You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older, and deeper in debt
With the length and stridency of the closing statements of Schiff and Nunes today, it seems likely that these were the final two witnesses we will be seeing. And while Eric Swalwell just said on MSNBC that while the live testimony hearings are over, the investigation will continue. So, what’s next
What happens next appears t be pretty clear cut, but what happens after that is much more interesting, and much more unclear. After the holidays, the committees will wind up their investigations, and submit their final reports to the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will read the reports, consider, and if necessary draft, articles of impeachment, ad then vote to pass them from committee to the floor for consideration and a vote. Assuming they pass, the House will debate the articles of impeachment and then vote to pass them on to the Senate. Reporting is saying the House would like to be done with this by the holidays.
If the House passes articles of impeachment up to the Senate, then Senate Majority Leader Ditch McConnell will hold a trial in the Senate. There have been rumblings and fears expressed among Democrats that Yertl McTurtle will dispatch with it quickly, holding a sham trial. As much as I hate to admit it, I think that Moscow Mitch is smarter than that. He doesn’t have to “rig” the trial, simply because he’s already rigged the result. He can hold a clean trial, leaving himself blameless for the result of a corrupt jury.
My biggest intrigue with the trial in the Senate is the ultimate final total. These hearings have proven popular, at least as far as viewership is concerned. The Democrats have hammered the GOP with facts, while the GOP’s response has been largely half baked conspiracy theories strictly for consumption by the base. McConnell may be left with the situation that as long as the Democrats don’t get 67 votes, he may have to allow some defections.
Corey Gardner in Colorado already looks like a dead man walking, and the primaries haven’t even been held yet. Martha McSally complained in 2018 that Trump’s healthcare stance was killing her in her district, and in fact she lost her actual election in 2018. Mark Kelly looks to be at least as formidable as Kyrsten Sinema was. And Susan Collins in Maine is already on the Democrats “prime list” for 2020, and already struggling with her Brett Kavanaugh vote. And that’s before serious polling on public opinion for impeachment comes out after the hearings have wrapped up.
Obviously McConnell would love to hold the desertion rate to 2, allowing for a majority acquittal of Trump. At 3 defections, he still has a tie that allows Pence to cast the tie breaking vote. But how far does McConnell go if not only his position as majority leader is threatened, but he could be faced with a mutiny backlash for his continued tour as minority leader if the Democrats win the White House and Senate? At this point, I think we can safely conclude that Trump will be impeached in the House, but cleared by the Senate. But that Senate vote could change everything for 2020.
One of the big reasons that Pelosi was so hesitant to drop the hammer on impeachment was her desire to protect her new “swing voters” majority, as well as not wanting to give Trump the electoral boost of being able to claim complete exoneration and fire up his base. But to my eye, that calculation has fundamentally changed, and because of the way that the impeachment has proceeded.
The Democrats in the House want to have this wrapped up in their chamber by years end at the latest. If that happens, these candidates are going to have 11 months of new Trump outrages to blunt any memory as well as their ability to tout new bills passed out of the House in the new year. Also, the Democrats in the House presented a veritable mountain of evidence against Trump, and the hearings had very high viewership. Depending on the feedback in their town halls, some of these Democrats may actually be able to run on their impeachment vote, especially suburban districts that seem to be leaning even further away from Trump.
The other stick in the mud was the certainty that His Lowness was going to use his acquittal in the Senate as exoneration, and rev up his base. He’d do that regardless, but again, the public hearings are going to take their toll, I believe. Trump’s base wasn’t enough to win the popular vote in 2016, and it sure as shit won’t be in 2020. And while Trump can play his tin flute for his base, everybody else knows what really happened, how strong the evidence was, and how fixed the result in the Senate was. Which allows Democrats, including their presidential candidate to counter Trump by reminding the voters that in over 200 years, with 45 different presidents, Trump is only the 4th in history to undergo impeachment proceedings, and only the 3rd to require a trial in the Senate. Trump’s base is with him no matter what, but the mere reality of the entire impeachment proceedings can be used to tar Trump.
One more thing I want to point out. As I wrote in an earlier article, despite Trump showing up the day before the governors election in both Kentucky and Louisiana, not only did Trump not drag his candidates over the finish line, those candidates under performed both Trump’s vote tally in 2016, as well as some 2018 results in traditional Trump strongholds. And there was absolutely nothing in those open hearings that is likely to jazz up those traditional GOP rural voters who spear to be beginning to possibly suffer from “Trump fatigue,” especially when you consider the fact that Trump is only going to continue to spiral farther down into madness to keep his Trombies excited.
So while the next steps of this process may flow as smoothly as a well choreographed waltz, it is going to be what happens once the music stops that is going to be the most interesting. And unlike the McConnell Senate, the jury is still out on this one.
To know the future, look to the past. before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen