If you heard Trump batting about how the Republican party has never been more unified, on the White House lawn Sunday morning, this is what that all boils down to: Mitch McConnell is convinced that as long as the economy stays strong and the Republicans present a united front, impeachment will simply be viewed as the vile partisan plot that Trump depicts it as, and the Ukraine scandal will just go by the boards. Now, this may be overly optimistic on McConnell’s part, not to mention cynical as hell, considering how more damning information comes out by the day, not only about Ukraine, but also oozing from the Mueller memos, which have been released. On the other hand, McConnell is a cunning old bastard, who understands politics as a game and a strategy as few others have. In all events, this is the GOP game plan as it stands now and will remain, until when and if an alteration of it is forced. Axios:

Between the lines: Trump officials think two things must unfold for this to happen: Republicans must stay unified, in votes and voice, and the economy must be strong, in jobs and market returns. The trends are strong on both fronts.

  • Every single House Republican voted against a formal impeachment proceeding, a powerful show of unity. In the Senate, there are very few public signs of the Great Red Wall cracking.
  • Importantly, Senate Republicans are discussing how they will defend Trump even if Democrats prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Trump offered Ukraine a quid pro quo to investigate Joe Biden.
  • Sources close to Republican leadership told us they expect many GOP senators to ultimately settle on a talking point that Trump’s actions were “inappropriate but not impeachable.”
  • The economy is humming, too. Markets are rising; growth continues, albeit more slowly; and more jobs are materializing. It’s hard to argue that the Trump economy is anything but consistently strong one year out from the presidential election.

The big picture: “The worst-case scenario” — that the Senate convicts Trump — “only presents itself if there’s a material change in fact pattern,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “If we know what we know right now, there is no problem.”

This is plausible. A strong economy supports an incumbent’s reelection, no question about that. However, there are unmistakable signs of the economy weakening, not the least of which is the inverse yield curve, which is a harbinger of a stock market crash. It happened most recently in late 2018, and traditionally, 18 months after that is when the crash takes place. So, if Trump gets reelected, the economy will go south on his watch, of that there is no question. Since there is so much consumer debt these days, it’s possible that this recession would be worse than 2008. Add to that the trade war with China, and the loss of other foreign markets, which have necessitated massive farm bailouts on Trump’s watch, and we could be looking at one hell of a rodeo ride if Trump gets reelected.

The worse aspect of this vision, though, is what another four years of Trump would do to the standing of the United States in the eyes of the world. Iraq is already “recalibrating” its posture towards the United States and the Middle East, always a tinder box, is more turbulent than it has been in years. Even McConnell and Lindsey Graham rushed in to do damage control after the Syrian debacle. Another four years of the United States not being on board in its traditional role as world leader could forever cripple not only this country but change the power dynamic amongst our allies and our adversaries significantly, possibly permanently. Our alliances with both France and Germany, and certainly Mexico, have been sorely strained the past three years.

Finally, there is the fact that Trump is the most hated president in history at this point. Part of that may be cultural war, yes, but for the most part, he has earned the censure of Americans. He’s earned the boos and one fingered salutes and “fuck you”s yelled from the stands. His entire farce of a presidency has been one long insult to normal standards of decency and discourse. He has reviled his political opponents, indeed anyone who opposes him, in the language and manner of a mobster cum banana republic despot — which is indeed his goal. He’s made it clear from the get go that he intends to muscle his way into an authoritarian niche and he’s broadly hinted that he should stay in power longer, or maybe not leave at all.

I can understand McConnell taking his stand. This is by far the best way for him to play it. And so far, Trump is playing along.

Behind the scenes: McConnell has privately told Trump that Senate Republicans aren’t as susceptible to his pressure as House Republicans are.

  • The Senate leader encouraged Trump to give all Republican senators some room and not single anyone out that he may see as wobbly, per sources familiar with McConnell’s advice to the president. Trump has recently pulled back from attacking Senate Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal.
  • McConnell has advised his colleagues to play offense where they can — for example, his resolution with Lindsey Graham criticizing Democrats’ process. And he’s advised his more skittish, moderate, colleagues to deflect reporters’ questions by saying they’ll be “a juror” in Trump’s Senate trial and therefore can’t comment.

McConnell’s strategy just might work. But while it’s going on, there are stories of this non-functional administration that never get the press or the play that they would in a calmer time. Ben Carson recently missed a deadline allocating $8.9 billion dollars in disaster relief funds to Puerto Rico. Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security lacks a head, and the people Trump wants to nominate for the post are legally ineligible for the job. In any sane world, these stories would be commanding front page banners, but they are relegated way back, as was the story of Hillary being exonerated of any wrongdoing with emails, to page 16 of the New York Times. That’s because all of the emphasis is on Trump’s scandal du jour and the distraction he always creates to distract from it. This is who we are and how we live in Trumpworld, 2019.

I honestly don’t think that we can take another four more years of Donald Trump, but for right now, this is the state of play politically. And admittedly, it was a win in the House the other day for Trump, when not a single Republican representative voted for the impeachment resolution. The Republicans always go along to get along and unless something miraculous happens to force their hands, individually, to where it comes down to a clear case of political survival vs. following Trump, then and only then will you see Republicans take a stance contrary to the one that McConnell is taking now, outlined here. Then they will abandon Trump, but not until then. Unless forced to that point, the Republicans will do anything to stay in power, even if it means destroying the America we know. That is how grim this is. One year from today is election day. Think about it. One Trump administration is a horrific gaffe, democracy spinning out of control and down a strange path. But a Trump reelection will make the statement to the world, “This is who we are. This is what America has become.”







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11 Comments on "The Republican Playbook By Which Trump Survives Impeachment and Wins in 2020"

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p j evans

Well, at this point, they’re the only ones who really believe the economy is strong, so they’re halfway to losing already.


What bliss to have a government not in the news all day and everyday.

p j evans

“The worst-case scenario” — that the Senate convicts Trump — “only presents itself if there’s a material change in fact pattern,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “If we know what we know right now, there is no problem.”

BAHAHAHAHA! The facts are showing he’s been committing all kinds of impeachable acts, and they’re not going to improve or disappear. In fact, they’re likely to make more politicians look bad. (Moscow Mitch and his wife are both doing stuff that benefits them first and others only maybe. Then there’s Billy Barr….)

gettin too old for this sh!t
gettin too old for this sh!t

The facts DO show his impeachable acts. The problem is that the MSM makes nothing of it, if they report it at all. The American public is blissfully unaware of most of it. If they had any idea of half of what he’s doing it would help our cause. The danger is that the Fourth Estate is NOT doing its job worth a crap.


Whatever strategy is used, Trump will blow it…guaranteed. This year has been a fascinating chronicle in his inability to keep from political self-harm and this time will be no different. So, my prediction…he will follow Mitch’s strategy for a week longer, maybe two. Then the stress will push him to make yet another impulsive, rash decision that will land McConnell right back where he started. Sisyphus made more progress with that boulder he kept rolling up the mountain over and over again.

gettin too old for this sh!t
gettin too old for this sh!t

From your keyboard to the FSM’s ears!


It’s more important than ever that we get out the vote. If Drumpf gets re-elected, there will be nothing left to the US. We need to focus on ousting Moscow Mitch, Leningrad Lindsay, and a few dozen of the other deplorable senators and representatives that are enabling this monster. All for 30 pieces of silver…

Nick Sullivan

Playbook, schmaybook. We nominate Sen. Liz Do-Your-Homework-or-No-Dessert and he wins fairly easily.
We can avoid this fate; I fear we won’t.
IMHO, the prevailing mood here in the good ol’ U.S.A. is “MAKE IT STOP!!!”
Not “redesign the entire health care system along the lines of something that Colorado rejected a few years ago by 77-23.”
But hey … that’s just me.