At the end of our September conversation, Lichtman made another call: That if elected, Trump would eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress that would prefer a President Mike Pence -- someone who establishment Republicans know and trust.We're learning this on the same day that David Brooks makes a similar prediction:
“I'm going to make another prediction,” he said. “This one is not based on a system, it's just my gut. They don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence -- an absolutely down the line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”
Trump’s bigotry, dishonesty and promise-breaking will have to be denounced. We can’t go morally numb. But he needs to be replaced with a program that addresses the problems that fueled his ascent.I think Jonathan Chait would beg to differ. He reminds us today that Trump should not be seen as an outsider in the GOP:
After all, the guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year. The future is closer than you think.
Since he started his campaign, a year and a half ago, we have grown accustomed to seeing Trump as a figure outside his party and facing deep resistance. That resistance is tiny, and shrinking. Harry Enten finds that, on average, Trump performed just one percentage point worse than Republican Senate candidates. There were regular Republican voters who couldn’t bear to pull the lever for Trump, but they amount to one percent of the public -- functionally nonexistent. Alabama Republican Martha Roby, one of a handful of Republicans to call for Trump to step aside in the wake of the Billy Bush tape, barely squeaked into office in her heavily Republican district, because 22,000 of her constituents cast write-in votes to punish her disloyalty.I agree with Chait -- I mean, it's possible that Trump will do something so appalling that even his large base of loyalist voters will be profoundly disillusioned, but it's going to take a lot to make their hero-worship dissipate. It wasn't until well into George W. Bush's second term that he lost his post-9/11 glow in the eyes of his supporters.
The handful of conservatives who opposed Trump’s election all envisioned a short exile culminating in a clear Trump defeat, after which they would return to the party fold. Few were prepared to leave permanently. Already, partisan instinct is drawing many of the “Never Trump” conservatives back to the comfortable embrace of the Republican-run government.
The result of all this is a party tightly bound together by self-interest and survival, with no important sources of internal dissent. Any abuses of power Trump may commit -- attacking the media; unleashing the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies, or to pardon his cronies; or using other arms of the state to intimidate his opposition-- will be accepted and even defended by the overwhelming bulk of the Republican Party.
In the meantime, the rest of party is motivated by fear of crossing that base, as well as hope -- probably well placed -- that Trump will sign the party's Ayn Rand/Koch brothers agenda into law without challenging a comma of it. But couldn't he be impeached if he endangers national security? He's already done that, with his inner circle's sneaky dealings with the Russians, and with his call for additional Russian hacks. And Republicans don't get punished by the voters when national security is threatened -- after 9/11, Bush was at roughly 90% approval in the polls. Would Trump be impeached by Republicans for doing something that "helps his pocketbook"? Stop, you're killing me.
So: Trump impeachment? Nope.