Finley: Trump should forget second term
President Donald Trump was back on the campaign trail last week, doing what he most loves — tossing red meat to his base.
The president was full of himself and bravado, predicting to his Minnesota audience that he’ll roar to re-election in 2020.
While I think that’s far-fetched, I’m in no position to dispute his boast. I was confident he didn’t have a prayer in 2016.
So I’ll acknowledge that Trump could win a second term. But for his own good, and that of his party and the country, he shouldn’t seek one.
I can’t figure out why he’d want to. Even for someone who relishes a fight as much as he does, this constant combat can’t be fun. And it certainly must be sheer agony for his family.
The guy has $3 billion, and what good is it doing him? He can’t jet set around the world anymore, and he’s no longer welcome at the chi-chi Manhattan soirees. No more languid summer days on yachts surrounded by half-naked super models he could squeeze without a single #metoo worry. Washington can’t be as much fun for a player like Trump as was Miami.
Beyond the sacrifice of leisure and luxury, there’s also the frustration of not being able to get much done. The constant specter of a special prosecutor must keep him awake at night. And his popularity is too weak to use as leverage against the opposition.
Trump could submit the entire Democratic platform to Congress, and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi would still not allow him a single vote. Even if they did end the resistance movement, Trump would be derailed by bickering Republicans, who seem to dislike each other more than they do Democrats.
The dysfunction will get worse should Democrats win back one or both chambers of Congress this fall.
Any hope that the initial over-the-top hysteria in reaction to the Trump presidency would subside and the country would return to normal is gone. This is not normal, and as long as Trump is in the White House, there will be no normal.
Whether you blame Trump or Democrats, whether you think the media and the Deep State are colluding to subvert the president, whether you love everything Trump has done or hate it, you have to recognize that the country can’t go on like this.
For Republicans, the consequence of a Trump re-election bid may be their destruction. The party is already in disarray over Trump. Too many GOP stalwarts have left the party, and too many others have had to swallow their pride and principles to show loyalty to a president who doesn’t share their values.
If Trump announced today he won’t run for a second term, Republicans would have a shot at getting more of their agenda passed, and also of keeping the White House and their congressional majorities.
There would be no need for Democrats to continue destroying Trump. He’d be gone in two short years anyway. And Trump, no longer having to appease a rabid base, would have room for deal-making, which is what he says he loves.
A second term won’t change his place in history. It doesn’t matter if he’s in office for four years or eight, he still gets his picture on the presidents place mat at the pancake diner.
He’d leave office at age 74 with still time to enjoy his billions. And maybe even get another TV show.
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