I love Arlington – but when you live in a town where Trump got 17.45% of the vote, and Hillary won by a 15,534 vote margin, the prevailing attitude toward national politics doesn’t align to the rest of the country. As a result, we have a political barometer in the midst of a high pressure system, while a Category 5 hurricane is churning elsewhere on the electoral map.
In the world where I walk regularly, the thought of impeaching Donald Trump is extremely popular, even if the net result is President Mike Pence. Even if you assume a majority of Americans want Donald Trump extracted from the White House, and even if you assume a new Democratic congress would happily vote for impeachment, removal from office requires a 2/3 majority in the United States Senate. If the Democrats achieve their most optimistic outcome, and win a 51-49 majority, an impeachment won’t succeed unless all 51 Democrats and at least 16 Republicans vote for it.
How do we get there?
Let’s start by looking back to August 7, 1974. According to the Christian Science Monitor:
Senator Barry Goldwater, along with House Republican Leader John Jacob Rhodes and Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott, entered the Oval Office around 5 p.m. The Arizona senator sat directly in front of Nixon’s desk, the others to the side. Goldwater told Nixon he had perhaps 16 to 18 Senate supporters left – too few to avoid ouster. Congressman Rhodes said House support was just as soft.
Nixon resigned the next day.
This is also the necessary scenario for removing Trump. When the Republicans march up to the White House, and announce that he lacks enough support in his own party to remain in office.
When the Republicans realize that Trump, and Trumpism, is a toxic brew that is poisoning their party, Trump will be neutralized. Hopefully, the midterms will start to convey that message.
While some surprise senate results will move things forward, the results I will be watching are for down-ticket races in Senate Class II, as well as “rust belt” races in blue wall states that went to Trump.
If the 2018 math gives us Democratic governors in MI, OH, IL, WI, MN, FL, and GA, Trump’s path to a 2020 victory becomes very shaky. If the 2018 math gives us new Democratic senators in AZ, we have another red to purple state and an even more difficult red path to the White House.
When Trump, and his ugly white nationalism, becomes an albatross in enough places to guarantee a second blue wave in 2020, the Republicans will be the ones furiously looking for the evidence that will require the removal of a criminal from the White House. They will be making the case for why Trump must go, because that will be in their enlightened self-interest. At that point, our long national nightmare will fade in the light of dawn.