Impeachment: Looking Ahead
Both major parties face problems in 2022 and 2024.
First, some background…
Pre-Election 2020, President Donald Trump held a record 91 percent approval rating among GOP voters, most of whom cast votes for him rather than the party.
Then, one week before Mr. Trump left office, ten Republican U.S. House members voted with Democrats to impeach him. Those ten districts will be contested in GOP primaries, many/most successfully.
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote: “This impeachment should end with the Trump administration.”
Nonetheless, reinstalled Speaker (in a squeaker) Nancy Pelosi will (or, by now, did) refer the House indictment to the Senate for trial.
Trying an out-of-office president would be constitutionally unsound, plus an evenly-divided Senate won’t produce the seventeen Republican votes needed to convict.
Furthermore, the Washington Post, no friend to Mr. Trump, (belatedly) exonerated him, reporting: “the [Capitol] riot was not an entirely impulsive outburst…but an event instigated or exploited by organized groups.” One group, Antifa, was identified on-site.
But, if a Senate trial is held, Republicans who vote to convict will also become primary targets.
Democrats may think trying his predecessor, even unsuccessfully, will somehow add “legitimacy” to a president who entered office with lower public approval (48 percent) than the defendant enjoyed on leaving it (51 percent), and whose heavily-militarized inauguration advertised his/his party’s insecurity.
The party is justifiably terrified that, in 2024, a failing President Joe Biden, or, by then, his radical successor will be easy pickings for a Trump resurgence, so Washington Democrats – and certain Republicans – are abusing the constitutional power of impeachment to prevent another Trump candidacy.
Addressing that objective, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said, “…[A] Senate trial…to disqualify [Trump] – a trial that’s probably unconstitutional, …illegal and…may well be struck down by the courts – is a foolish waste of American taxpayers’ money, of priorities, and…is not good for the Biden administration…”
Impeachment can be seen as an effort by both party establishments to discredit Mr. Trump/his America First coalition, render them politically ineffective, and discourage other candidates from pursuing the same or a similar policy agenda.
But, the benefits America, and Americans, generally, gained from Mr. Trump’s policies enjoy wide popularity.
The “Trump” genie is out of the bottle. It won’t be recorked even if Mr. Trump never runs again.
Donald Trump may be an unlikely 2024 candidate when, while physically/mentally healthier than Joe Biden is now, he will be nearly as old as Mr. Biden is today.
Nevertheless, Mr. Trump would have an outsized impact on the election.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once said, “There isn’t a lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats, just about who gets to spend the money.”
Consider just two examples of how things work in Washington: As president, Donald Trump partially-derailed both parties’ gravy train by keeping campaign promises to, among other successful initiatives, reform the regulatory state and recall American troops from over-long, unproductive foreign wars.
Fewer regulations mean fewer lobbyists. Fewer lobbyists mean fewer political campaign contributions.
In addition to repatriating troops from war zones, Trump/his administration negotiated five Middle East peace agreements, thereby lowering the chances of spilling American blood in new conflicts.
Fewer armed conflicts mean less tax money spent on military contractors/suppliers – and less political campaign cash.
Nearly everything Mr. Trump accomplished in four years disrupted Washington’s business as usual.
Neither party establishment accepts that the 2016 presidential election was a rebuke reflecting the larger American public’s distaste for “business as usual,” so, although it may take another election cycle or two, resuming business as usual can’t end well for either party.
Both party establishments have reason to worry.
But, the GOP establishment should worry less about another Trump presidential run, and more about eliminating happy talk, then genuinely committing to an agenda that would encourage Mr. Trump/his supporters to work for rather than against them in the 2022 Republican primaries, and turn out for 2024 Republican presidential and down-ticket candidates.
Washington Democrats should worry that rolling out their once-covert, unworkable socialist agenda will cost them their slender House majority in 2022 (spoiler alert: it will), lose the Senate, then in 2024, the White House, and invite majority Republicans to follow 2020/2021 House precedents to impeach in- and out-of-office Democrats.
Doubt it, Rs and Ds? Then y’all just keep on keepin’ on, hear…?