Rethinking America

The Real October Surprise: Trump to Drop Out

Mike Pence to run in Trump’s place, following extensive pardon deal granted Trump by Pence and arranged by Bill Barr.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey


  • Odds are rising that Mike Pence will run in Trump’s place. This would follow an extensive pardon deal granted to Trump and arranged by Bill Barr.
  • Trump is too emotionally frail to ride out a November drubbing. He felt compelled to lie about his numbers in the 2016 election -- even after he had actually won that race.
  • Trump will make a deal with Pence -- just as Nixon did with Ford. You get the presidency -- I get protection from prosecution.
  • Trump’s White House escapades are hurting his brand. When he launched his presidential campaign in June 2015, he didn’t expect to win -- he expected free publicity.
  • Pence may give Biden a real challenge. He is younger than him, acceptable to moderate Republicans, loved by evangelicals and popular in Midwestern states.

I predict that by November 3rd Donald Trump will be off the ballot, ensconced at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, and busy launching a new stage in his reality TV career.

Trump will walk away from the White House and dedicate the rest of his life to pushing two storylines. The first is that he was the United States’ greatest but most abused president.

The second is that he and his followers — the “real people” — were stabbed in the back by the liberals, the Clintons, the Bidens, the Deep State, Fake News, George Soros, the radical left and Antifa. But why would Trump quit?

Reason #1

Trump is too emotionally frail to ride out a November drubbing. He felt compelled to lie about his numbers in the 2016 U.S. presidential election even when he won that election.

This time, when he might get roundly trounced, there would be no fiction he could turn to for cover. His ratings are everything to him.

Reason #2

Trump is a confidence man — and con men know when a con has run its course.

Investigators are closing in on his taxes, the tell-all books from the staffers he has fired and the relatives he has alienated are getting bigger headlines than he is. Also, his pretenses and postures are getting more extreme and fewer people are buying them.

In addition, the A/List cabinet members who made him look better than he was are long gone. And the B -Team left behind is proving not much more competent than he is.

In short, things are collapsing around him and Trump always keeps an eye on the exit. He has a long track record in building devices to cut out partners, paths to evade big invoices and prenups to end marriages.

Reason #3

Trump has become boring and embarrassing. The crowds he can attract have thinned. The evangelicals are tired of pretending he is “a baby Christian.” Even among the diehard 6,000 people at his Tulsa rally, some were scanning their cellphones while he spoke.

There probably isn’t a senator of either party who doesn’t want him gone. Many Republicans want that more desperately than the Democrats because he is hurting their chances of reelection.

Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell face the first real challenge in decades because Trump has brought the party to the final stages of ruin. Losing the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms was bad. But now, Trump has the party on course for a trifecta of failure, losing the White House and the Senate as well.

Reason #4

The White House escapade is hurting Trump’s brand. When he launched his presidential campaign in June 2015, he didn’t expect to win.

What he did expect was great free publicity, which he could subsequently monetize by licensing his name to more hotels, selling more steaks and ties and country club memberships and driving more traffic to his golf courses.

But now, Trump’s business accounts and his properties are hemorrhaging cash. The scheme hasn’t worked out the way he hoped and being president turned out to be more work than he expected and much less fun.

How will Trump make his exit?

Back in 1992, in the presidential race against Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr., Ross Perot, another extreme narcissist, made up a ridiculous story about having to quit because bad men were threatening to disrupt his daughter’s wedding.

So Perot pulled out when the polls turned ugly in the July 1992 before the November election, though he later let his followers tempt him back, once the numbers had improved.

The story Trump makes up will be more bitter, more grandiose and more dangerous, and it will be about him: How he was betrayed and abused and how he will hit back harder.

Nixon’s exit

In 1974, Richard Nixon jumped into a helicopter just before he was pushed out of office, but Trump will stay longer and drive a harder bargain than did the 37th President of the United States.

Trump has lots of experience and no shame about getting others to buy him out or pay him to go away. He will extract a pardon from Pence.

In addition, Trump will also get every form of legal settlement the fertile mind of William Barr can devise: Pardons for his enablers, immunities, indemnities, lifetime irrevocable honors, statues, parades…

Whatever they have to give him to make him go. A lot of it will just be trappings, but that is what he has always cared most about anyway.

Where will Trump go?

Donald Trump will get the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Rebekah Mercer to buy him a platform, probably the One America News Network. He will not put up any money himself because he has little and he always makes others pay.

Trump will rename the network Trump News and will use it to keep the spotlight on himself. He will keep the remnants of his base in a state of fury.

He will busy himself exposing all the plots against him, announcing all his triumphs and ceaselessly pushing the stabbed in the back legend. There is a lot more damage he can do. There are no term limits for propagandists.

Trump will try everything he can think of first. There will be more stunts like his latest — turning federal forces loose on cities run by Democrats — but Trump won’t end up crouching in the White House bunker. He will abandon the ship before it hits the rocks.

Trump’s exit and the 2020 election outcome

If Trump quits in time, he might even turn the election. The Republicans’ ship has a much better chance of righting itself once they have offloaded Trump.

Trump will make a deal with Pence, just as Nixon did with Ford: You get the presidency. I get protection from prosecution.

Importantly, no one will get to fight Pence for the nomination. After all, Trump just announced there will be no Republican convention, so the site for a challenge from Romney or anyone else just vanished.

Pence and Biden

Pence may give Biden a real challenge. He is the Un-Trump: Younger than Biden, acceptable to moderate Republicans, loved by evangelicals and popular in midwestern states Biden needs to win and Trump stood to lose this time around.

Pence is stolid in all the ways Trump was scandalous. Pence thus offers a good way for Republicans to say “Trump? That is all behind us now…”

The Trump show will go on

But Trump won’t be left behind. He will be talking, tweeting, broadcasting, demanding attention and spawning chaos day and night for years to come. The Trump Show won’t end in November. He will be a fixture for years to come.

Editor’s note: These are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of any organization.

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About Stephen D. Wrage

Stephen Wrage is a commentator on international affairs.

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