Who should liberals fear more: President Trump or a potential President Pence?
via AP

Who should liberals fear more: President Trump or a potential President Pence?

#NoOneWorseThanTrump
#PenceWouldBeWorse
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President Trump has had a rough first year. From low approval ratings to a failed legislative agenda to the looming Mueller investigation, the odds of impeachment appear to be mounting. But some warn against calls of impeachment. The removal of Trump would mean a President Pence, and while Pence may be more controlled than Trump, some argue he would be a far more dangerous president. What do you think? 🤔

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#NoOneWorseThanTrump
48.1%
#PenceWouldBeWorse
51.9%

Donald Trump is unfit for office—or at least that's what Ezra Klein of Vox believes. Our American political system is designed to protect us from dangerous presidents, yet talks of impeachment are rarely taken seriously. Trump has proven time and time again that he should not be holding the highest office in the land, and it's time we took his removal from office seriously. 

Klein lays out the argument for Trump's impeachment and acknowledges the fear many have of Pence. While Pence may be more ideologically-driven, Klein argues Trump is much worse. Sure Pence might be better at working with Republicans in Congress, but he wouldn't accidentally get us into nuclear war via Twitter.

Impeachment, in Donald Trump’s case, would lead to the elevation of Mike Pence—a Republican who is better liked by his party and who, to Democrats’ chagrin, would likely be much more effective at pushing a conservative legislative agenda. But it would mean less danger of an accidental war with North Korea, less daily degradation of democratic norms and civil discourse, an executive who has the attention span to follow briefings and the temperament to stay off Twitter when he’s angry, and the precedent that there is some minimal level of job performance that the American people and their political representatives are willing to demand of their president.

The 25th Amendment exists for a reason. Fear of a President Pence does not justify keeping someone as dangerous of Trump in power. 

Though we have mechanisms for removing a dangerous president, those mechanisms are too politically explosive to actually invoke. President Trump could order a nuclear holocaust before breakfast, but unless society can agree that he is either criminal or comatose, both America and the world are stuck with him and all the damage he can cause. Can this really be our system?

But while critics continue to make a case for the impeachment of President Trump, others grow increasingly skeptical of the prospect. The impeachment of Trump would mean welcoming a President Pence, who many still believe is much worse than Trump.

Jane Mayer argues in The New Yorker that a Pence presidency could be significantly more damaging due in part to Pence's loyalty to the Republican billionaire donor class.

Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party’s agenda in recent years.

Beyond his deep connections to dark money, Pence also poses a unique threat to women and the LGBT community due to his religiosity.

Even as Pence argued for less government interference in business, he pushed for policies that intruded on people’s private lives. In the early nineties, he joined the board of the Indiana Family Institute, a far-right group that supported the criminalization of abortion and campaigned against equal rights for homosexuals. And, while Pence ran the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, it published an essay arguing that unmarried women should be denied access to birth control.

However dangerous Trump may be, we are spared the worst of the worst due to his sheer incompetence. Pence is a more experienced politician who would be able to get more done if he were president.

Many Americans have debated whether the country would be better off with Pence as President. From a purely partisan viewpoint, Harold Ickes, a longtime Democratic operative, argues that—putting aside the fear that Trump might start a nuclear war—“Democrats should hope Trump stays in office,” because he makes a better foil, and because Pence might work more effectively with Congress and be more successful at advancing the far right’s agenda. 

Fear of a President Pence certainly hasn't stopped some Democrats from pursuing impeachment. Nearly 60 Democrats in Congress, led by Texas Congressman Al Green, voted for a resolution to lay out articles of impeachment against Trump. 

Green’s articles of impeachment stated that Trump has “brought disrepute, contempt, ridicule and disgrace on the presidency” and “sown discord among the people of the United States.” The articles cited Trump’s response to the violent clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., and attacks on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality as examples of how Trump has divided the nation.

Trump poses a unique threat to American democracy. Say what you will about Pence, but does anyone believe he would get into Twitter fights with athletes or fail to condemn white supremacists?

Anti-Trump conservative David Frum also argued a President Pence would be better than Trump on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

"There's a lesson you're going to need for 2017 which is about making responsible choices... because Bill was talking earlier about he wanted to see Donald Trump not be president by Christmas, which would be nice. That means Michael Pence becomes president, and that is better. And everyone in this room does not have to vote for Michael Pence in 2020. You don't have to vote Republican in 2018, but if you have any hope, it is that he becomes president as rapidly as possible."

And Bill Maher echoed his sentiments.

"I could not agree more. Michael Pence is well within the parameters of awful that we have come to see as the norm."

But many still believe Pence would be worse than Trump. Joan Walsh argues in The Nation that while she despises Trump, and thinks he should go "because he's a racist authoritarian," Pence is "a far worse person." For every crazy thing Trump has said or done, Pence has defended him. He lies to the same degree as Trump, he's just not as obvious about it. Pence would do everything Trump has and worse.

Pence is a far worse person, because of his creepy Handmaid’s Tale patriarchal approach to women’s equality. But also because he usually knows he’s lying about Trump, and their administration’s agenda, and he lies anyway.

And while the choices may be grim, many still believe an incompetent buffoon is the better option.

But as Trump grows increasingly dangerous, it seems impossible to imagine that anyone could be worse than what we have now.

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