According to a report in Politico (re-printed in abbreviated form by Rawstory here), many top Republican operatives have already conceded that the House will go to the Democrats in the mid-terms.
Well, okay, we agree, we hope that the Russians will stay away from altering votes and allow the blue wave to crash over the Republicans, too.
Thing is, the Republicans believe it will ultimately help them politically – and their theory is premised upon extremely shaky ground. They believe that the Democratic majority will push to impeach Trump, and that Trump will be found not guilty in the Senate, retaining his office. More importantly, the Republicans count upon the “moderate” electorate to be angry at the Democrats for being too extreme in pushing for impeachment, similar to what happened to Bill Clinton:
“If they take the House, he wins big,” explained former Trump adviser Barry Bennett, with others hearkening back to the impeachment of ex-President Bill Clinton, who grew more popular after his impeachment in 1998.
“Well-respected thinkers believe that the more extreme the Democrats go, the more middle of the road voters will gravitate to Trump,” suggested a prominent conservative who wished to remain anonymous.
“It’s not crazy,” added a Trump adviser outside of the White House about Trump benefitting from impeachment proceedings. “If you’re looking at the politics of it, it’s not a terrible thing for 2020.”
Boy, is this ever dangerous thinking.
I will agree that if Democrats push for impeachment based upon racist tweets, or self-dealing (such as all the money he is making billing out his properties to the government), both of which might be grounds for impeachment in a classic sense, it will be seen as over reach and I wouldn’t support a Democratic effort at doing so. Furthermore, it is my hope that the Democrats will not do it, knowing it is futile.
However, the flaw in their reasoning is comparing Bill Clinton’s charges, lying in a deposition about his girlfriend and a little sex, though certainly not good, does not rise to or even come close to comparing what the Democrats MIGHT be moving forward with if it comes to impeachment.
If Robert Mueller finds solid contact and conspiracy with the Russians, if he finds the serious obstruction that we can see on TV and on tape, if Mueller finds that Trump has laundered so much money for the Russians that he is a Russian puppet, then that is not a proceeding equivalent to an affair with an intern and lying under oath. An impeachment proceeding based upon proven loyalty to a foreign power would not be seen as “extreme” by moderate voters, it might well seem “responsible” and end up hurting Republicans attempting to defend such actions (such as Lindsey Graham, as we’ve written in these pages.)
If Robert Mueller finds those links, finds evidence of those crimes, the conspiracy with Russia and the actions taken on Russia’s behalf while president, as we saw just yesterday, when we learned that Trump added a signing statement to the Defense bill, rejecting a portion stating that no defense money can be used in any action that recognizes Russia’s illegal claim to Crimea – his signing statement rejected that limitation as an infringement upon his duties in foreign policy.
Though the president does largely control foreign policy, Congress certainly controls the money and can put contingencies upon it. f Mueller finds that the crimes and blackmail pressure from Russia forced American policy, if Trump knew the Russians meddled in the election and did nothing, and that is proven? It is not extreme to relieve him of his duties, in fact it is irresponsible to not do so.
Presuming (and it is only a presumption because we cannot know until the report is released) that very serious conflicts with Russia are found, the Republicans’ premise is extremely dangerous and could bite them hard. It could easily be a shock, wake-up call to the American electorate, where a majority are demanding he be gone. Indeed, Republican Senators defending the president who is tied into Russia and doing Russia’s bidding run the risk of infuriating moderate voters in their states.
One thing that is true – Trump’s hard core base, that 35% that he never drops below – they will forgive anything. They will be just fine with it. We see t-shirts about “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat” … but that is just the hard core Trump base, nowhere near a majority. They will be largely irrelevant, doing nothing more than holding their Republican senators firm in the reddest of red states.
Politico reports this as the latest in Republican planning and theory. That Democrats will overreach between 2018 and 2020, making Trump more popular, and set-up for reelection. IF Robert Mueller has the evidence, and Republicans seem to not care, down-play it, they are playing one hell of a risky game, because in that scenario, I could see 60% to 66% of the electorate furious at a party not wanting to “do anything” about it.
Republicans are counting upon being able to discredit Mueller’s investigation, or cut if off altogether. Each time that Mueller has released his actual work, we’ve seen evidence that truly can’t be denied, and we can expect the same when it comes to the Americans. Republicans attempting to discredit the obvious may well be seen for what they are; fully party over country, Russian apologists, beholden to Russian money funneled through the NRA and the hacked RNC server.
Good luck with that plan, Republicans. Lying about your fling isn’t the same as conspiring with the world’s most ruthless dictator and richest man on Earth, to win the American presidency.