get to restore the conservative majority on the Court. And the Democrats? Well, they get nothing much at all.
Don’t mistake me here: I think that Donald Trump is going to be crushed in November. I also think that a Trump victory would be extremely bad for the Republican party in the long-term. But one cannot help but notice that if he were to pull it off, the Democratic party would be pushed deep, deep into the wilderness — where, if the GOP’s recent fate is any indication, the contradictions within the party might start to rear their heads a little higher.