Today the House will be asked to vote on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. After months of anxiety, an important moment will arrive. I predict the president will be impeached by the Democratic members of the House, with the Republicans holding a fat bundle of “no” votes that will make the thing seem like a simple partisan slap on the cheek of one of the biggest partisans of them all. As it has been since the very beginning, it will be Democrats against Republicans, which is why the outcome is so obvious long before a vote is taken. It is inherently unsatisfying, genuinely unfair if you are a Trump supporter, and most of all, almost pointless except for the ammunition it leaves spread across the battlefield of this Presidential campaign. If the Democrats falter and fail next year, it won’t be because they ran out of ammunition. It’s all over the place. It will be because the person who gets the Democratic nomination won’t be an accurate shooter. Won’t be able to hold his breath before squeezing, and all the the other shooting range metaphors you can think of that will fit into a screed on the election.
There is a a school of political thought that argues that this whole process has done nothing more than hand the election to Trump because his “base” will be so excited it will show up like crows around cow flop and send the man back to Washington. I’m not sure of that. His election was a fluke in the first place, won by hands full of votes in a couple of key states. Lots of people stayed home. Hillary was a terrible candidate, and so on. All too true.
No one really knew him well enough as a candidate to hate him, but dislike for President Trump grows on people. He never shuts up and most of what he has to say makes him look like a thoughtless asshole obsessed with his own public image. But not obsessed enough to behave himself. So if the process of a true presidential campaign is getting to know someone well enough to have feelings for him, there’s a good chance that the feelings they have about Trump will be bad ones, but bad ones with good reason. How can we tell? Look at the impeachment hearings, what has been revealed, and how Trump has received all this bad news. He has not been very presidential, as his long, rambling letter to Nancy Pelosi shows us at many points. He is covered over with weaknesses through which ooze hatreds and paranoid rantings that define the man’s real character.
There is no way in hell a complacent, rationalizing Senate crammed full of Republicans will convict this man and toss him from office. Don’t look for that. It’s unrealistic. He has a whole platoon of cowards behind him, eager to dismiss every complaint, justify every misbehavior and point to “a strong economy” as a good reason to avoid impeachment. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell will zip that trial along at the speed of light and make certain nothing sticks to this president.
So, don’t go looking for honesty in Congress. Blind haters and blind fools all around, I would suggest.
But there is a jury that can make a more important decision, and that will be on election day. The Democrats must advance a strong candidate with an aggressive campaign, someone who can march across that battlefield and pick up the abundant evidence that has been deposited everywhere, build a case and make it stick.
They can do that if they have the common sense to do it properly.
It’s not going to be about money. It’s not going to be about ideology. It’s going to be about a true and undeniable decision to put a good person in Trump’s place.
That’s the kind of decision an electorate, now quite well informed by an impeachment case, can make on a much more important day, an election day.