There's growing chatter that if Republicans can retake control of the House of Representatives in 2022, Donald Trump could bully his way into the speakership.
The once-farfetched nightmare scheme continues to be stoked by the dictator-in-waiting, as evidenced by reporting Saturday from National Public Radio (NPR). But as NPR also notes, Democrats could become energized at the notion of Trump sitting third in line to the Presidency.
"If the Republicans take the House back in the 2022 midterm elections, they get to pick a speaker, and there's no requirement that the speaker has to be an elected representative," NPR reports. "Even if it sounds wild, Trump hasn't shut down the idea when he has been asked about it, and it is causing people in both major parties to stop and think, since he remains the single most important Republican in the U.S. heading into next year's elections."
NPR contacted Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington for comment for its current piece and she hardly slammed the door on the eerie idea.
"We know a lot of people are talking about it," she told NPR. "A lot of people like the idea, but it's nothing Mr. Trump is thinking about."
The report added: "But Trump was noncommittal when he appeared on Real America's Voice and host David Brody asked, "Is that something that you would seriously even consider?"
"Well, I've heard the talk and it's getting more and more, but it's not something that I would have considered. But it is — certainly, there's a lot of talk about it," the former president said.
"And when asked about the idea by conservative talk show host Wayne Allyn Root, Trump said, "You know, it's very interesting. That's so interesting."
Root responded, ""You become the speaker of the House, lead the impeachment of Biden and start criminal investigations against Biden. You'll wipe them out for his last two years, and then you'll be president. Do it!"
Still, as the report also suggests, that sort of ghoulish prospect might boil the blood of Democrats enough to backfire in a big way. Republicans in safe MAGA districts might love the idea, but those in swing districts certainly do not.
"The idea for some that Donald Trump could become the speaker of the House is almost as frightening as the idea of him becoming president again," said Democratic strategist Karen Finney. "That will potentially advantage Democrats — again, just the fear of it, just the very thought of it."
"Democrats would want to force every Republican House candidate to answer the question: If Trump wants the job, would they vote for him? Saying no would anger their MAGA base but saying yes would risk turning off swing voters who are exhausted with the former president. They'd be stuck, which is appealing to Democrats."
"I think it's totally fair game," said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. "Look, like Republicans do this to Democrats all the time. To our front-liners, they say, 'Well, would you vote for Nancy Pelosi?' For Republican members, yeah, they should absolutely be on the record on ... would they vote for Trump as speaker."
Such insurrectionists as Steve Bannon and Rep. Matt Gaetz have been teasing audiences for months with the prospect of Speaker Trump. And since the creepy notion didn't vaporize back then -- and now with Trump continuing to welcome the speculation just a year out from the midterms -- it cannot be dismissed out of hand.
As NPR noted Saturday, if the Republicans could retake their majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 there are many reasons that the notion of a Speaker Donald Trump entices them. But none more chilling than this:
"There's the appeal of State of the Union night, when he would get to stand behind Biden, just like the current House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stood behind Trump when he was president. It's a mass media performance opportunity Trump would revel in. And as some of his supporters have suggested, the speakership would be the perfect place for Trump to take political revenge from."
If that prospect doesn't rev up Democrats in 2022, nothing will.