I’m writing this Friday morning for Sunday publication and portraying it as the biggest political story of the preceding week. Some may say that is bold and downright dangerous considering the velocity of news in recent days. I think there is plenty of material for an article and also more than a sufficient amount of evidence to justify the impeachment of Donald Trump by the House and his subsequent removal from office by the Senate. Let’s explore.
I want to start with a reader’s comment from my good friend Jeff McKnight. In part Jeff wrote:
I agree that public opinion will (and has already begun to) shift. Those who do not vote to impeach/convict will have to buck that shift in order to get re-elected. Here’s a question for you. A friend and I were talking about this last night, and she thinks that Trump is so arrogant and megalomaniacal that even if he is impeached and convicted, he may run again for President…as an independent if necessary (he’s hardly a Republican anyway). The question is this: Do you know whether one who is impeached and convicted is prohibited by law from running again ?
That presents an interesting scenario, and one that is not all that farfetched considering what we have experienced over the past few years. To begin at the end: As far as I can tell there is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent a removed former president from seeking and gaining reelection to the office. I’m assuming the Founders felt the Electoral College would never elect such a man. Today the electors are much more beholden to their state’s popular vote.
As to Trump running as an independent, I just don’t see it happening. Trump doesn’t do anything on his own dime and without incumbency and the GOP behind him I don’t see the dollars coming in. Nobody likes Trump; they just find him useful and convenient.
What seems more likely in your scenario is that the Republican Party would nominate him anyway because they would feel he represented their best chance of retaining (I’m assuming Pence doesn’t go down with Trump) the White House. (I totally agree with you that he is a nominal Republican, or at least what a Republican used to be.) While a minority, Trump has a sizeable base. Remember Nixon had about a 25% approval rating on the day he left office and that was before Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing mythology machine. I’m thinking Trump’s current base is about 30% of the electorate that would show up to vote if he is on the ballot.
Jeff, I owe you an apology along with thanks for the comment; I should have called you, it would have made for a great conversation!
Now turning to what I trust will be the big story of last week: the beginning of impeachment inquiries. (If there is a bigger one between now and publication I’m not sure America can withstand it.) On Ukrainegate alone the case is pretty clear cut that Trump put his interests ahead of democracy’s and America’s. He (or people around him) then realized what he did and deliberately tried to hide the facts. His enablers (i.e. Barr, Mulvaney, Maguire etc.) tried to kill the whistleblowers complaint. That only makes me wonder with what we know how much we don’t know. Were there other instances like this one? Were they hidden and/or squelched?
I have no doubt that Trump is guilty of many other offenses but they don’t seem to be sticking with the public like this one is. Perhaps it is because this one is so clear cut and easy to understand. Trump’s release of the “transcript” of the call looks more like Exhibit A for the prosecution than defense evidence. Now consider that this “transcript” is the edited to favor Trump Reader’s Digest version and not a verbatim transcript of the call. This reminds me Bill Barr’s description of the Reader’s Digest version of the Mueller Report (we never have seen the real Mueller Report). If it was a book report it would have gotten an “F”.
There are plenty of other pieces of evidence in Ukrainegate alone to convict on and that doesn’t even touch Russiagate or clear violations of the Emoluments Clause. Luckily for Trump and his minions lying to the public or the press (as Cory Lewandowski reminded us) is not illegal. But I want to move on to another and more concerning matter.
Trump lives in a “bubble” that I call the Donald Dome. He seems to believe his own malarkey and thinks everyone else does also. At some point he is going to have to emerge from it and realize that he is in great political jeopardy. When he does, and it may happen soon, he will be at his most dangerous. I’m a city boy and don’t have a lot of experience with critters but this much I know: when a wild animal, say a rat or a raccoon, feel they are cornered the fight or flight reflex no longer has the flight option and out of self-preservation they will attack. With the possible exception of his daughter Ivanka there is no reason to believe Trump cares about anyone else in the world other than himself. What lengths would he go to in an effort to distract from his peril hoping that would save him?
To those true patriots in positions of power I say: don’t be rejoiceful, please be vigilant.
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