by Shelton Bumgarner
We have to begin this gut wrenching discussion with the obvious — in real terms, if what I fear might happens, happens, it will be one of the biggest political fuck ups on the part of an American party since the end of the Civil War. There simply is no way to weasel your way out of it — if there’s any type of anti-impeachment violence, Republicans — and Trump — are ultimately going to be blamed.
But, let’s move forward.
The issue right now is I just can’t speculate what the anti-impeachment violence will be. It could be anything from harm of some sort befalling the Whistleblower to a car bomb exploding somewhere like Times Square. But let’s go with something simple — the Whistleblower’s identity becomes so well know within the batshit insane MAGA echo chamber that someone decides to hurt him.
And, for the sake of argument, let’s say this happens sooner rather than later so Trump still has his marbles. But maybe it happens late enough that while there isn’t a direct link between Trump’s Twitter ranting and what happens, it’s pretty clear he established the conditions for it to happen. So things are still a bit nebulous.
The first thing would be the entire nation would come to a screeching halt for about 24 hours. For just around 24 hours, the nation would for once be on the same page: HOLY SHIT.
But this wouldn’t last very long. Once we began to process what happened, the two sides would be at each other’s throats again. MAGA Republicans would trade their hysterical rhetoric over the Whistleblower for hysterical rhetoric about how this unprecedented example of political violence is absolute proof that we “have to let the people decide” in 2020 instead continuing with the impeachment process.
In reality, this would be more about simply punting the debate over the criminal incompetence of Trump back into the political sphere and out of the “OH MY GOD, TRUMP GOT SOMEONE MURDERED” sphere. The usual suspects would pop out to message the base or carry water for House Trump. Hugh Hewitt would say Democrats are to blame because they should not have attempted to impeach Trump in the first place. House Republicans would scream at the top of their lungs that Rep. Adam Schiff should be charged as an accessory to murder. The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman would coo that Trump was a political genius for getting someone murdered.
Now, remember, this is just the first 24 hours. The whole issue of a funeral would have to be addressed. Then there would likely be an epic battle over who would speak at the funeral and why. My personal belief is that the populist rage of Twitter would burst into a supernova when the shock wore off and people realized what Trump’s hysterical and bombastic rhetoric had done.
Remember, the reason why Trump is so very, very stupid on a political level is right now the true backbone of his support is simple apathy. The vast majority of the populace is not on Twitter and is too busy raising their kids and paying their mortgage to care, in real terms, what Trump may or may not have done. The moment they a shocked out of their stupor by such un-American political violence, all bets are off.
I mean, the only thing I can think of that would possible force the hand of the living ex presidents would be something like anti-impeachment violence. Say what you will about Bill Clinton’s personal life, but I suspect he would be able to give a barn burner of a eulogy in such a situation.
So, the moment the funeral was over, Trump — who is completely devoid of human empathy — would go back to his old bullshit games. But I think his political fate would be sealed. While MAGA House Republicans would continue to caterwaul, in the end, Trump would be convicted by the Senate.
I still do not think anything like this is going to happen. It’s just so out of the American experience for there to be political violence. And, really, while I do think it’s inevitable that the Whistleblower will be “kavanaughed” by Republicans with great gusto as impeachment proceedings progress, I still am not prepared to accept in real terms that anyone on their side will go beyond that.
We’ll see, I guess.