The best way to answer the question about trump's value to future candidates is to look back. I do not recall that Nixon demanded conspicuous loyalty from GOP candidates, but it did not hurt as long as he was not a pariah. After his fall from the presidency, attachment to him was not a problem for most who later sought public office. So if we look back we can start by suggesting that history is not helpful in this case. We are flying blind.

The Trump question is unprecedented. And this suggests that there may indeed be huge repercussions. Being a Trump toady could indeed be a political Death Warrant.

It could turn Lindsay Graham into a has been. It could permanently retire Orrin Hatch. And it could certainly send Nikki Haley back to South Carolina with little to show for her subservience.

Sorting it out

In a nation that does not seem to care much about political ties, is that true anymore? My answer is that we should not look to the United States. We are better instructed by the experience of Germany following Hitler. No, I am not equating Trump with Hitler. I am equating dictatorial behavior with the capacity to create toxicity. To the extent that the shoe fits, Trump will be a liability.

My best guess is that Trump's current numbers will not hold. They will either go up in the event he overcomes the Mueller probe or further into the cellar if he is revealed to have lied beyond past lies.

This suggests that we will indeed face a moment of crisis that revolves around the intensification of the Trump-Russia matter. Mueller has something. That can be inferred from what is already known. Trump is either cooked or destined to do battle in a do or die dispute.

Hanging on

The names of those who have been tied to Trump include most of the GOP in Congress and most of his governing circle.

The circle of culpability is enlarged if you add in all those who have used the latitude of Citizen's United to alter the political landscape on the basis of Trump's considerable manipulation of the courts at every level.

The reason it is difficult to assess Trump's influence is that things continue to be unresolved. We do not know the likely ending of anything that is happening.

That applies to North Korea and China, to immigration, to the Russia matter, and finally, to the healthcare situation. There is Trump guzzling diet Coke, growing his paunch and swinging away at every opportunity. The nearest analogy I can think of is Burl Ives in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".

If mendacity is the system we live in, as Tennesee Williams wrote, then the Trumpian aura hangs over us as surely as the rain comes down on Burl and Paul in the film. Only we are a little closer to reality and it may hurt a little more.