However is this sort of enchantment adaptable to a world the place Trump himself can’t legally maintain energy any extra? Some adaptation is possible: The Q realm can likely spin tales the place Trump is secretly the president, or the place he has ascended to the next airplane of energy, governing as a pantocrator for whom the presidency could be a demotion. And one can think about extra grounded situations wherein voting for members of his household is interpreted as a approach to let him rule from exile, with a Trump son or daughter taking part in the function that Lurleen Wallace performed for George Wallace when he was term-limited out of the Georgia governor’s mansion and he or she acquired elected in his place.
That form of state of affairs, although, calls for a stage of Machiavellianism that Trump has — at finest — inconsistently displayed, and a willingness to publicly subordinate himself and construct up others that he has virtually by no means proven. Does Trump really need an inheritor, a successor to whom his legacy belongs? (Ask Mike Pence.) Does he need to dwell in a world the place a son he used to disfavor — to say nothing of somebody who isn’t his flesh and blood — is nominated for president as an alternative of him?
On the very least, we will say that the shortcoming to carry energy himself would weaken some of Trump’s enchantment to a few of his supporters, and likewise weaken some of his personal urge for food for the political fray. If he intends to stay a dominant determine within the Republican Get together, being banned from excessive workplace would require extra adaptation from the soon-to-be ex-president, extra creativity, extra institutional exertion — all more durable “asks” for a septuagenarian than simply working one other major marketing campaign.
And, in fact, the ban will definitively make it unattainable for him to rule the Republican Get together from contained in the White Home once more, to mix standard energy with institutional energy (nonetheless weakly exercised) as he has these final 4 years.
Whereas as a lot as Republicans need to imagine within the “simply fade away” narrative, if Trump could be the nominee in 2024, he really might be, and even the shadow of that chance will form and warp the G.O.P. effort to depart the occasions of Jan. 6 behind.
What McConnell has earlier than him, then, is a chance to exert company, to wield energy, that’s fully distinctive to early 2021, and will likely be lengthy passed by 2024. There is no such thing as a assure that utilizing it is going to work, however at a second when each Republican state of affairs seems to be dangerous, it appears extra prone to go away Trump weakened than simply doing nothing and hoping that some form of losing illness will carry his political efficiency away.