A Donald Trump scenario: checks and balances at work

Donald Trump is allegedly bad news for the Republicans. If he wins the nomination, his bombastic style will turn off enough moderate voters to keep the Democrats in the White House. On the other hand, if he loses the nomination, he has the resources to run as an Independent candidate. This will almost certainly siphon off enough Republican votes to hand the election to the Democrats.

Assume, however, that the major goal of Republicans is not so much to control the government as it is to slow down the pace of social/political change. Assume further that they can keep control over one house of Congress next year. Even without the bully pulpit of the White House and its agenda setting advantage, it only takes one house of Congress to slow down everything.

Looked at this way, Donald Trump is good news for moderate Republicans (and maybe even moderate Democrats). Having one house of Congress to check the White House will slow down the Democrats’ natural urge to speed up the pace of change. But keeping the current crop of Republican candidates out of the White House will check their natural urge to take us backwards.

James Madison, the architect of checks and balances, would be pleased.

St. Paul novelist John Harrigan is the author of the forthcoming “Crosshairs on Castro.”

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