Sticks And Carrots

The domestic response to the extremes of the Trump presidency (and of the man himself) has been to try to use sticks to beat him into submission. Many of our foreign counterparts have taken a carrot approach, feting Trump with elaborate, ego-feeding ceremony that, by all accounts, seems to make him more receptive to their positions.

We seem to be getting nearer the point when the sticks may have their intended effect, most likely wielded by lawyers. It may, therefore, be time to think about a few carrots to dangle in front of our president to smooth things along and, perhaps, avoid the grave, divisive and uncertain confrontations a sticks-only approach will ultimately entail.

What are possible carrots that could honorably and properly be used to hasten our return to the real world of sensible governance?

If Trump is willing to resign quietly and slip into well-deserved obscurity:

  1. Pardon him (and his immediate family, including Jared) for all crimes arising from the 2016 campaign or his time in office.
  2. Accept that his Russian related collusion might have been ambiguous.
  3. Allow him the usual emoluments of an ex-President in good standing so he doesn’t have to risk becoming impoverished.
  4. Accept his hidden tax returns as filed unless there was actually fraud.

Trump might get any, or all, of those considerations without going quickly or quietly. However, reassuring him that he could have them all without a struggle might just make it easier to ease him out.

None of this will be easy; certainly none of it will feel particularly good. But it’s important to remember that our system of government is less than 250 years old, and has only twice faced constitutional crises. That both were favorably resolved (one peaceably: Nixon, one at great human cost: the Civil War) offers no guarantees for the present case. The Republicans who pushed Nixon out the door are an extinct breed, and the contemporary political environment is far different from what it was in the 1970’s.

Regardless of whether it’s possible, it could be very healthy to start this conversation in public. It offers a common ground between the extremes of “deep state” paranoiacs and “impeach now” radicals that might just show a path forward.


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