Let’s take a look at the political climate today.
A new Fox News poll released yesterday had 51 percent of registered voters saying that President Donald Trump should be both impeached and removed from office. A Politico article suggests that, as of the beginning of last month, Democrats had the votes to begin an impeachment inquiry. The president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is appearing on Laura Ingraham’s show almost every night, presumably because he is trying to make sure he seems like the most unhinged person on Fox News every day of the goddamned week. And, as I’m writing this, two associates of Giuliani have just been arrested on campaign finance charges.
It has not been a good few weeks for the Trump White House. Though, to be fair, it’s unsure if they’ve ever been able to string a few good weeks together.
However, if you are a fan of this President and his administration, fear not. Things may look bleak and things may look rough, but Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere. He’s going to stay right where he is until the next election, of which his odds of winning are, AT WORST, 50-50.
And, if President Trump can somehow get re-elected next year, he will have one man to thank: Mitch McConnell.
Before we continue, I think we need to talk a little bit about impeachment. Specifically, we need to go through the process because I’m seeing and hearing a lot of people who clearly don’t have any fucking clue of what they’re talking about.
Let’s start off with what a President can be impeached for. The phrase which is most often heard in the discussion of presidential impeachment is “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and I don’t think anyone is clear over what that means. Sure, high crimes sound kinda fucked up, but misdemeanors? Could we impeach a president for jaywalking? Or littering?
Actually…it seems like we kind of could.
When you look at the other impeachment articles brought against past presidents, there are certainly illegal acts. But then, there’s also a lot of stuff that’s just sort of fucked up.
Look at Andrew Johnson. There were 11 impeachment articles for President Johnson, and the last one talked about three public speeches where his intent was to “attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States.”
Sound like anyone we know?
Anywho, impeachment has three steps. First, there’s an investigation. Usually, that starts with the House Judiciary Committee, but it doesn’t always have to. Nixon’s impeachment began in the Senate, and Clinton’s impeachment began with independent counselor Kenneth Starr.
Once the investigation has finished, it’s sent to the House of Representatives for a vote. All it takes is a majority of Representatives to approve the articles, and BAM! You’ve successfully impeached a president.
But we’re not done yet.
As we learned from Bill Clinton, a president can be impeached and still be president. Once the impeachment passes the House, everything moves to the Senate where we have a trial. The chief justice of the Supreme Court (in this case, John Roberts) serves as the presiding official and, after the trial, it would take a supermajority (2/3rds) of senators to remove a president from office.
And this is where Mitch McConnell comes in.
I feel like it’s also important to point this out: nothing is going to happen anytime soon.
Right now, we’re still in the inquiry phase of all of this. We haven’t really even gotten to the investigation. If this was an episode of Law & Order, the Senate trial would be where Sam Waterston helps determine what the punishment should be, the House vote would be Jill Hennessy in court, and the investigation would be all about Jerry Orbach. Where are we now? We just started watching Law & Order. Orbach really hasn’t shown up yet. We just kind of found the body.
What I’m trying to say is that nothing is going to happen anytime soon. You’re going to hear a lot of the news stations go crazy, and that’s because… well, it’s their job. They have to make it seem like everything happening is the most important thing that is happening right now. Remember how crazy people went during the Mueller trial? It’s going to be worse than that.
So, strap in. It’s gonna be a long one.
In the end, none of this is really going to matter a hill of beans.
I’m not saying that House Democrats shouldn’t be moving forward with the impeachment inquiry. They absolutely should. But there’s no way that this gets a supermajority in the Senate. Even if Rudy Giuliani confesses. Even if the President tweets that he did everything people suspect. It just will not happen.
Trump being removed from office would have extreme ramifications for the 2020 election. If Trump got impeached, none of the other GOP members who would be viable options (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ronald Reagan’s ghost, etc.) would have nowhere near the time they would need to fundraise to run an acceptable campaign, which means that it would all fall on the shoulders of Mike Pence, who might not even want to run himself because of the proximity he has to President Trump. This means any Democrat could win the election. Andrew Yang would beat a non-Trump Republican. Hell, Al Gore would probably take 47 states.
But it’s not just the presidency that would go blue. A removal from office would keep Republican voters home, and it would show up everywhere. Senate and House races. Local races. I doubt a GOP coroner would have an easy run, even if he ran unopposed.
And Mitch McConnell knows that.
Because he know this, even if McConnell hates Trump, he has an obligation to hold this ship together, even if all he has is duct tape and a prayer. That’s why, the closer this gets to the Senate, you’re going to see Mitch and his old, shitty bag of bones in front of every camera talking about how he has to do the right thing and stand by his man. Regardless of the evidence or facts or public opinion.
Mitch McConnell will try and save the Republican party… even at the expense of his soul.