Friday, January 15, 2021


Poll after poll tells us that Americans believe President Trump should be removed from office. A new ABC/Washington Post poll says that a majority of Americans favor barring Trump from ever holding office again.

Yet it should be noted that this ...

...looks an awful lot like this:

Here are the numbers on impeachment and removal from FiveThirtyEight's polling average:
Support: 52.4%
Oppose: 42.3%
And here was the final FiveThirtyEight polling average for the presidential election:
Biden: 51.8%
Trump: 43.4%
Notice the resemblance?

We know how the election turned out: The polls had underestimated Trump's support, presumably because many Trump voters are low in social trust and refuse to talk to pollsters. Biden won the popular vote by 4 percentage points and received 7 million more votes than Trump, but a switch of fewer than 50,000 votes in three states would have left us with a 269-269 Electoral College tie, which would have led to a Trump victory, because Electoral College ties are resolved by giving each state's delegation in the House of Representatives one vote, and Republicans control more House delegations.

We know that everything in American politics outside the blue enclaves is skewed to the GOP. Small rural states have disproportionate power in the Senate, and they're mostly Republican. Gerrymandering allows Republicans to win extra House seats, and the gerrymandering effects are even worse in many state legislatures.

All of which suggests that Trump and the GOP have enough support to ride this out. A handful of Republicans voted for impeachment this week. Some others are straddling the fence:
Freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, said Trump’s actions were so abhorrent that he must have no future in GOP politics. She said the GOP must harness his brand of populism while separating themselves from the president.

“I think the principles and ideas he espoused we’re going to have to champion in the future, but without his support, his brand or his name,” Mace said. “It’s tarnished. I don’t know how you defend what he did last week by any means.”
But by the time the Senate takes up impeachment, he'll be out of office. If law enforcement succeeds in preventing further pro-Trump bloodshed, the public's desire to punish Trump will fade. And we'll be left with a Republican Party in which some people are unabashed Trumpers, particularly at the state and local level, while others merely say he was a fine president, though it's a shame that he had to go lead that insurrection. I predict that no more than two or three Republicans will vote to convict -- McConnell wont, and maybe only Mitt Romney will (again). The public will agree that it's time to move on.

This assumes that there won't be a lot more violence, of course. But if there isn't, the GOP will come out of this unscathed.

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