Why Trump Might Quit - POLITICO
Category: News & PoliticsVia: jbb • one week ago • 51 comments
For Trump quitting now might be his best option...
Why Trump Might Quit
There is logic behind saying to hell with reelection.
President Donald Trump | Montinique Monroe/Getty Images
Altitude is a column by POLITICO founding editor John Harris, offering weekly perspective on politics in a moment of radical disruption.
The purpose of the nationally televised Oval Office address was to announce new peace initiatives in Vietnam, but Lyndon B. Johnson saved the most startling news until the end of his speech on March 31, 1968. With his country badly divided over a grinding war, he didn't believe as president he "should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes." He was dropping out of the presidential campaign.
Now there was a president who knew how to shake up the plot.
Among Donald Trump's problems in his long, hot and mostly housebound summer is that he has lost his once unparalleled gift for changing the story. He still can stir outrage, but even among his supporters he no longer has much capacity to surprise. "Every hero," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson a century before the president was born, "becomes a bore at last."
But here is a way Trump could demonstrate that an old master still knows how to tear up the script and leave the audience gasping. It is late but not too late to pull an LBJ.
As it happens, the Trump Drops Out scenario is one I have trafficked to colleagues and sources for a couple years now, usually to dismissive grunts or quizzical stares. It is true that there is scant time left for the scenario to come to pass. It's true also that, if I were a reliable predictor of Trump's political fortunes, Hillary Clinton would now be running for reelection.
But even if one doesn't really think Trump will drop out of the race—as a proselytizer of the theory I acknowledge it is a stretch—it is worth examining the reasons he just might, as a way of illuminating the bleakness of his situation with just over three months to go before the general election.