What if Trump doesn’t make it?

Last night we all heard the bombshell report about Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans having been co-signed by Russian oligarchs. If it proves true, it could be the kind of thing that could actually take Trump down. That led one Palmer Report reader to ask me this morning how this would impact the 2020 Democratic field.

That’s several steps ahead of where we’re at right now, of course. Even if Deutsche Bank released loan documents tomorrow proving that Donald Trump is literally owned by Russian oligarchs, we’d still see a strange and complicated political process play out. Would Trump resign, or agree to drop out of the 2020 race, in the hope of criminal leniency? Would Republican Senators selfishly oust Trump in the hope of salvaging their own worsening reelection prospects?

We don’t know. But let’s say that Donald Trump ends up not being a participant in the 2020 election. The resulting vacuum would surely set up a free for all in the Republican primary race, and there’s no predicting how that chaos would play out. But on the Democratic side, it’s not that difficult to predict the general parameters of how it would all go.

Scenario #1 is that Trump is removed from the 2020 election picture before the Democrats settle on a candidate. How would each of the most popular Democratic candidates respond? Joe Biden would likely play up his general amiability as a roadmap for healing the nation in the wake of Trump’s jarring downfall. Kamala Harris might play up her prosecutorial background while pointing out the need to prosecute everyone involved in Trump’s crime spree. Elizabeth Warren would likely point to it as yet more evidence that political reform is needed. Bernie Sanders probably wouldn’t change his message at all, because he never does. The candidates would all position themselves as the answer to the post-Trump question, and primary voters would have to decide what they’re in the mood for.

Scenario #2 is that Donald Trump is ousted from the 2020 picture after the Democrats have already picked a nominee. In such case, the nominee would have to look at whoever ends up being the Republican nominee, as well as what the general electorate’s mood ends up being toward politics going forward. Bottom line: the Democrats are already running on far more than just an anti-Trump platform, so much of their 2020 message wouldn’t change.

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