Why this latest Trump tactic is different

President Donald Trump delivers remarks during his appearance at the Sharon L. Morris Performing Arts Center in The Villages, Fla., Oct. 3. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Even for President Donald Trump, “I’ll impeach you!” is an idiotic comeback to House Democrats who are pursuing an impeachment inquiry. To state the obvious, lawmakers don’t get impeached, but if they did, I’d be willing to give up one of them to get rid of Trump (sorry, but I am certain the Democrats understand). The “No puppet, you’re the puppet” game simply does not work in the current situation.

In the past, if Trump were to say the constitutionally proscribed impeachment process is a “coup,” or that our allies will somehow uncover evidence contradicting the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence officials that Russia interfered in our 2016 election the media might respond, “By coup, the president must really mean ...” or “while most experts believe Russia interfered with the election ...” Those days of contrived “balance” and deference to a corrupt president are gone.

Mainstream outlets have collectively decided that Trump is now a threat to democratic elections, so it is time to get serious and drop the pretense that there is a legitimate “side” (e.g., Ukraine has the DNC server! Asking China to interfere in our elections is fine, just fine!) whom Trump, Fox News and the Trump cultists represent.

As media organizations knock down the Potemkin village of normalcy they had erected around Trump, nearly all but the Trump dead-enders (e.g., Reps. Devin Nunes of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio) seem unwilling to defend Trump’s impeachable actions. They’ve either gently called him out, as Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, did, or tried to pretend it did not happen (It was a joke! Just joking!). You are not getting a whole lot of Republicans willing to condone foreign countries picking our presidents.

One can conclude that Trump finally “went too far,” but there are other factors at play that distinguish this situation from past crises.

For starters, Trump’s crazier-than-usual reaction (borne of panic) and utter lack of message coordination have left most Republicans unable to help him, even if they wanted to. When they are rather mute and the media won’t give equal time to crazy talk, the truth has a way of bubbling up.

Second, as we saw with the trade war and with the Kurds in Syria, the president’s awful and inept policy choices are coming home to roost. International chaos, a humiliating and disastrous sellout of the Kurds and an economic slowdown prompted by a trade war are really pushing Republicans to consider whether Trump’s survival is in their best interests.

Third, the commencement of formal impeachment proceedings certainly adds a level of gravity to events and has had a corresponding effect of wigging Trump out. The swift movement in the polls in support of impeachment seems to have stunned Republicans and has disabled their usual confidence that spin will save them.

Finally, there is the four-year election cycle. The realization that both the White House and the Senate could be lost is having a sobering effect on some Republicans. At the same time, it is also a daunting prospect to think about another five exhausting, mortifying years of this president.

In short, what may have seemed inconceivable just a couple of months ago - a not-zero chance Trump will not be on the ballot in 2020 - is the result of multiple factors. The media overestimated and contributed to the “facts don’t matter” canard, but now have stopped. The 2018 midterm elections provided Republicans with a hint of what may lie ahead, and the entire country seems disgusted with the crazy-man routine coming from the White House each day. Even Republican lawmakers seem weary of defending the indefensible.

It remains highly unlikely the Senate would vote to remove him, but resignation to avoid humiliation or a bipartisan but less than two-thirds majority votes to convict in the Senate (leaving Trump mortally wounded for 2020), for the first time in his presidency, seems possible. Yes, it is different this time.

Jennifer Rubin writes for the Washington Post.



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(5) comments

Holmes -- the real one

The fake "Holmes" has suggested that Republican senators simply block the investigation and try to harass those who bring evidence against Trump and his cronies.

There are (as ever) numerous flaws in fake "Holmes" reasoning. One of these is Discovery. Another is the fact that going on record in support of Treason is likely to backfire. Not that doing something like that is likely to dissuade fake "Holmes."


The Republican majority in the Senate has the power to shut down the dog and pony show.

Now grow a spine and go after the house Democrats with everything you have!

Start subpoenas on the Democrats and their so-called Witnesses.

Start the cross-examinations.

File lawsuits until their head starts spinning.

No more games!

hermit thrush

hold your horses, bro. after the house votes to impeach (which seems a certainty at this point), the senate will get its chance to hold a trial. then the wingnuts can cross-examine to their hearts' content.


Must be diffecult to square a TRAITOR within your own bankrupt political ideology.

You're right (or left depending your persuasion) the games are ending & the consequences are at hand.


Holmes -- the real one

The logical flaw here is that of considering Trump's motive to be remaining in office.

Trump is not just a crazy, self-centered person. He is a psychopath -- a person devoid of conscience. Psychopaths do not have the same thought processes as normal people. Their behavior cannot be evaluated using the same measures either.

They typically adhere to a circumscribed behavioral repertoire and their future actions can often be reliably predicted by examination of their past.

Trump has historically exercised any opportunity to occupy center stage. He threatens, projects, lies, manipulates, bullies -- we all know this stuff by now -- but, in so doing, the end he reliably achieves is to bring the focus of the moment back on himself.

The Republicans put this dangerous person in a position of power. Be not deceived, they knew perfectly well just what they were doing when he became their presidential candidate. And they continue to support him, fully aware of the effects of their choice.

Those who oppose an impeachment inquiry or who will block this effort to make him accountable are complicit in his crimes.

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