If I were in a position to offer advice to the Democrats, I’d caution against getting too far out in front on this I-word business too much because I think the GOP is playing rope-a-dope.
My take: since they’re stuck with him because of The Base + gerrymandering, he is their useful idiot for now and they’re just pumping the moron-in-chief for as many tax cuts and as much draconian social legislation as they can, after which they’ll all be “troubled” and “saddened” to have to turn their back on him, maybe McConnell will (sanctimoniously, of course) play the role of Goldwater to Trump’s Nixon – presumably Ivanka will go with him and collect her thirty pieces of silver later – and break the news to him that he’s finished, all just in time to save the 2018 midterms with an empty show of “country over party” patriotism that will get all the usual Big Media nitwits applauding like trained seals at how gosh darn wonderful and bi-partisan they all are, which will go down one of two ways: A.) Trump acquiesces and they get President Pence for almost no electoral cost plus a bonus martyr or B.) Trump resists and they have a TV-ready fight on their hands, good for riling up The Base, and the GOP leadership quietly allows a handful of R’s of “conscience” in contested districts to flip & join the D’s to get an impeachment vote over the line, while Fox News continually reminds their viewership that he’s actually a lifelong Democrat from New York City in order to save The Base for the 2020 election, after which Pence gets a slam-dunk by not pardoning Trump in time for the midterms to show how tough he is, which he then wins in 2020 because he appeared to be so decisive and also such a gosh darn calming presence by comparison after the tumultuous Trump, then all the usual Big Media nitwits again applaud like trained seals and speak of how statesmanlike Pence has proven to be through all of the bedlam, then early on in his second term (to have time to flush it down the memory hole before the 2022 mid-terms) Pence has a change of heart and decides the man has suffered enough and pardons Trump anyway, along with any other criminals up for prosecution from his administration, also getting to appoint four Supreme Court Justices before he decides not to run in 2024, because the 2020 census and the redistricting that follows it was completely controlled by the GOP.
The line of succession is deep and depressing, y’all. As things stand right now for anyone who cares about the future of progressive politics, Trump is actually more useful in office than out because he is the only thing that can break the back of a Republican Party that needed to be burned to the waterline and scuttled over deep blue water 30 years ago. If The Left is ever going to have any hope of clawing its way back into power anywhere outside of big, coastal cities and a few scattered college towns in-between (and I mean the True Left of collective action and social justice and organized labor best typified by Occupy and BLM and the Bernie Movement, not the Wall Street/centrist/Clintonian/DLC/Third Way triangulating Eisenhower-Republicans we’ve had to swallow for 40 fucking years, all while being lectured that this corporate sellout shit is the best The Left can really hope to ever get, so be grateful, hippie)… this is a rare chance. It is a rare opportunity not for partisan gain, because despite all the pious pronouncements from Democrats about this or that bedrock American principle, they are really just looking for some combination of basic score-settling and wishful election-correction, but an opportunity to regain a broader foothold in the electorate than the white, educated urban professional class the Clintonian wing decided was the wave of the future. Not everything Trump promised was 100% bad, folks. He was right about trade deals, even though he’s since had his mind changed about NAFTA by Trudeau and Nieto, and he was right about our habit of foreign intervention, even though he bombed an empty airfield in Syria because Ivanka wept for the children in front of him or whatever. The problem is that he is a straight-up con artist who has failed ever upward his entire life on a balloon of white male wealth, forever insulated from the consequences for his actions by his skin color, gender and money, who also happens to be, deep, down inside, an insecure, narcissistic doofus who will say whatever he needs to win enough adulation to fill the hole left in his soul by his racist, sociopathic dad.
The key to the Democrats’ future – if they have one at all and at this point I am not sure they really do – is to look at the folks who voted for Obama twice and then Trump. Racism and xenophobia are factors, yes, but our darker selves emerge under duress and if you don’t think the Obama-Obama-Trump voters chose a stick of human dynamite are under duress and voted accordingly, you live too much in an elite coastal cloud. Yes modern social media (natch) has pulled all of us down into our own isolated information archipelagos, but if we are ever again to have a powerful, national coalition that can make the world a better place and improve the lives of actual living, breathing human beings, we have to find a way to be grownups about certain uncomfortable truths.
However, with once-and-future Saint Hillary launching a PAC now instead of blissfully fading away forever along with her husband plus Schumer & Pelosi leading the D’s in Congress, I doubt any of them will take their foot off the neck of the wheezing remnants of the FDR coalition long enough for any such daylight to actually reach any corner of Democrat HQ. Permanent Washington Generals to the GOP’s Harlem Globetrotters.
But I’ll never be in a position to ever offer anyone in Democratic leadership advice on anything since they only ever just hit me up for money to combat the Republican menace because I sent Obama $100 nine years ago.