Donald Trump will be impeached within the next eighteen months.
Possibly by the end of this year.
It is by now indelibly clear that he has engaged in a broad pattern of abuse and illegality, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and has brought upon himself and this nation a Constitutional crisis that can only be resolved by removing him from office and prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.
The list of these crimes, this abuse, this flagrant disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution has been well documented elsewhere and there is no particular need to rehash it here. The recent firing of FBI Head James Comey is a tipping point, however.
Every independent agent investigating Trump has now been fired by Trump.
We have reached our Watergate moment.
Of course, you may argue that this assumes that the Republican-led Congress actually gives a rat’s ass about the law, the Constitution, or anything other than their grip on absolute power.
And you would be correct to note that there is precious little evidence of this.
Again, there is no particular need to rehash what has been well documented here and elsewhere. It gets tiresome, to be honest.
Oh, there are a few Republicans who understand that there is a time to put patriotism above partisanship, and three cheers for them, I say. They may well be instrumental in bringing about what really needs to happen, just as they were for Nixon. People forget that Nixon only resigned when it became clear that he had lost the support of his own party – that his crimes were so blatant, so beyond the pale, that even partisanship wouldn’t save him.
Do we have enough Republicans who care about this country more than they care about their party?
Maybe. I’m not going to argue the point.
My point is that we don’t need to rely on them. Even pure unadulterated power-hungry partisanship will make the GOP get rid of Trump.
Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to Democrats. He is a one-man sideshow, a festival of stupidity, criminality, subversion, and moral failure, incapable of reform, education, or productive labor. His first 100 days in office were among the least effective of any president in American history, up to and including William Henry Harrison, and this is especially notable in light of the fact that his party controls both houses of Congress. He’s managed to piss off the Navy, the FBI, and the CIA, as well as almost every other federal agency under his control. His public approval ratings are historically bad, which tells you that even many Republicans don’t like him. His unpredictability is borderline psychotic and undermines everything that the GOP would like to do. His ability to energize progressive voters and candidates is unparalleled, as several unfathomably close mid-cycle elections in what had been safe GOP areas have already shown. He is the focal point of rage for the thinking American, and it is that rage that is translating thinking into doing.
He is, in other words, an obstacle to everything the GOP wants to achieve. The Faustian bargain that the GOP made with Trump is that they would tolerate – even celebrate – his venality, criminality, and subversion as long as they got to impose their will on the majority of Americans who actively reject it. And this bargain is now in question.
As of right now, Trump’s presidency and the divisions within the GOP that he encourages and abets are so damning that the GOP is in serious danger of losing the House of Representatives in 2018.
That fact is shocking. The House is so effectively gerrymandered that the GOP has controlled it despite losing the overall popular vote for Representatives more often than not of late, and with their control over state legislatures this gerrymandering is not likely to change. The fact that the House is even in play at all is a testament to the colossal moral and political failure of the modern GOP.
The GOP knows this.
They also know that if Trump goes, it is entirely likely that Pence will go with him. Pence has already implicated himself in a number of the scandals of this administration – notably the Russian collusion to subvert the 2016 election – and his position is only slightly less precarious than Trump’s.
Third in line is the Speaker of the House.
At the moment, that’s Paul Ryan, the wunderkind of the Ayn Rand right wing and as pliable an extremist water-carrier as you could hope for. This is the guy who shepherded the moral abomination of Republicare through the House of Representatives, after all. The GOP could live happily under President Ryan.
But if they lose the House, two things happen.
First, their ability to quash probes, investigations, and ultimately impeachment itself is lost with it. They know very well that a Democratic House would bring the charges that the GOP House has so far been unwilling even to investigate as a threat to their own power. They also know that if there is enough of a progressive wave to win the House it will likely turn the Senate as well, which means that when you add in what Republicans are willing to be patriots instead of partisans conviction on those impeachment charges becomes all but certain.
And second, once Trump and Pence go in that scenario, the new Speaker of the House will be a Democrat.
Under the Constitution, that incoming President would still be eligible for two full terms, which means that he or she could be president for a full decade. Given that the only thing that got Jimmy Carter elected in 1976 was the disgust and rejection that voters felt for the party of Nixon, it is entirely likely that the former Speaker of the House would get at least one full term as president, and if the GOP continues to tear itself apart (as any attempt to get rid of Trump likely will, given the vast gulf between the GOP elite and its Trump-voting base) possibly both terms.
The partisanship of the GOP won’t have that.
They’ll get rid of Trump while they can still replace him with someone of their own party, and they’ll spin it as patriotism, rule of law, and respect for the Constitution. And for all I know some of them will be sincere.
But Trump’s time is limited either way.
He will be gone. For the survival of the American republic, he needs to be gone. Even if it’s just partisanship, he has to be gone.
Interesting times indeed.