What are the Odds Trump Doesn’t Serve Out His Whole Term?
This is something I personally try not to think about too much as overconfidence and a false sense of security are detrimental. It’s always vital to manage our expectations.
Louis Mensch has repeatedly argued he doesn’t make it through this year. I have a lot of respect for Mensch who has gotten many things right-even if she was wrong about Weiner’s guilt. Though I’d still like to ask Weiner some questions before Congress about what happened exactly-the trajectory of events. Not to defend him but because his laptop nevertheless was misused to force the Comey letter. But that’s for another post.
Mensch may well have good reasons to believe this. But from my standpoint it seems very optimistic-more optimistic than I am. Roll Call did a piece yesterday:
“Will Trump complete his four-year term? The odds at this point are that he won’t. What are the options for exactly how his term might end early? There are five Oval Office exit paths: impeachment, use of the 25thAmendment, death by natural causes, assassination and resignation.”
I hate to say it, but I’m not so sure. I’m-alas-less confident of this than Roll Call.
First of all, two things must be distinguished:
1. Being forced to resign or leave office.
2. Being impeached.
How does Scott Sumner explain this level of irrationality in the futures market?
Betting markets give:
a) Dems a 45% chance of winning the House
b) Trump a 55% chance! of not finishing his term
This is pretty irrational.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 16, 2017
Yes, this makes no sense as it’s very unlikely Trump fails to serve out his term if the Dems don’t win the House.
After all, if the Dems don’t win the House you’re projecting the GOP decides to impeach him despite holding on to the House which they will no doubt see as a victory and proof that standing by Trump is not so harmful politically after all.
But Mensch’s claim that Trump is not just impeached but forced out of office this year means that the GOP House will vote to impeach him and a super super majority in the GOP Senate of 67 votes will kick him out of office.
I see this as very unlikely. What could possibly be the reason? My guess is Mensch is counting on just how bad the things we learn get. And in the bombshell Washington Post piece yesterday-there is a high ranking person if interest in the WH; many believe it’s Jared Kushner- anonymous intel officials said the investigation is going to start becoming more public with high ranking Trump officials-many former-but possibly some current-will be facing subpoena’s , grand juries, etc.
Maybe Mensch thinks things will get so bad at some point that the GOP will somehow be compelled to act.
I think Noah Rotham is probably right though:
“Add to this Donald Trump’s ill-conceived decision to take a meeting with two ranking Russian diplomats in the White House and it’s nothing but trouble. Looming above all of this is the prospect of impeachment (or the invocation of the 25th Amendment), which Republicans will resist until the minute the pressure on them becomes irresistible. They would calculate—accurately, in my view—that support for the GOP will crater if their party’s leader is subject to that kind of censure from his own members. For Republicans, the path of least resistance is to march sheepishly toward November 2018 standing behind their party’s titular head, come what may. By the time the Republican conference comes around to the notion that extraordinary remedies are necessary to get their agenda back on track, it will be too late.”
“The GOP is in the best political position it has seen in nearly 100 years, and the party enjoys a mandate to pursue serious conservative reforms. The election of a game show host to the presidency may have spoiled it all. If the last two weeks are any indication, Trump will continue to invite controversy and sow chaos, making the GOP’s life in Congress that much harder. In all likelihood, the Republican Moment is already lost. Pundits of the Right can bray about media bias, fake news, squishy moderate RINOs, and “deep state” subterfuge all they want, but posterity will record precisely who it was that lost it.”
As is Ryan Cooper:
“For the last 20 years and more, one would rarely have gone wrong betting on Republican perfidy. Ultimately, I simply can’t bring myself to believe that more than a handful of Republicans will vote for impeachment, let alone the large numbers of GOP senators that would be needed to convict and remove Trump from office. It’s not impossible, but the weight of history is against it — and they are so close to their long-cherished dream of snatching health care from tens of millions of poor and working-class people (still very much a live possibility).”
“But an investigation with teeth will still badly harm a great source of the GOP’s political strength: their zealotry. It’s hard to work oneself into a froth about supposed liberal crimes against liberty when it is simply beyond debate that the president and leader of one’s party is an addle-brained, corrupt liar.”
It has to be remembered that impeachment is a political process, and a rather lengthy one at that. The 93rd Congress begun Watergate hearings in early 1973-why didn’t the Dems start it during the 1972 election?-and it would take 20 months till they were ready to impeach-Nixon knowing the votes were against him, resigned.
In that case, the Dems had just 56 Senators to 42 by the GOP-by the time of impeachment hearings their lead was up to 57-40. Still far short of being able to actually force resignation without significant GOP buy in.
It seems to me today’s Republican party is a lot more partisan than those in the 93rd Congress. Nixon had done nothing to earn their loyalty-he didn’t campaign for them in 1972 as he wanted to be above the fray.
While 2018 could be a very good Dem year and winning the House is a good possibility, winning the Senate is a real uphill proposition as so many more Dem Senators are up for reelection than GOP Senators. Still a Dem wave might give it to them. Even so, I don’t think the notion that they could have 57 Democratic Senators like the 93rd Senate did is in anyone’s wildest dreams even.
Point being then, if Trump is forced out of office it will require significant GOP buy in that’s hard to imagine right now. Maybe events could force this-if Trump drops from a 38% favorability to 28% maybe they would reconsider. For now, the GOP is going the other way-they’re trying to use the new Special Counsel as a ruse for scaling back any Congressional investigation much less expand it to a Select Committee which would be a prerequisite for impeachment much less forced resignation.
There is one other dimension to this. Do the Democrats really want to get Trump out in 2017?
It seems arguable to me that if Trump were drummed out of office now, that would give the GOP sometime to regroup by 2020. True Mike Pence is also totally compromised. But maybe they replace Trump with Orrin Hatch or some other GOPer with no ties to Trump-Russia.
In the early days of the Republic, the VP was from the other party, so removing the President from office in some sense negated the election results. But now, no matter how quick Trump is gone and even if Pence is gone too, a Republican will continue to be in the Oval Office until 2020.
Yes, I know many Democrats on Twitter who will argue that as the result was tainted they should by rights put Hillary in.
There is truth in this. But we know that’s not going to happen. It seems to me that from a purely political, strategic standpoint, Dems have an interest in the Trump Russia scandal to continue to be on the ballot through 2020.
The commenter JMCSF at Scott Sumner’s Money Illusion is largely right, I think.
“Not that I care about partisanship, but Dems have. A great political gift in Trump and should milk it for all it’s worth. Don’t call to impeach him now. Let him wreck everything on his own and time it just right to start investigating in 2019 with timing to impeach right before 2020 election (but after primaries).”
I mean there are Democrats calling for his impeachment now-many of them African American Dem Congressmen and Congresswomen. Maxine Waters, Al Green, etc.
I feel their passion too. And, of course, this doesn’t do any harm as the GOP is not going to impeach Trump yet-if at all-anyway.
So it seems to me this is the optimal way-as JMCSF suggests. Dems win the House in 2018 and begin serious hearings in 2019. Time is basically on their side, as the process of impeachment takes time anyway. You have to go through a whole lot of evidence.
Because we really do need answers before you consider impeachment. Then after 2020 primaries hold impeachment hearings concurrently with the vote. Maybe impeach him the day before the vote(?) LOL.
But you get the gist. He goes into the vote either just having been impeached or about to be impeached.
So impeachment is pretty likely. It’s more or less totally correlative with the Dems wining the House 2018. Resignation is much less because of needed GOP buy in.
But on a pure level of strategy, you probably don’t really want to force him out of office before the vote-as maybe his replacement is able to distance himself, though it is true this will be hard for Pence to do.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.