For many on the left, the Trump impeachment has been as much and as passionate the dream of three years as was the Zionist Dream of 2,000 Years (“Hatikvah”) for Jews to return as a free people back to the Biblical land from which the Romans had banished Jewish life. The Washington Post dreamed of impeachment immediately — from Day One on January 20, 2017. Rep. Al Green never stopped pushing for it. The attorney representing the so-called “whistleblower,” who in reality has blown no whistle on anything, pronounced the start of the “coup” right away.
The problem for the Democrats now is that there is a time and place for everything, even ridiculous things, and they have been so focused on impeachment for so long that they do not realize that, at least for now, their impeachment time has passed even if Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff feel they finally have the president in their “wheelhouse.” One is reminded of Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese WWII sergeant, still holding out for the emperor in 1972, and all the others who still refused to concede Japan’s WWII defeat into the 1980s and beyond.
The Democrats tried so many times to find their impeachment moment. Would it be Stormy Daniels, with Michael Cohen running cash to her? And what else might be on the secret tapes by which the now-disbarred and incarcerated Cohen clandestinely recorded his own clients? Would it be catching the Trumps leveraging the presidency to make private profits for their hotels, resorts, and golf courses? Perhaps Russian collusion. Ah, sweet Russian collusion! Perhaps treason, stemming from a joint news conference that the president held with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Perhaps the president had finagled with his taxes a decade or two before he ever ran for office? Perhaps Rod Rosenstein was seriously considering wearing a concealed wire to record the president secretly, so as to invoke the 25th Amendment? Perhaps a usurping of constitutional powers if the president would run roughshod over a Supreme Court ruling?
Or perhaps his cholesterol is too high, and his statin prescription is too low? Could he be impeached for firing Jim Mattis or Rex Tillerson? Or for tweeting too much? How about for barring Jim Acosta from press briefings? For firing Marie Yovanovitch? For causing a nuclear holocaust with North Korea? For a trade war with China? For using discretionary funds to build a wall? For firing Comey? For naming his son-in-law an adviser and getting him security clearance? For insulting the media and tagging the Corrupt Journalist Corps as propounders of fake news? For refusing to fund welfare and other government handouts for illegal immigrants? For telling California that they will not get any more federal funds unless they stop their insane forestry rules that are much of the root of their worst fires? For refusing to fund sanctuary cities and to respect their G-d-given right to defy the federal government and to contemn the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause? For refusing to fund California homelessness? Indeed, presumably after Ukraine, the next claim will be that his presidency is invalid because, at his swearing-in, someone in the Corrupt Journalist Corps will testify anonymously that the book on which Trump swore his oath of office was not a Bible but The Art of the Deal.
With the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the “Gotcha!” Democrats feel they finally have got him. Thus the latest entry in the Encyclopedia of Impeaching Trump under “LGBTQ+”: Let’s Garble Billionaire Trump’s Quid + Quo.
It may be that the Impeachment Democrats feel they have the president and the Republicans in a no-win situation: Either President Trump gets evicted from the White House or House Republicans will get cornered into voting to protect him, imperiling their seats. And if it goes to the full Senate for trial, it will put GOP Republican senators in close states in perilous political waters, forcing them either to commit presumed political suicide by severing their bonds with their Republican base if they vote to convict the president or to commit presumed political suicide by becoming anathema to Democrats and Never Trumpers in their states if they vote to acquit. Even better, Pelosi and her minions may think, the voting on impeachment will occur close enough to the November 2020 elections to remain fresh in voters’ minds.
That certainly is one way to look at it.
But there is another and truer reality. Republicans in more securely “red” jurisdictions who vote with the president will enhance their support and fundraising. Republican donors are giving more to Trump and to other national and local GOP campaign organs now than ever before in history. Forget the Koch brothers and their Never Trump donations to the Bushes in order to mass-import low-wage illegal immigrants into the United States to increase corporate profits by replacing American union workers and forcing out the lower-income labor class among disadvantaged minorities. They can take their Koch money and can go Kochen afn yam.
When the GOP stuck together as one tightly united group during the Kavanaugh Show Trial, the Republicans then turned a Democrat inquisition into precisely the vehicle that secured the United States Senate for the GOP through this term, even enlarging Republican control. Just ask Claire McCaskill, if you remember what that is. The same exact roadmap for sticking together tightly in the face of impeachment may very well do it for Republicans again. A one-party unilateral Democrat impeachment out of the House would go to the Senate with barely a leg to stand on. And the Senate trial that follows next could spell cataclysmic disaster for the Democrats.
First, it has become clear that a Senate trial would ensue precisely during the heat of the presidential primary season. Democrat senators would be stuck in Washington but still would have to remain absolutely silent about and during the impeachment, as jurors always must be during a trial, precisely at the time they would need to be kissing babies, eating barbecue and cotton candy at state fairs, and lying to voters in presidential primary states. Cory Booker would experience the ultimate Spartacus moment. Kamala Harris might find it time to admit that Silly Season is over, that she ain’t goin’ anywhere anyway, so may as well just smoke some weed in D.C. while listening to a new performer who does not yet exist. Bernie Sanders will do whatever he “damn” feels like because, ever since his heart attack, he really no longer matters except to his presumed high adviser Hyphen Cortez, who imagines that, perhaps as his vice president, she will be assigned to serve as his president of vice. Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet will be stuck in D.C., though few will notice. Joe Biden initially will plan to be a juror at the Senate trial, too, but his advisers eventually will persuade him that he no longer is the senator from Delaware nor a vice president who presides over the Senate. Elizabeth Warren will be stuck between Iroquois and a hard place, because she actually has built momentum while on the warpath. If she is forced to cede the race to Pete Buttigieg while she must sit silently through the Impeachment to Nowhere, she may find herself pounding impatiently on tom-toms while uttering repeatedly, “Hold on a sec. I’m gonna get me, um, a beer.”
It not only will be a disaster for Democrat senators trying to ward off Tom Steyer’s billions, Michael Bloomberg’s billions, and Deval Patrick’s notions that he is the new Obama that Booker and Harris and Biden are not. And with all the senators locked up in the jury box, the one who most should be before a jury and locked up — She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the pantsuited vulture ever-lurking who has been implored by many, many, many people — may feel obliged to cave in to those many, many, many demands and run in the newly opened field.
On the other hand, the Pelosi–Schiff impeachment trap will not particularly endanger Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, or the other relatively few “purple-state” Senate Republicans who are up for reelection in 2020. Yes, they do face challenging reelection races. Yes, impeachment might have posed them a political dilemma if the Impeachment Dream had been implemented a year or two ago — but not when it all is unfolding well into 2020. Any such “purple-state” Republican easily can sidestep the political trap by making a speech at Senate Jury–voting time that fudges where he or she stands and asserts, plainly and forthrightly:
With elections only six [or so] months away, I have much too much faith in the wisdom and intelligence of the voters of [Maine/Colorado/Arizona] to interfere with their solemn right to exercise their own minds and to vote their own verdict on President Trump very soon. My constituents of the great state of [yada yada] always have proven themselves to be far smarter and insightful than the slugs here in Washington, and I refuse to be browbeaten by San Francisco Nancy Pelosi and Los Angeles Adam Schiff into taking away from the voters in my great state the right to decide for themselves.
That will cover them. And they almost surely will have Joe Manchin of West Virginia compelled to give an aspect of bipartisan support to their positions because Manchin never will survive another West Virginia election if he votes to convict.
But fudging on impeachment conviction will not cover Doug Jones in Alabama. His Democrat base will desert him if he does not vote to convict, and he will sign his political death warrant if he votes otherwise. Even if the Democrats miraculously somehow would win a few Senate seats in 2020 now held by Republicans, the great probability that Alabama will be coming home to the GOP assures another two years of Republican control and unobstructed approval of federal judicial appointments. For the Republicans, the timing of the impeachment trial, if impeachment ever passes the House, could not be better.
Moreover, the same timing confluence will imperil dozens of “swing state,” newly elected House Democrats who falsely presented themselves in 2018 as “moderates,” who never would elect Nancy Pelosi as their speaker, who would shun partisan politics and would work cooperatively to reduce drug prices, fix health care, address the pressing issues on our southern border, upgrade our roads, bridges, and the rest of our national infrastructure, and so much more. With November 2020 elections looming in Trump districts, their impeachment votes will haunt them. If they vote for impeachment, that exposure will cap for swing voters two years that they wasted without achieving a thing, failing even to ratify the Mexico-Canada-American (MCA) treaty that has awaited their simple sign-off for a year. If they vote against impeachment, their Democrat voters will abandon them and stay home.
Meanwhile, with the Democrats utterly having failed to knock down Trump’s approval ratings after a month of the Schiff Inquisition, wait until Impeachment 2020 shifts stadiums to the GOP home field in the Senate. The Republicans get to make the rules for a Senate trial, just as Pelosi–Schiff had the votes to fabricate the House party rules. Republicans get to call the witnesses and to lead and close the questioning. No more Schiff on the throne, but instead the war comes to House McConnell and House Graham. If conducted ideally, the thing could run all winter, spring, and summer, perhaps even providing an alternate ending to Game of Thrones. The O. J. Simpson trial began January 24, 1995, and ended with a jury verdict on October 3. That is how long a serious trial can take if milked for ratings. The Pelosi–Schiff impeachment, if it passes the House, will arrive in the Senate around the date of January 24, the O. J. Trial silver anniversary. No reason it should not continue until October 3 if need be. By then, Elizabeth Warren will be swimming in beer and borrowing Kamala’s weed to send smoke signals to caucus states. Joe Biden will be long gone. Bernie, too.
Even if Mitch McConnell opts instead for a quick two-week trial, consider the possibilities. It could be like the last week of America’s Got Talent! (AGT), when they have the best finalists every night all week. They could even do like AGT and Dancing with the Stars and let the folks at home vote. And just think of that fortnight of superstars who could return to the spotlight that awaits them and a national audience that yearns to hear and see them sweat:
Nothing in politics ever works out quite as anticipated. But a cataclysmic disaster, a veritable Schiff Storm, is looming for the Democrats in November 2020. They have walked right into it without ever seeing it coming squarely at them.