I’ve been in the weeds of the impeachment hearings the last two weeks. It’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture.
The post title poses a rhetorical question: where do we go from here? It beats the hell outta me. Anyone who makes confident assertions or predictions is running a fool’s errand, which could be called pulling a Sondland.
As of today, the House will impeach on a party-line vote. There are some key witnesses we’d all like to hear from: Pompeo, Bolton, and Mulvaney to name a few. Slugging this out in the courts looks like a Sondland aka fool’s errand. There is a possible alternative: witnesses can be called in the Senate and it would be up to Chief Justice Roberts. Josh Marshall has more about this at TPM.
As of today, the Senate will NOT vote to remove BUT the situation is more fluid than people believe. I think there are multiple Republican Senators willing to vote FOR at least one article of impeachment. But they’ll only do it if there are enough of them: five or more. Willard Mittbot Romney is the one to watch: he’s bulletproof in Utah and not on the ballot until 2024.
The reasons for any GOP removal votes will not be elevated ones. They won’t do it out of patriotism but out of self-preservation. In short, they’ll pull a Sondland if it looks like the GOP will be slaughtered at the ballot box in 2020. I suspect the Mittbot would like to be the Brigham Young of his party if electoral disaster looms.
A quick reminder that Republicans are 24% of registered voters. They cannot win without conservative leaning independents; many of whom are sick of Trump’s antics. Repeat after me: There’s gold in them thar suburbs.
The Turtle wants to preserve his majority as well as his own seat. Right now there are three GOP seats in serious jeopardy: Maine, Arizona, and Colorado. Georgia looks promising: when there are two Senate seats up in the same election, one party tends to win both. Doug Jones in Alabama is the most vulnerable Democrat by far but the prospect of a GOP donnybrook gives him a chance to hang on. Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions, and Donald Trump may give him a path to victory.
One overlooked possibility is Senate GOPers pressuring Trump to make up some cockamamie story and resign. It would have to be coupled with a threat of removal votes but it would serve their interests to get Trump to quit. Some say this is impossible: I disagree. Trump changes his mind on a daily basis about purt near everything.
I am opposed to impeaching Pence alongside Trump. He may deserve it but we should want someone tied to the Trump scandals to be the Republican nominee in 2020. Acting president Pelosi would only fuel GOP “coup” talk. It’s why Carl Albert wanted Jerry Ford confirmed quickly in 1974.
I have no idea which, if any, of these theories will play out in real life. One thing I know for sure is that the Insult Comedian’s fatal inability to STFU will continue to make things worse. Thanks, Donald
The last word goes to The Band: