No fact pattern or rational argument will persuade the Jordans and the Johnsons of the world to give up the cultist and embarrassing defense of the president. (Note to Democrats: Those rural white working-class voters who buy this same nonsense are never voting Democratic, so give up your fixation with “understanding” and winning them back.) Rather, I’d like to focus on the rest of the Republicans, the ones who know Trump is nuts but were in it for the tax cuts or to get reelected or because they were convinced they could have made things better. If that course of action were intellectually and morally sustainable, they would not be literally hiding from the press or pretending they had not read the most eye-popping news in recent memory.
And yet they are hiding and hoping — hoping for what? That this will all blow over? That Trump will find a time machine to go back to erase his confessions on the White House grounds? That no more witnesses and no more documents will ever turn up confirming again and again the president’s shakedown of a foreign country for dirt on his political opponent and his solicitation of the same from China? This is irrational thinking. Their cowardice is implicit confirmation that the president’s actual words and conduct, which are unalterable, are indefensible.
These Republicans know if President Barack Obama used the office of the presidency to pressure the Ukrainians, the Chinese or any other foreign leaders to manufacture “evidence” for some cock-and-bull theory against a Republican candidate, they’d have called him certifiable and impeached him within a week. Yet they’d allow this president to do the exact same thing, and expect Democrats would never turn the tables when they were in power.
To these Republicans, I ask: This is why you ran for office (or joined the staff of someone who did) and what you’ll tell your kids and grandkids you did in office — vouch for a raving narcissist who betrayed our democracy? When you made the pact with the Devil, you might have imagined a Democratic president would have hurt the economy or nominated judges not to your liking (wouldn’t Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have stopped them anyway?), but you cannot honestly say they would have tried to corrupt our democracy to the extent this president has. You cannot honestly say that a tax cut (whose effect is drying up) was worth all this.
So really, what are you doing? Trump will be impeached, and if he remains on the top of the ticket will lose, bring down the entire Republican ticket and stain the party for the foreseeable future. The only question is what you are going to do. Unless you want to be one of the lawmakers hiding from voters and reporters until 2020 and/or tagged as enabling impeachable conduct, you have three rational choices: announce you are retiring; denounce the conduct and call on the president to resign or at least refrain from running for reelection; or support impeachment.
Remember, in 1974, the first post-Watergate election, Republicans lost 4 Senate seats and 49 House seats. In 1976, they lost the presidency. That is where the GOP is heading once more. You now have to decide what role you want to play in the downfall of Trump’s presidency and the political annihilation of your party. But for God’s sake, stop hiding from the press and voters.