This op-ed is easily the lamest thing the New York Times will publish this week, and remember that it published a Maureen Dowd column that was an attempted-and-failed-miserably first-person satire of Donald Trump (apparently, his first act upon assuming office will be to read a particularly shitty Maureen Dowd column verbatim.) Before saying that Trump should maybe kinda resign, he establishes his cred:
All eyes must now turn to his running mate, Mike Pence, to do what must be done.
I say this not as a member of the so-called Never Trump faction of my party. Though Mr. Trump was not my first choice for the nomination, I found his attack on the established order appealing at times, even entertaining, and respected the wishes of a clear plurality of Republican primary voters. Americans long have been entranced with the idea of the political outsider who puts self-interest aside to battle Washington’s wrongdoers and set things right. But in recent weeks — indeed, months — the pitfalls of political outsiderdom have become plain.
He was good at the beginning, when he was a ridiculously unqualified con artist calling Mexicans rapists and calling for Muslims to be deported en masse, but then he went too far!
Seasoned politicians learn what fights to pick, what half-victories to savor, how to make coherent points and how to increase their electoral base. By contrast Mr. Trump, an accomplished businessman unaccustomed to answering to anyone, appears constitutionally incapable of letting any slight go unchallenged. He has proved unwilling or unable to discipline himself to a consistent message or to restrain his worst impulses. He lacks an ability to form, or more important expand, a general election coalition.
Yes, this entirely new information we’ve learned about Donald Trump changes everything.
Now he needs someone to guide him to a graceful exit. Mike Pence is that person.
The unassuming governor of Indiana, Mr. Pence is in a powerful, if unenviable, position. Were he to publicly repudiate his own running mate, or question his fitness for office, the Trump campaign would be unsustainable. He does not need to take such a drastic action — not yet — but the prospect of his doing so, even if conveyed obliquely, might persuade his running mate to broker a withdrawal. At the very least, it might spur intermediaries, such as Mr. Trump’s friends and family, to have a candid conversation with the candidate on what lies ahead if he stays in.
And with a little luck, his running mate, should he replace Mr. Trump as the nominee, might defeat Hillary Clinton, who has severe image problems of her own. In that event, Mr. Trump could reasonably boast that he hand-selected the next president.
If Mr. Pence truly believes Mr. Trump will be a capable president, then he should do nothing. But he owes it to his party, his country and the cause he has championed his entire life to reflect on this carefully. The worst-case scenario is that a man who may be wholly unfit for the office may actually win it. Mr. Pence is among the few who could stop this — now. And, if he has any question about whether Donald Trump can do the job, then he has a responsibility to step aside himself if Mr. Trump won’t.
This is ridiculous on every possible level. First of all, Trump’s campaign is plenty unsustainable as it stands; he’d pretty much need force majeure to win as it stands. Second, the idea that a bland and also very reactionary hack like Pence could win having deposed Trump is absurd. There are also logistical problems of ballot access. And I love the qualifications — maybe Trump’s campaign will be a trainwreck, but we’re not sure yet. Right.
But leaving aside all that, the silliest part is the assumption that Pence didn’t know what he was signing up for. Trump is acting…like he’s acted since the day he became a public figure. Nothing has changed. If Pence thought that Trump was an unacceptable president he wouldn’t have taken the gig. Latimer can pretend to be fooled if he wants, but Pence knew what he was signing up for. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing more than one “poor Mike Pence, he looks so miserable” stories, but nuts to that. Trump is what Trump’s always been.