Wednesday, October 02, 2019


Thomas Edsall is asking whether Donald Trump will really leave the White House if he's defeated in 2020 or convicted in the Senate after an impeachment. Edsall raises the possibility of a popular revolt on Trump's behalf.
When I asked David Leege, professor of political science emeritus at Notre Dame, about political developments in the near future, his response surprised me. After noting that I had not posed the most important question, he added:
We should not assume that either a 2020 election defeat or impeachment/conviction will remove Trump from the White House.
Leege elaborated:
Both before Trump was elected in 2016 and during his term, he has made frequent references to “my 2nd Amendment friends”’ and increasingly the “patriots” who constitute the military.
...consider what Trump has said while president. On March 12, 2019, a month before publication of the Mueller Report, Trump told Breitbart, the hard right populist news site:
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. O.K.? I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
I don't think Trump will leave office without a fight, or at least a lot of threats, but I'm not worried about a violent mass uprising to keep him in office. The reason is simple: Nothing like that happened when Barack Obama was reelected. Trump stirs up a lot of hate as president, but I don't think the right-wing base is any angrier now than it was during the Tea Party years. The teabaggers despised Obama. They liked to march and make threats, and there were some acts of violence, but they didn't march on Washington to try to overturn the results of the 2012 election.

Trump (and those worried about Trump) may imagine that Oath Keeper cops and pro-Trump bikers will go to war, but Trump's fans fantasize that their heroes will do the fighting for them. Look at QAnon, which posits that all the liberal and Deep State evildoers in the world will be rounded up and brought to justice ... how? It's not clear, but the answer isn't "through a mass revolt by armed citizens." At one point the hero was supposed to be Robert Mueller, who was said to be secretly investigating evil Trump-haters while pretending to investigate Trump. In any case, the plan isn't for the populace to rise up.

Or consider an email that's gone viral on the right:
I hope that the House of Representatives impeaches Trump.

... during the trial, and this is what no one is thinking about right now, the President’s attorneys will have the right to subpoena and question ANYONE THEY WANT.... So, during the impeachment trial, we will be hearing testimony from James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Donna Brazile, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Christopher Steele, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, James Clapper, and a whole host of other participants in this whole sordid affair and the ensuing cover up activities. A lot of dirt will be dug up; a lot of truth will be unveiled. Finger pointing will occur. Deals will start being made, and suddenly, a lot of democrats will start being charged and going to prison.

... the Senate will not convict the President.... Remember, the Senate is controlled by Republicans; they will determine what testimony is allowed — and **everything** will be allowed, including: DNC collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the election in favor of Hillary, the creation of the Trump dossier, the cover up and destruction of emails that very likely included incriminating information. They will incriminate each other for lying to the FISA court, for spying and wiretapping the Trump campaign, and for colluding with foreign political actors, especially George Soros. After the Senate declines to convict the President, we will have an election, and Trump will win.
Trump imagines a manly people's revolt -- but the rebels he's counting on are too busy forwarding emails like this to one another to plan for civil war.

If Trump loses his reelection bid, or in the unlikely event that he were to lose a Senate trial, the deplorables wouldn't rise up. They'd expect Trump and their other heroes to overturn the results themselves, while they sat on the couch watching it all unfold on Fox.

And what would Trump do? I think he might use the weapon he likes most -- he'd sue, just the way Rudy Giuliani is threatening to sue everyone in sight right now.
Speaking on Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump’s personal attorney said that he “had a couple of talks” with attorneys.... Their recommendation, Giuliani said, was “that we should bring a lawsuit on behalf of the president and several people in the administration, maybe even myself as a lawyer, against the members of Congress individually for violating constitutional rights, violating civil rights.”

... Following Giuliani’s appearance on “The Ingraham Angle,” the Atlantic’s White House correspondent, Elaina Plott, tweeted a screen shot of a text exchange where Giuliani said he was considering filing a lawsuit “to end lawless action.” When asked who, in particular, he planned to sue, Giuliani responded, “The Swamp.” The court case, he proposed, would be titled, “Trump v The Swamp.”

... Asked how he would go about suing “The Swamp” — an amorphous term generally used to refer to lobbyists and special interest groups, which Trump has also used as a stand-in for Washington’s political establishment — Giuliani replied, “In federal court.”

Maybe that's the way this presidency ends -- not with a bang, but with a lawsuit.

No comments: