Those of us who would like to see Donald J. Trump impeached and driven out of the White House will probably be disappointed for some very unusual reasons.
Strangely enough the political climate that is making Trump’s impeachment a popular notion in some quarters makes it unlikely. The controversy swelling around the President might just be his best defense.
Here are the five odd reasons why Mr. Trump will probably serve out his term:
- Trump makes life a lot easier for Congress. With the attention of the media and the eyes of the nation focused on the freak show in the White House, Congress can do almost anything it wants. That means both Democrats and Republicans would have an easier time taking radical or unpopular actions if they want. Leaving Trump in office gets Congress off the hook.
- Trump’s weakness and unpopularity greatly increases the power and influence of Congress and its leaders. Trump’s character issues make U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) the de facto leader of the Republican Party. His unpopularity leaves Trump at the mercy of Congress. Even Congressional Democrats benefit because Trump would have to reach out them and compromise to get anything done.
- Democrats benefit from Trump’s unpopularity. The Democratic base is energized in a way we have not seen in decades. Many Democrats now think that they will be in a position to get control of both houses of Congress in 2018 and recapture the White House in 2020 thanks to Trump. They want him left in office to keep damaging the Republican brand.
- Trump is still very popular with the Republican base, around 84% of GOP and Republican-leaning voters approve of the job Donald is doing, a recent Pew Poll indicates. Many Republicans politicians fear offending the base. The fear is magnified for Republican house members who are elected from gerrymandered districts that are disproportionately Republican. Note: this might change because of a March 1 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared gerrymandering racist. That might force some states to redraw the electoral map and give some GOP representatives a more diverse electorate that is less sympathetic to Trump.
- Similar demands for impeachment did not lead to action against Barack Obama. Back in 2014, 56% of Republicans and 30% of independents wanted Obama’s impeachment according to a Pew Poll. Just 5% of Democrats felt that way. In 2017, support for Trump impeachment was actually slightly lower than it was for Obama impeachment in 2014, Pew found; 58% of Democrats, 27% of independents and 4% of Republicans supported a Trump impeachment. Therefore support for Trump impeachment simply does not exist outside the Democratic Party.
All this means is that there simply is not enough popular support to make a Trump impeachment viable right now. Donald simply is not a big enough political liability for a united effort to get rid of him, right now. My take is that it would take something totally outrageous; such as documented instances of bribery or sexual assault on the part of Donald or tape of him praising Hitler, to trigger an impeachment.
So we’re probably stuck with Donald until 2021 for better or worse. Although I predict that the calls for impeachment will not end and probably heat up and make it impossible for the President to accomplish anything.