I’ve talked and listened to a lot of people in the past few days who are convinced Donald Trump will be out of office before the 2020 presidential election. Some are applauding, others are more concerned that the blatantly bigoted Michael Pence will prove to be more dangerous than Trump (highly unlikely). A few nights ago, I said I would be writing more about the Manafort/Cohen situations after the dust settled and I had time to sit back and ponder the long and the short of it all. Although the dust has not quite settled, I have pondered, and here is my take.
Donald Trump has undoubtedly broken the law, as confirmed by former lawyer Michael Cohen, and he is a sleazeball, to boot. He has robbed this nation of many things, not the least of which is a fair and honest election. But folks … put away the party hats and put the champagne back in the fridge, because it doesn’t look as if Donald Trump is leaving the Oval Office any time soon. Please … stop throwing the tomatoes at me … I know I am bursting your bubbles and raining on your parade, but that is no reason to throw rotten fruits at me. Don’t shoot the messenger. Let me explain …
First of all: impeachment. As I told you in my post from July titled No Dancing in the Streets … Sorry! Donald Trump is very unlikely to be impeached as long as Congress remains divided almost completely along party lines. Impeachment proceedings could be introduced in the House, and might even pass, depending on the demographics of the House after the November mid-terms. But that does not remove him from office, does not even tie his hands. Remember Bill Clinton’s impeachment? It had no effect on his presidency, except to cast a dark cloud.
The Senate, even if every one of the 35 seats up for grabs in November goes to a democrat, still will not be able to garner the 2/3 majority required to remove the impeached president from office. It would require a minimum of nine republican senators to find their cojones and vote to remove him, and at this point, I do not see it happening.
Next: resignation. I’ve heard a few say, “Well, he has to be feeling the pressure … perhaps he’ll just resign to save face”. Sigh. Think about it, friends. Save face? He lost that a long time ago, and his ego, his megalomania, keeps him convinced that he is Donald The Invincible, The Terminator, and The Incredible Hulk all rolled into one. No, he is many things, but a quitter is not one. He will not be like Richard Nixon and say “Good-bye” and ride off into the sunset. He will stay until he is physically removed, dead or alive.
Third: criminal indictment. The Justice Department has taken the position twice that the president is not subject to indictment while in office and that no criminal charges can proceed against him unless he’s either removed from office by impeachment or has served out his term. As a constitutional issue, it remains to be seen, but the precedent set by the Justice Department is clearly against indicting a sitting president.
The question then becomes: Why are the republicans in Congress still supporting Trump, unwilling to even talk about removing him from office? And the answer to that is simple … Trump’s base is as supportive as ever. They have decided that he is their man, and thus far they haven’t heard anything that has changed their mind. Trump’s approval rating from Wednesday, when Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of the 18 charges against him, and Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 charges, until early this morning, dropped by … one-tenth of one percent … no more than the normal fluctuations of any average day. And 80+% of all republican voters are supporters of Trump.Now, if you’re a republican senator from Iowa, a red state, and you’re up for re-election this year, the only way you stand a snowball’s chance in hell is if you are seen by the republican voters in your state as being a Trump supporter, for they definitely are. And if the republicans won’t vote for you, who will? Damn sure not the democrats or the independents, for you have been screwing them over for nearly two years now! And thus, do not hold your breath waiting for any republican in Congress to do the right thing where Trump is concerned.
But why is he still popular? His popularity with the republicans hinges on some of the very things we find most repugnant about him. A Pew Research poll* released this month summarizes what Trump supporters most like about him:All of which goes to prove that the most ardent among Trump’s supporters are more interested in his personality than his policy positions. Okay, frankly I don’t get it, for I find his personality thoroughly disgusting, but … different strokes for different folks. But seriously … “he’s draining the swamp”? NO … he has made it worse than it has ever been in the history of this nation!!! And they’re still hung up on that old “he tells it like it is”. NO … he has no clue how it is!!! But anyway, all of this is irrelevant, for the bottom line is that his supporters still love him.
Jean Sickler of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was asked last week how she would rate Trump’s presidency. She gave him a 9 out of 10, and when asked why he lost a point, her reply was, “A little bit of the things in his tweeting.” This, folks, is what we are up against.
Then what will it take … ???
The only thing that is going to see Trump leaving office before January 20th 2021 is if his base finally turns the tide against him. Once his base, his loyal supporters realize that maybe, just maybe he isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread, then the dominoes can begin to fall, the republicans in Congress will play to the masses and step back away from Trump, and we can begin to have serious discussions about impeachment. I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking these past few days, and I have concluded that there is only one thing that is going to sway his base: jobs and the economy.
When Trump’s policies start to hit his base in an up-close-and-personal way, they will open their eyes, stretch, yawn, and enlightenment will begin. I say it will begin, because even at that point – and make no mistake, that day will come – if Trump can blame it on someone or something else in such a way that his followers buy his excuses, they may still support him. It’s hard to say, for my crystal ball is in the shop this week, but I truly believe that when, due mostly to the tariffs he has imposed on friends and antagonists alike, jobs are lost, prices of food and other goods rise, the cost of health insurance goes up, and they suddenly find they are struggling just to provide the basics for their families, their eyes will begin to open. I do not see anything else that will have that effect, for they frankly don’t care about his morals, they don’t care about his honesty or lack thereof, and they don’t care that he is a crass, vulgar cheater.
So, no my friends, much as I wish I could claim otherwise, Trump will not be leaving the White House soon. I leave you with two parting thoughts:
- Trump registered on the day after his January 2017 inauguration to run in 2020. He could very well actually win that election.
- I’ve been wrong before … remember that I was the one who swore there was no way he was going to win in 2016. Let’s hope I’m wrong this time too!
* The article from which I took the Pew data has a number of other graphs and some interesting information about Trump supporters, so here is a link in case you’re interested.