by Shelton Bumgarner
The House Democratic leadership is an embarrassment. They are so busy thinking about saving their majority that they are failing the needs of the country. Of course the Senate will acquit Trump if the House impeaches him, but so what. It sure would be nice to see Trump’s many crimes articulated on the floor of the Senate by year’s end.
But, of course, this is not going to happen. By the time we get anywhere near impeaching Trump, it’ll be 2020. The 2020 political cycle will be in full force and that, as they say, will be that. Even though there is precedent for impeaching a president during an election year — see also Andrew Johnson — it’s not really all that realistic in the modern age.
Having said all that, there are two scenarios whereby Trump could still manage to be impeached.
The first possibility — and by far the least likely — is despite the best efforts of Democratic House leaders, events kind of get out of their control in the next few weeks. This could happen any number of different ways. I have long thought that the sheer magnitude of Trump’s crimes against the Constitution would make it extremely difficult for the House not to impeach him. There could come a point when the crimes are so extreme that the House impeaches Trump despite itself in a pretty spectacular fashion.
This could happen because of explosive testimony. This could happen because Trump’s mental state finally reaches a point where even the most jaded observer begins to worry.
If nothing like that happens, however, Trump’s safe. He’ll coast through the 2020 election cycle. And no matter what happens, he will win the general election in some fashion because, well, he’s a populist autocrat and they never, never, NEVER lose. It doesn’t matter how he wins, he will win.
Now, once Trump wins — however he does it — there will be a long lull while we process what has just happened. Trump will consolidate power in a broad, deep fashion. He’ll act like King Lear as Don Jr. and Ivanka fight for the inheritance. He’s likely to name them both to very important roles in the administration so they both have equal footing. There’s still a good chance he will name Ivanka his veep in 2020.
But if there’s one concrete rule about Trump, is he’s criminally incompetent in the role of president. So while in effect winning re-election will pardon him for everything he’s done up til then, he’s bound to screw up in some major, existential fashion during the early part of his second term. He’ll screw up so bad that there will again be talk of impeaching him. (Note, of course, that if Republicans regain the House in 2020 that there will be little difference between the United States and Russia at that point.)
And remember, Nixon won a huge landslide in 1972. Historic. Epic. And he was still out of office by August 1974.
A different political calculus will exist in a second term as well. Trump will have topped off the Federal bench with young MAGA hacks more interested in owning the libs than doing their jobs. And it sure would be nice for Republicans to have an incumbent in place who could run in 2024 and 2028. As such, the case could be made that Trump might name Ivanka (or Don Jr. ) his veep during the 2020 campaign. What Trump might initially do simply because he’s trying to name a family successor for 2024 might actually lead to the likelihood of him being convicted in the Senate at some point during his second term.
While I wish the whole Thousand Year Trump idea was bullshit, sadly, it’s not. America is no longer a democracy. House Trump is an avatar for the existential failings of our republic. They are probably rule the country for at least 20 years until the youngest of the Baby Boomers die off and the browning of America beings to kick in.
If the United States hasn’t had a civil war with WMD involved by that point, we’ll be a mixture of Apartheid South Africa and modern day Venezuela. We’ll be a failed state with a-bombs.
There is no hope. It’s over. The end.