I hear all the time, from my sisters and brothers on the left, some variation of the same argument. “We shouldn’t impeach Trump,” they will say, “Mike Pence would be a lot worse.” or “Why bother getting rid of Trump? Pence is just as bad.”
I hear these arguments literally every day, from men and women of good conscience who truly believe what they are saying with all their hearts and minds. They genuinely imagine that we could be in a worse situation than the one we are in now. The argument goes something like this. Sure, Donald Trump is a dangerously unhinged incompetent who, if not a dyed in the wool raving racist and white supremacist himself, has certainly hitched his gold-plated wagon to the most despicable racists and white supremacists in our society, but the last thing on earth we want to do is impeach him. It’s better to just wait out his term and get somebody better into office in 2020. Mike Pence would be even worse, they say.
Pence is just as much a white supremacist as Trump is, as well as being one of the most homophobic, Christo-fascist politicians in recent memory.
What’s more, Pence is an extremely competent lawmaker and is very well liked by his GOP comrades in Congress. It’s possible he could be better at trying to push through some of the reprehensible legislation, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and dismantling our health care system, that Trump has been unable to accomplish because he doesn’t have the backing of the members of his own party.
Now all of what my friends are saying about Pence is, of course, true. Pence is a nasty piece of work who, as president, would spell big trouble for gay rights and women’s reproductive rights, among other things. It does not follow, however, that he would be more of a disaster than Trump. If you think that is possible then you are kidding yourself. We are, at this moment, in the most tenuous and precarious position we could possibly be. It really comes down to one, simple equation: an evil adult with the nuclear codes is infinitely preferable to a delusional child with them.
There are many other reasons, of course. Pence would spend less time demonizing the press and puffing himself up and more time dealing with important government business. Pence wouldn’t have the same army of cult members and AltRight trolls that are currently threatening to start a new Civil War if their hero is somehow removed from office. Pence may very well kowtow to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, but I can’t imagine him doing it nearly as openly and shamelessly as Trump does on a regular basis.
In short, my friends, Mike Pence as president would be an unmitigated disaster and I hope to God that he gets himself deeply entangled in the investigation into Trump’s conspiracy with Russia to steal the election, so that the two of them go down together and are forever remembered in history books as un-American con-men and traitors.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is something far more terrifying.
What we have now as President of these United States is the equivalent of Billy Mumy in that Twilight Zone episode in possession of the ability for nuclear annihilation. Mike Pence would certainly try to gut our safety net and push civil rights back to the dark ages but Trump could wish us all into the cornfield if we aren’t nice to him.
No, my friends, we need to quit pretending that we could possibly be in a more treacherous situation than we are now and that the best thing for us to do is to do nothing. We cannot afford to just let this blow over, and we simply cannot use the excuse that Pence would be worse or just as bad.
We need to pour into the streets and demand that this absurd national travesty comes to an end. We must insist that our cowardly senators and congressmen and women get up off their lazy, privileged, corrupt asses and remove the steaming dumpster fire that is Donald Trump from office. We need to start right now, this very minute, and we cannot stop until this Orwellian nightmare is over.
What’s wrong with America is deep and wildly complex and won’t be solved by Trump’s removal.
Trump’s removal, however, is the necessary first step.