Trump will sur­vive im­peach­ment — and be stronger for it

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

Not to rain on the Democrats’ im­peach­ment pa­rade, but you might want to grab an um­brella. I’ll be brief: Pres­i­dent Trump will not be con­victed by the U.S. Se­nate, and his po­si­tion­ing for re­elec­tion will have been strength­ened by the process.

As even my blind dog knows, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Tues­day an­nounced two ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment against Trump — abuse of power and ob­struc­tion of Congress. Both of these ac­cu­sa­tions, ac­cord­ing to Democrats, con­sti­tute an ex­is­ten­tial threat to the re­pub­lic and raise the prospect that our three-pronged sys­tem of checks and bal­ances hangs by a thread.

They have a point.

Trump abuses power with the fre­quency of Florida show­ers. And he did ig­nore House com­mit­tee sub­poe­nas for doc­u­ments and wit­nesses, which sort of seems like ob­struc­tion. On the other hand, the White House con­sid­ers the im­peach­ment process a sham and, there­fore, posits that the ad­min­is­tra­tion needn’t com­ply.

The rea­sons for the Se­nate’s likely re­sis­tance, mean­while, are time­less — sur­vival and power. No mat­ter how much some Repub­li­cans may dis­agree with Trump’s meth­ods, his style and his atro­cious rhetoric — a daily slaugh­ter of the English lan­guage hereto­fore con­fined to kinder­gartens and sa­loons — the GOP’S base is un­budge­able. My grudg­ing sus­pi­cion is that, thanks to the Democrats, that base will ex­pand.

As a com­pul­sive in­ter­viewer, I talk to dozens of ran­dom peo­ple on a given day. More­over, I hap­pen to live amongst the in­dige­nous peo­ples, if I may be hu­mor­ous for a mo­ment. That is, my daily life in the South in­volves what Belt­way peo­ple re­fer to as “ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans,” that is, folks who don’t reg­u­larly hop the Acela be­tween Washington and New York or call them­selves po­lit­i­cal junkies.

From self-iden­ti­fied Repub­li­cans, I hear: They’re wast­ing their time, speak­ing of the im­peach­ment. And from Democrats: He’s go­ing to win in a land­slide, isn’t he?

From such con­ver­sa­tions, I’ve gleaned that, though some Repub­li­cans don’t like the cut of Trump’s jib, they long ago sur­ren­dered any hope of be­ing re­minded of Ge­orge H.W. Bush or Ron­ald Rea­gan. El­e­gance, ap­par­ently, can be sac­ri­ficed for a strong econ­omy, record-low un­em­ploy­ment, briskly mov­ing busi­ness, a tough im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy and, not least, a pres­i­dent who fi­nally stands up to China.

But an­other fac­tor fa­vors Trump and this, per­haps, is how he wins. At a cer­tain point dur­ing an im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ing, there’s no one left to like. In­evitably, the least lik­able per­son isn’t the tar­get of im­peach­ment but those who lead the ef­fort. Af­ter slog­ging through the vile de­tails of Bill Clin­ton’s af­fairs, it didn’t take long for in­de­pen­dent counsel Ken­neth W. Starr to be viewed as the vil­lain for mak­ing us look. That was his job, of course, but I well re­mem­ber the night in my kitchen when my hus­band, who was not a Clin­ton sup­porter, com­mented upon hear­ing the lat­est lurid de­vel­op­ment, “I’m be­gin­ning to feel sorry for Clin­ton.” Ul­ti­mately, Clin­ton was im­peached by the House but ac­quit­ted by the Se­nate — and prob­a­bly would have been re­elected were third terms al­lowed.

Im­peach­ing Trump could have a sim­i­lar ef­fect. When peo­ple ex­am­ine the lineup of the pres­i­dent’s con­gres­sional pros­e­cu­tors — Mother Su­pe­rior Nancy Pelosi, the prim and pursed-lipped Adam Schiff and grumpy scold-meis­ter Jer­rold Nadler — it’s easy to imag­ine why some might rather take their chances with a player like Trump. Re­mem­ber, life is a con­tin­u­a­tion of high school, and Congress is just one big gym­na­sium.

This isn’t to say that Repub­li­cans emerge as valiant cru­saders for the moral good. Both sides have be­haved poorly and “win­ning,” alas, isn’t an op­tion. We’re all grit­ting our teeth through noth­ing less than a trial of our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment. But, for rea­sons as much psy­cho­log­i­cal as po­lit­i­cal, Trump is go­ing to sur­vive im­peach­ment — and he’ll be stronger for it.

The Don­ald is many things, but he’s plainly not smart enough to pull off a proper con­spir­acy. What kind of sel­f­re­spect­ing vil­lain asks a for­eign leader for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent and then says, okay, just pre­tend and an­nounce that you’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing?

The pres­i­dent is smart enough, how­ever, to flip this im­peach­ment against the Democrats as yet an­other witch hunt by a bunch of scoundrels, liars and thieves. All Trump needs is a fresh slo­gan and a new cap — and we can be sure they’re com­ing.


Read more from Kath­leen Parker’s archive, fol­low her on Twit­ter or find her on Face­book.


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