It is very unlikely that President Trump will be removed from office.
Here are some of the key reasons why:
- The Republicans in the House, despite the exposure of massive wrongdoing, voted unanimously against continuing to investigate Trump’s abuses of power.
- Republicans took up the banner of the Barr summary exonerating the President without bothering to read any of the very simply written Mueller Report.
- Even now, the repackaging of a selectively edited release is being referred to as “the transcript”, and the evidence on that document is being ignored.
Simply put, the Republican base is not only ignorant but it is eagerly, willingly so. As the Republican base controls the primaries, voting against them is a certain way to lose a Congressional seat… and the Congresspeople know that.
The only way for Republicans to shake free of their ignorance is to insert reality into their bubble, and they’ve insulated themselves well. Their punditry has sent out the message that “it’s all just political” and they’ve circulated that message among themselves. Armed with this excuse, they are studiously ignoring all revelations about Trump’s continued criminality.
Worse yet, most of them pride themselves on being informed, and on some level they recognize that they’re blinding themselves to available facts. When confronted with them, they grow angry at those who have challenged their worldview and are calling out their ignorance. The anger fuels their rejection of evidence.
Some people are going to shake free of it… but not enough. Even among those who are willing to recognize Trump’s failings, many will default back to their 2016 setting of “at least he’s better than the Democrat”. If pressed on why, they will not be able to provide specifics, but the Democrats have become the giant monster in the closet at this point. Hillary, rather than the incompetent she has always been, a humorless aggressor who failed to get any legislation passed in the Senate and whose State department run was marked by being repeatedly outmaneuvered… a person who didn’t even realize she needed to campaign in swing states… has been remade into a person who would have devastated the country.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats were worried that a Republican Senate would refuse to remove the President, and they have every reason to believe that. The fast pace of the impeachment hearings – expected by many to wrap by the end of the year with a successful impeachment vote based simply on the evidence released so far – is a nod to that political reality. Delaying the impeachment until after the Republicans had made it through their primaries would have freed many Senators to vote to remove Trump, but it would have also set the stage for a sensation of triumph and resurgence among his base if he, as would still be likely, was retained despite his multiple felonies and abuse of power.
The fear was that it would be another “Kavanaugh” event, where the Republicans were buoyed by the successful installation of a Supreme Court Justice, instead of being shocked that the nominee was so deeply flawed that it was a matter of contention in the first place. At the time, the base did not consider that Trump had bypassed his original pledge to nominate only established originalists from a vetted list; instead they convinced themselves (with the aid of punditry) that Kavanaugh was somehow key.
The recent decision to decline the Remington exception, the refusal to consider some abortion cases, and his siding with the “liberals” on the court in a high-profile case or two have dimmed their expectation of him as a savior, but they refuse to consider that Kavanaugh’s failings were well known before the nomination and that the decision marked another intentional strike against traditional “Reaganesque” conservatism by Trump. It’s another indication of how wrapped their are in their cocoon, and another sign they will rally behind Trump at the polls if he, as expected, is cleared to remain by the Senate.
With time and continued errors, that fervor will cool. By keeping the Senate vote from the middle of the general election, the Democrats can minimize the political blowback of energized Republicans while maintaining the added enthusiasm against Trump and the Republicans generated by the impeachment.
Because it is necessary. The President has committed multiple felonies and abused his power, and the American system is on display before the world. At a time when we are retreating from direct influence, the only thing remaining to promote freedom is the example of our system working. It must, then, work… and if it does not work enough to rid ourselves of a criminal, it should at least expose his crimes to the light and cause a massive political injury at the ballot box.
No, I don’t expect Trump to be immediately removed by the Senate. They are too contemptuous of the American people to allow that, and the majority of the Republican base are furiously proving that they want to earn that contempt. But the impeachment is a valuable tool in demonstrating the system to the world, and even though it won’t convince many Republicans, it will affect independents. That should be enough to bury the Republican chances for not just this election but many to come.
There are thus concrete positives to the impeachment process. A strengthened “second chance” vote among Democrats and independents in November, even as the resurgence wave will have died off on the Republican side (replaced by “we already did our job defending this guy, I don’t know if I care about going out again”… the type of response Kavanaugh would likely get today if those same demonstrations were requested). A demonstration to the world about the value of the American system. An opening for a third party to rise, in the wake of great disfavor for Republican corruption and Democrat embrace of their hard left wing. And last, and not least, proof that the Constitution still holds at least a modicum of value, if not in the eyes of Republicans.
There will be many good results from the impeachment process. It might even shift opinion enough to oust Trump; that possibility absolutely exists. Just don’t set that as the standard by which you measure impeachment’s success. It’s already successful, and it’s going to be more so, and that should be enough to mitigate any disgust at still having a President Trump for a remaining year.