Whatever his impact may be on the country or the world, Donald Trump’s presidency imperils the future of his party, and there isn’t a serious-minded Republican in Washington who would tell you otherwise, privately.
In the short term, Trump’s determination to upend the health care market, his vague tax plan that’s already unpopular, an approval rating that can’t crack 40 percent, his exhausting and inexhaustible penchant for conflict — all of it threatens to make a massacre of the midterm elections, if you go by any historical marker.
In the longer term, it’s plausible to think that Trump’s public ambivalence toward white supremacists, along with his contempt for immigrants and internationalism, could end up rebranding Republicans, for generations, as the party of the past.
Trump doesn’t care what happens to Republicans after he’s gone. The party was always like an Uber to him — a way to get from point A to point B without having to find some other route or expend any cash.
Which leads to the question I hear all the time these days. Why aren’t more Republicans separating themselves from Trump? And why aren’t they doing more with the power they have to get in his way?
Sure, you have a senator like Bob Corker, a party pillar and notorious straight shooter, who publicly worried that an unrestrained Trump might bumble his way into World War III. That should have been sobering.
But barely a week later, here’s Mitch McConnell, the majority leader whom Trump has repeatedly demeaned, standing in the Rose Garden, smiling thinly and making hollow sounds about unity, allowing himself to be used for another weird Trump selfie.
It’s actually not hard to understand why McConnell and his fellow lawmakers don’t stand up and declare independence from this rancid mess of a presidency.
It’s just increasingly hard to justify.
I don’t read a ton of opinion pieces online, unless they happen to concern the Yankees, but there was one on CNN.com last weekend that caught my attention. It was written by Steve Israel, who until this year was a senior Democrat in Congress, serving Long Island.