Thursday, January 23, 2020

Not Now, Then

The title of the autobiography of George Allen, the 1970s era coach of the Washington Redskins, was "The Future Is Now" because he believed in winning that season, the future be damned. The following decade,  anti-incumbent activists of the left and the right (at varying times) began warning "we'll remember in November."

Both are at play in the impeachment saga.

Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the US Senate, President Donald Trump is unpopular, and therefore conventional wisdom has it that there are three possible outcomes in November.  Trump may be defeated while the Senate turns Democratic with 50 Democratic seats (VP as tie-breaker); Trump is defeated and Republicans, now boasting a fairly strong advantage, remain in the majority in the upper chamber; Trump is re-elected and the Senate remains in GOP hands.

Nonetheless, there is an unconventional take that is becoming realistic, if still a fairly long-shot.  A CNN/SSRS survey released January 22 shows any of the six most likely Democratic presidential nominees defeating the incumbent were the election to be held today. However

The poll included an oversample of those living in 15 battleground states, defined as those where the race between Clinton and Trump in 2016 was decided by 8 points or fewer. In those states, the poll finds consistently tight races regardless of the nominees, with Democrats ranging from 46% to 49% support and Trump from 47% to 50%. In none of the six tested matchups does either candidate hold a significant advantage.

A presidential election, as we learned painfully and to the nation's disadvantage, is determined in the Electoral College- and there the election appears to be a toss-up.

President Trump's acolytes equate him with Jesus Christ. However, it would be more accurate to turn the comparison on its head, in which others pay for the sins of Donald Trump. Never-Trumper Rick Wilson, who is still a proud conservative Republican, is wrong about most things, but he's right about this:

In other words: while most Americans want witnesses in the impeachment trial, the GOP Senate, frightened of retaliation by their party's leader, won't allow it.  After Trump is acquitted, there will be a drip-drip-drip connecting the President to impeachable crimes which threaten the USA. Republican senators running for re-election will be stuck with having to defend their vote for a brazen criminal.

Donald Trump won't necessarily suffer.  He has a low ceiling and high floor; bad news about him or the nation affects him marginally at most. As we move closer to Election Day, his huge authoritarian-style rallies will only get larger and more vigorous. For whatever psycho-social reason, including Donald Russia's nearly incomparable charisma, Trump can get away with what others can't. If GOP senators think that Teflon will rub off on themselves, they're deluding themselves.

He'll notice that GOP senators up for re-election are in big trouble but he'll become increasingly focused on himself. Many Republican elected officials will have to pay the Donald Trump tax, and if it's them but not him, because there can be only one Chosen One, anyway.

The impeachment dance playing out now in Washington is not about guilt or innocence of the President. The fix is in for now. If the President's commission of impeachable offense(s) hadn't already been established, it was once Adam Schiff was finished laying out the case. Pursuing removal of the President pertains to doing the right thing- presenting the facts, putting them on the record, and leaving at least a small impact on the American people and voting public.

As in the title of Rick Wilson's book: Everything Trump Touches, Dies.  Jesus Christ died for the sins of sinners.  There are are Republican senators who will die (politically) for Donald Trump's abundant sins and will have only themselves to blame. The future is now because, by denying witnesses, GOP senators will be able to vote against conviction and thus avoid The Wrath of Trump. However, we will remember in November, and they'll wish we had amnesia.

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