I became a news junky around the time that Donald Trump began his campaign for President in 2015 because I felt he was an existential threat to our government and to our society. I didn’t know the half of it! My most catastrophic fantasies of a Trump-led America didn’t hold a candle to the reality we have been living in since his election.
Along with a big chunk of the population, I hung on every word that came out of the Mueller investigation. Mueller was going to be the savior of the Democrats, and other sane, moral people in the country and I shared the deflation and depression of this group when the Mueller Report failed to be the downfall of Trump, as we had hoped.
Trump’s poll numbers went down, but not by much and the slavish devotion of over 80% of Republicans remained intact. After two years of toxic revelations about Trump and his corrupt cronies, in addition to multiple indictments of those in his orbit, nothing seemed to change.
Miraculously, in September 2019, the smoking gun we had dreamed about from Mueller, materialized, out of the blue, thanks to a whistleblower. Trump had asked the President of Ukraine to dig up (or makeup) dirt on Trump’s potential Democratic rival, Joe Biden. The call was documented by transcripts released by the administration. Then Trump admitted it and added to it on national television. What more could you need? But the Republicans harped on the absence of a quid pro quo as the fatal flaw in the argument for impeachment.
In fact, the law is quite clear that no quid pro quo is necessary to violate the law. The mere ‘solicitation’ of ‘something of value’ by a President from a foreign government is enough. On top of that, grounds for impeachment don’t even need to include the commission of an actual crime. The interpretation of the phrase ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ has been clarified over the years to mean whatever the Congress decides it means. And abuse of power, as well as obstruction of justice (evident in the Ukrainian scandal) have been used before by Congresses against sitting presidents.
Never mind, as further evidence against Trump came to light, the quid pro quo appeared, clear as day. So we have the evidence necessary for impeachment, by even the most stringent standards.
Now let’s skip ahead to the end of the impeachment process. What are we wishing for? Realistically, the Democrats in the House will probably vote for impeachment. Victory for the good guys! Or is it? What happens then?
Let’s say the House votes to impeach before the end of 2019. It’s remotely possible but highly unlikely that the Republican Senate, led by Trump loyalist Mitch McConnell, will convict and remove Trump from office. So where are we after Trump has been ‘acquitted’ by the Senate?
We have an unhinged, demented and vindictive President who feels he’s been ‘exonerated’ of all wrong doing. He is emboldened because he has survived the worst his enemies can dish out. And he has close to another year in office before the next election! What will he do in that ten-month period without impeachment hanging over his head? I hate to even think about it.
Moving on, let’s say we get our 2020 wish granted and Trump loses the election in 2020. Will he contest the election? And what happens if he does? In the best-case scenario, any election contest will be defeated. Trump is now a lame-duck president who is still in office until January 20, 2021, over two more months.
What will he do during THIS period of impotence and defeat? Who or what will he strike out against?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go ahead with impeachment or fight as hard as possible to vote Trump out of office in 2020. I’m just suggesting that we honestly try to wrap our heads around what the real-world consequences will be if we get what we wish for.