The Last Day: Impeachment Endgame

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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74 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The best thing that Trump could possibly ask for is that impeachment looks like a political stunt.

    Now, not necessarily to Morally Good And Upright Principled Democraticly-Inclined People, who have the correct view of Impeachment and how it’s morally required and disgusting that so many people are still willing to speak to their friends who are potential swing voters, but to the aforementioned swing voters.

    The more that the Impeachment looks like a political stunt to people who could go either way, the more that people will judge the Democrats/Republicans not as the deeply important moral issue that it is, but as a political stunt that succeeded for the Republicans, who are Evil, and failed for the Democrats, who are Good.

    And I’m not saying that it’s good that they’re going to do this. Obviously it’s bad.

    But it’s what will happen.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      The best thing that Trump could possibly ask for is that impeachment looks like a political stunt.

      I’ll go a different direction. The best thing he could hope for is that the getables view the impeachment as a Democratic abuse of power, either to undemocratically remove the president or to coverup Biden/Clinton/Obaman corruption.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Sure, but is that interpretation even on the table?

        If it is, the Dems screwed up massively.

        Not morally, of course. But tactically. Like the US in Vietnam.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          Sure it’s on the table. It’s the single biggest object on the table, sitting smack dab in the center. It’s all Trump talks about.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          You guys are fixated on what things ‘look like” to a bunch of people who exist…where?

          Aren’t you really just projecting your own view onto a million imaginary people?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Chip, I put a lot of effort into pointing out what the moral issues are and how they shouldn’t even be questioned.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Discerning a “best case for Trump” isn’t rocket science, Chip. Here, play along with me.

            What does Trump need to win in November?
            – Uhhh, more electoral college votes than his opponent?

            Right. And how does he get those?
            – Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Uhhh, by getting more votes in swing states than his opponent?

            Good! Now, Trump was impeached by the House. Will that factor into people’s decision-making in voting for him in those states?
            -Shucks, I dunno. Probably. Maybe not.

            Right. Let’s assume it does. Not that it might, but that it does. What’s the best way for Trump to frame his impeachment so that people will vote for him despite his being impeached?
            – Lessee here. To convince voters that the charges against him are bogus?

            Good. GOOD! (Here’s a bisquit.) And what’s the best way to do that?
            – I dunno. Maybe make voters think the folks who impeached are lying about the charges because they don’t like him?

            Excellent. And how would he do that?
            – Oh I know! More of what he’s already done!: promulgate a narrative of pervasive Democratic party corruption which so permeates the party they will collectively partake in illegal, unconstitutional, anti-democratic acts to protect and preserve their corrupt hold on power.

            The end.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Romney, right now, arguing for his vote to convict. ???Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Mittler is voting to convict! The Impeachment is officially bipartisan!

    Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    Well, even when this impeachment fiasco was getting started, Utah voters were scratching their heads and saying Mitt has to go. He won’t survive his next primary election, if he even lasts that long. Utah HB 217: Recall of a US Senator, introduced two days ago to update and streamline the procedure for ridding the political landscape of Mitt Romney. He will be missed about as much as SNL alums Joe Piscopo and Andy Kaufman.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

      In all those photos from the 2012 nomination, there will be just a blurry spot next to Rush, Trump, and other GOP bigwigs…Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        That’s in the original photos! I could figure out what Rush and most of the others thought, but Romney was always just a big blur. In the first debate he agreed with all of Obama’s policies, insisting that he’d do all the same things, but better. I was like “Why the heck would I, a Republican, want to vote for more Obama?” So I skipped that election.

        If you want to know what it takes to make hard-core GOP voters sit one out, Romney is your answer. He’s a brown-nosing narcissistic weasel.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

      I doubt that Mormon Utah, which was Luke-warm (at best) on Trump, is gonna turn on the great Mormon Romneybot over this. Bet Romneybot won’t even need a content patch to swat down any primary challenger from the right if there even is one when he’s up for election next.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to North says:

        Might want to rethink that assumption, they already did. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/trump-more-popular-in-utah-than-romney-as-senator-weighs-impeachment

        The Utah Policy survey showed that for the first time since his election, a majority of Utah voters approve of Trump’s job performance, echoing his surge in national surveys.

        According to the poll analysis, “The survey, conducted for UtahPolicy.com and 2 News by Y2 Analytics shows 52% of likely voters approve of President Trump, while 45% disapprove, giving the president a net-positive approval rating of +7.”

        The same outfit in October found Romney’s job approval underwater, at 46%-51%.

        “That is not good,” said the analysis. “Trump does get strong job approval ratings among Mormon and other religious voters in Utah. 59% of ‘very active’ LDS Church members, 64% of somewhat active Mormons approve of how he’s handling his duties in the White House while 52% of inactive Mormons disapprove,” it said.

        That was before Romney actually voted. So lets look at the Utah polls for/against impeachment: the most recent one I found said this: A new (27 Jan) Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows 53% oppose the president losing his job, and 40% do so strongly. The survey showed 39% favor removal from office, while 8% are unsure. Trump won Utah with only 45% percent of the vote.

        So those numbers track closely, Trump has ~52% support in both person and on the matter of impeachment specifically with at least another 8% reachable, whereas Romney was already negative with 46% approval and with the impeachment vote will almost certainly drop that lower still toward the 39% support for impeachment. In short, Romney just ended his own political career and Trump will almost certainly break even or improve his numbers as a result.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It’s over. 52-48.

    Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Gotta say, I am proud of the Dem Senators especially Jones, Manchin and Synema.

    And credit where credit is due to Mitt.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      My housemate, a Democrat who was an assistant DA for Louisville and a public defender for decades, on top of being in charge of defending our state’s workmans comp fund and prosecuting environmental laws for the state, listening to the whole thing with his earbuds in. He even wore them to the kitchen.

      His conclusion is that every Democrat who voted for removal is a liar who has no integrity whatsoever. But of course he thinks like a courtroom attorney, whereas I, a layman, think they’re all liars with no integrity whatsoever. History will judge them harshly.Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    Well that’s the wrap of it.
    Looks mostly like a wash. Neither the Dem nor the Republican best case scenarios came true so far. Doesn’t look like the public was outraged against the Dems by impeachment but neither were they outraged to enough pressure the GOP into doing even their minimal constitutional duties.
    Only remaining questions is if it’ll energize the respective bases in November and whether more facts will dribble and trickle out that’ll make the Senate look bad for their cover up.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

      Well, the Republican base is so energized that dead stalwarts will be crawling out of their graves to vote for Trump. I’m not sure about how energized the Democrat base is, but then they didn’t bother to watch the hearings either. I think the House managers were simply trying to bore people to death.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

        Well if that shows up in polling or something real no doubt the Dems will rue standing on principle on the matter. Ain’t seen it so far.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

          They weren’t standing on principle, unless it was to trample principle with their muddy shoes. They impeached a President for doing things that Obama and every other President did almost every month, as a matter of course. And it’s boosted Trump’s approval numbers to the highest of his entire term.

          Basically, their panic, incompetence, and Trump derangement made them all-but guarantee his re-election.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

            I’ll throw that on the huge stack of your other predictions George. Which reports are coming due now that are going to upend the entire table again? They always seem to be about a month out. Tell them to send cold fusion over- we could use the cheap power.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

          Well if that shows up in polling or something real no doubt the Dems will rue standing on principle on the matter.

          See, that’s where I get off the boat. (“Never get off the fucking boat!”) In the pre-impeachment days, Pelosi very clearly articulated the view that Trump’s behavior was illegal and unconstitutional, but removing him should be left to the will of the people. It sounds like a nice safe statement. “Let the voters decide!” But the issue she was advocating for the voters to sanction was, as she admitted at the time, unconstitutional behavior. She was basically ceding constitutional principles to the will of the people. And the danger of saying this wasn’t limited to the type of constitutionally-based government we’d have if Trump won re-election, but the viability of the Democratic party going forward. She was basically saying that the constitution is an irrelevant set of constraints if the will of the people (50%+1) chooses to reject it, so vote Dem!

          And that might actually be the case with this president and with this GOP. But for the opposition party to adopt the same principles, or lack thereof, would be, seems to me, a form of Democratic party suicide. Better to lose some elections committed to those principles than win elections without ’em. The national level Dems are lost right now, and the only way I see the Party finding its way is to rededicate (or maybe, you know, just *dedicate) themselves to those principles rather than racing Trump’s GOP to the bottom.

          As an aside, as I wrote that I saw a snip of Chuck Schumer’s speech from the floor today and all I can say after it ended is that I don’t think the Democratic party is irredeemably awful, but I get why some people do.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

            What is unconstitutional about investigating corruption, or trying to get a foreign government to help US policy by abiding by a long existing treaty? I think Nancy somehow skipped that part.

            Obama withheld US aide from many countries, all the time, yet he didn’t get impeached for it. He even illegally or improperly investigated Trump using US intelligence agencies, yet he didn’t get impeached for it.

            And this is the Democrats problem. Moderates and conservatives don’t see a crime, and House democrats couldn’t come up with a crime, which is why the impeachment articles don’t mention a single statute that was violated, though they’d tried floating many like “bribery”, none of which passed the laugh test.

            So they kept it vague, with “abuse of power” and “contempt of Congress”. Nobody has any idea what “contempt of Congress” would even be, or why 300 million Americans wouldn’t be equally guilty of it.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

            I am.. uh… missing the boat you say you are getting off of Stillwater?
            You wanted the Dems to impeach… they impeached… but they’re still horrible in your books?
            I mean, I agree the Dems can’t ape the GOPs (or more like Trumps strategy); they don’t have a single unified constituency they can double down on and have any hope of winning a national election the way the GOP does.

            Out of curiosity what is it, exactly, that you think they should be doing?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

              No, the boat I’m no departed from is the one that judges impeachment on short-term electoral calculus. I’m perfectly willing to accept Dems losing the next Presidential election for having impeached Trump. As I said upthread, not impeaching would have been the political equivalent of suicide. Or, well, a really bad drinking problem.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Stillwater says:

            “She was basically saying that the constitution is an irrelevant set of constraints if the will of the people (50%+1) chooses to reject it, so vote Dem!”

            Huh, that’s the most concise summary of the current Democrat Party platform I’ve seen yet. Good to know that someone on the other side of the aisle noticed that too.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

      I would like to think that right makes might, electorally speaking.

      But the sobering truth is it doesn’t, and there is a fifty-fifty chance that a narrow majority of the American people will vote in favor of all this corruption.

      At this point, we just don’t know.

      But I feel good that we left it all on the field, that the Dems gathered the evidence and made their case.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I would like to think that right makes might, electorally speaking.

        When has that ever been the case? American politics is fundamentally not only transactional, but *compromising*. What Trump realized (or hoped for) is that the public had become so disillusioned with right, and all the platitudinous bullshit that accompanies it, that it would throw its electoral weight behind might.

        I’ve said this before, but the single best thing Trump said or did during the 2016 campaign was unequivocally say, on a national debate stage with Jeb! Bush, that the Iraq War was the single biggest disaster in US history. Remember how everyone **gasped** at the sacrilege?Report

  8. Avatar George Turner says:

    Since we’re talking about endgame, we’re not there yet, but we’re might be at the end of the beginning.

    a tweet

    (In case my attempt to link a tweet doesn’t work, it says:)

    Breaking: from their press office –

    “Good afternoon, Senators Grassley and Johnson today requested Hunter Biden’s official travel records from the U.S. Secret Service as a part of their ongoing probe into potential conflicts of interest.

    A full news release is forthcoming”

    Investigations have also been launched by the government of Ukraine.

    They’re intending to show that the impeachment was a Democratic cover up of high crimes and misdemeanors committed both by top members of the Obama Administration, likely along with key House and Senate Democrats and State Department officials.

    For some, the game likely ends in federal prison.Report

  9. Avatar George Turner says:

    Trump was urging investigations into criminal activities committed by top members of the Obama Administration, which involved both kickbacks and a foreign attempt to rig the 2016 election, to protect the flow of US dollars into criminal pockets. Democrats panicked and launched an impeachment investigation to hide their complicity in such crimes. Their attempt to remove Trump to stop those investigations failed, and now the Senate and the DoJ are back to investigating the crimes that Trump was urging people to investigate.

    Or perhaps you can explain why Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of a Ukrainian energy company making $80K a month, and why his father, the Vice President of the United States, threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid if the President of Ukraine didn’t stop an investigation into that energy company. That may be the first time in world history that any liberal has tried to shut down an investigation into illegal activities by a major oil firm or their payoffs to high level politicians.

    It might at some point dawn on Team Blue that they’ve painted themselves so far into a corner that turning themselves in to the police is probably the most face-saving course they have left.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

      Democrats panicked and launched an impeachment investigation to hide their complicity in such crimes.

      George, you stole that spin from me. It’s right up there at the top of the thread. Dammit, dude, come on. Get your own material.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I can see the usual suspects are more interested in horse-race stuff over ethics, morality, and the state of democracy. What struck me most is the Susan Collins “defense” that Trump learned a “pretty big lesson.” The interesting thing about this terminology is that it sounds like something from a TGIF sitcom that would be said about a very young child. The other thing is that the only lesson he learned is that he can act with total impunity. Yesterday in fascism, Trump decided to suspend global entry for New York residents because of the Green Light law:

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/02/trump-suspends-global-entry-travel-program-new-york-drivers-license-law.htmlReport

  11. Avatar George Turner says:

    I think Nancy and the Democrats have lost their minds. After her SOTU debacle, lots of still patriotic Democrats called into C-SPAN to say they’ll never in their lives vote for another Democrat again. Her actions during the speech were apparently a huge turn off to moderate Democrats who are happy that the country is doing really well.

    Nancy, afterwards, bragged about her little tantrum at the post-SOTU meeting of House Democrats, saying that everything Trump said was a lie, and her entire side cheered. This just gives Republicans a ton of material for hard-hitting campaign ads where they can point to tremendous economic success of group X or Y and say “Nancy called your job or your raise a lie. She called low black unemployment a lie [with more examples taken from a selected list to focus on a particular demographic]… And your representative, [fill in the blank], cheered.”

    And now https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/economy/house-democrats-to-vote-to-take-controversial-california-gig-economy-regulations-national>House Democrats are taking California’s AB-5 bill national, so that no free-lancers, such as writers and independent truck drivers (nor anyone who drives for Uber or Lyft), will have a job. Aside from the hubris, and the social and economic stupidity of throwing all those millions of self-employed contractors out of work, they’re threatening the jobs of that vast swath of opinion makers who write for popular websites and news outlets, and all of those “influencers” that everybody follows. They’re threatening the livelihood of a hunk of the Washington press corps, too. Those journalists are bound to ask all the candidates about a national AB-5, and whether the candidate backs Nancy and the House Democrats.

    If there’s a better way to tip 2020 into a 55-45 or even 60-40 Trump landslide, I can’t think of it. There comes a point, no matter how loyal folks are to the party, when people realize that Captain Ahab has gone nuts, and a once respected party has gone off the rails.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

      “There comes a point, no matter how loyal folks are to the party, when people realize that Captain Ahab has gone nuts, and a once respected party has gone off the rails.”

      Now that you mention it, we should have a thread about today’s press conference. Maybe the title should be, “America, We Need To Talk About Grandpa”.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Forget it, Chip; it’s projection all the way down.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to CJColucci says:

          In a way, that is true. I’m projecting from how I feel when a Republican does something so boneheaded that it makes Democratic campaign strategists jump for joy, and makes many Republicans decide to vote Democrat. Note that this is completely different from having a Republican (usually Trump) do something that will either piss off Democrat campaign strategists, or make them mistakenly think that he’s given them a winning issue. I’m talking about the things that make you wince at an own-goal.

          I just figured most Democrats might get equally upset when they see their own side committing huge unforced errors that could cost them a critical election. As an example, threatening to cut the livelihoods of all Uber and Lyft drivers doesn’t just affect Uber and Lyft drivers, it means that everybody who uses Uber and Lyft might have to listen to their driver rant about it. That makes the damage far more personal to people, and this won’t just be occurring in San Francisco or LA, it will be happening in battleground states across the nation. If I was a partisan Democrat, I’d be screaming “Why? Why? Why did you do that?!” Now all those drivers, riders, and freelance writers have to depend on Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump to protect their jobs from Nancy.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Yes Chip, we need to harpoon Nancy.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

          Well, you could just have her arrested for destruction of official government documents (ripping up Trump’s SOTU speech was a federal criminal violation), and then just convince Democrats not to post bail so Steny Hoyer can take over. Think of it as giving her a much-needed time-out.

          I’ve seen quite a few articles over at Real Clear Politics (they link both sides, btw) that argue that impeachment really boosted Trump. An article in The Atlantic argues that the big loser in the impeachment mess was apparently Joe Biden. It could be that Nancy ran into the Streisand Effect, where going over the top to try and prevent the press from focusing on something just makes that thing a much bigger story.

          It could be that Nancy, at least in her current form, has really bad political instincts, or it could be that she’s just gone full Ahab, self-destructively pursuing Trump regardless of the consequences to herself and her party.Report

  12. Avatar CJColucci says:

    (ripping up Trump’s SOTU speech was a federal criminal violation),

    No, it wasn’t.Report

  13. Avatar Urusigh says:

    Well at least that’s over. Final score: Democrats lost, Republicans won, Trump won, and the Constitutional structure of government lost (Impeachment should never have been attempted on such weak grounds and charges, never pursued in such a nakedly partisan fashion, and the overall result of doing so is to poison the well for the one means to legally overthrow an actually abusive executive without waiting for the next election). This was divisive, damaging, wholly unnecessary and undercut the legitimacy of the entire government.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Urusigh says:

      yep Democrats lost – just like they lost their way to gaining House seats in 2018 because Mr. Trump engineered so much winning.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H says:

        So…they tried t o impeach the President, failed miserably, Trump and Republican’s approval ratings went up and Democrat’s approval ratings went down, but somehow this was a win for Democrats…

        Ok, Wile E Coyote, you’re going to need to explain the “Suuuupppeeerrr Geeenniiiouuss!” of that plan for me.

        And don’t bother repeating “2018”, the party in power routinely loses House seats that first election. You might recall that Obama did too, but that certainly didn’t stop his reelection. It wasn’t a “wave”, it was well in line with historical norms, so what else do you have?Report

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