I'm not big on making predictions. There are so many things that can happen that can influence the future one way or another. But there is one thing I think I can safely say about America's future. "Buckle up your seat belts, it's going to be a bump ride!". Yes, I think it safe to say that the next two years under the esteemed leadership of one Donald John Trump are going to be full of turmoil and chaos. I know, I know. It doesn't take much of a prognosticator to make a prediction like that. But the next two years of the Trump Administration are going to pose some very serious questions for our body politic.
Ironically enough, the first group that will encounter a serious dilemma in 2019 and beyond are the Democrats. Having taken control of the House of Representatives, it will be the Democrats who will have to wrestle with the impeachment issue. They will be faced with the question: "Do we or don't we impeach?". Now ostensibly this is an easy question. There certainly is no love lost between virtually every Democrat and Donald Trump. I would venture a guess that there would be more than a few shouts of joys expended on the floor of the House on the day that articles of impeachment are voted out of the House and sent along to the Senate. But let's face facts. Politicians of either party are hardly known for their intestinal fortitude. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Democrats in the House thought long and hard about the prospect of actually removing Donald Trump from the White House. After all, when you get right down to it, nothing much will change. All the Democrats would be doing is replacing one conservative Republican President for another and you can say a lot of things about Mike Pence, but one thing you have to admit, the man is steady as a rock and entirely predictable. The only difference would be that in President Pence the Republicans would then have a sane man in the White House.
Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats would have to seriously consider what the odds would be of the Senate's actually convicting President Trump and actually removing him from office. In 2019 the Republicans will control 53 seats in the Senate, more than enough to insure that President Trump would be acquitted of any charge of an impeachable offense. It is possible that the articles of impeachment sent to the Senate by the House of Representatives would contain enough evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors to convince fourteen Republican senators that Donald Trump must go. But somehow I doubt it. So if an impeachment trial in the Senate would be a foregone conclusion, why put the country through such an ordeal?
Once the question of impeachment landed in the Senate, the ball would be in the Republicans' court. Let's assume that the Democrats uncover the smoking gun that would seal Donald Trump's fate, especially in the court of public opinion. Would Senate Republicans view such charges as objective fact or would they take the charges against the President as mere political posturing? Would they see the entire exercise as a ploy to somehow undo the results of the last election? Or would they take the evidence presented to them, weigh the facts seriously and impartially and decide that it is in the country's best interests to make Mike Pence the 46th President of the United States?
Perhaps the most troubling question would be how the American people would react to an impeachment trial. This would be especially true of the millions of devoted followers of our esteemed President. How would they react to the prospect of their hero being rudely escorted out of the White House against his will? Would they just shrug their shoulders, assuming that the President got a fair trial and was rightly and duly removed from office? I, for one, sincerely doubt it. Somehow I think the reaction of the Trump devotees would be a lot hotter and a good deal more violent than the reaction of Richard Nixon fans to his resignation as a result of the Watergate Scandal. Might it even be possible that there would be rioting in the streets and a small scale civil war? In the heated political atmosphere in which we find ourselves, almost anything is possible. And this being the case, would the Congress as a whole dismiss even the possibility of an impeachment trial to avoid even the possibility of such trouble and strife?
No matter how you look at it we are in for a period of turbulence and turmoil. The continued investigation into President Trump's conduct both during the campaign and while he has been in the White House is bound to uncover facts, inconvenient facts that will try our ability to govern ourselves. Conclusions will be drawn and actions demanded one way or another. Will we be able to face up to the challenges that such conclusions will demand of us? Will we be able to deal with the existential questions that will arise as we find more and more evidence of Presidential wrong-doing? The days and weeks ahead will test our capacity for objectivity. Can we set aside petty political differences in order to objectively judge this President's conduct? The answer to that question will tell a lot about ourselves as a country.
Filed under: Politics