Donald Trump Will Never Be Impeached. Here’s Why

Ivanka on daddy's lapI’ve been fantasizing thinking about a Trump impeachment since, oh, November 9, 2016. And I’ve known all along that it wouldn’t happen (just as I knew the Electoral College wouldn’t actually execute its purpose and bounce Herr Tic-Tac), but I guess I’ve been in denial.

Until recently. Look, gang, it ain’t gonna happen. We’re stuck with him for a full term, barring some kind of health issue or assassination. Here’s why:

U.S. House of Representatives party breakdown

Image via Wikipedia

Yep, that’s the party breakdown of the U.S. House of Representatives, and it leans Republican. Republicans aren’t going to impeach Trump. Not unless his approval rating gets obscenely low, and guess what? There’s a core of voters who will believe in him no matter what.

Don’t believe me or Chris Hayes? Hold your nose and go read this essay, including the terrifying sentence “Trump is a wild card- and we like it that way. [sic]” People like this keep his approval rating from diving too low for it to spook Republicans in the House to kick him to the curb.

Also, as noxious as it seems, he has an 84% approval rating from Republicans. (Go here and check the fourth chart down.) That’s right — the vast majority of Republicans think he’s doing just hunky-dory. Paul Ryan and his unctuous homunculi aren’t going to rile the base, even if Trump parades naked to the National Mall and compares his junk to the Washington Monument.

“No kidding, Barry,” you’re saying. “We know all of this. That’s why it’s so important for Democrats to take back the House in 2018! #Actblue! #resist!”

And I say unto you… It doesn’t matter if the Dems take back the House. He still won’t be impeached.

As a wise man once said:

Omar Little meme: Come at the king, you best not miss.

If you kick Trump out of the White House (as I do at least once a week in my sweet, sweet dreams), there will be a panicky white-asshole uproar the likes of which you’ve never seen. Which, hey, is fine as long we’ve won, right?

But now imagine that uproar…and Trump is still the Commander-in-Chief. You think he was pissy before? You think he was unstable and insane before? Imagine Trump after surviving impeachment and going full Vito Corleone on the entire country. No way in the world would the Democratic Party as it’s currently constituted risk that.

And that’s what would happen if the House impeached. Because impeachment is one thing, but to get his flabby butt out from behind the Resolute desk for good, you need two-thirds of the Senate to vote to impeach.

Check out the current breakdown of the Senate. The GOP is in the majority. You’re not getting a two-thirds vote to convict there.

“But, Barry!” you complain. “That’s why we need to take back the Senate, too!”

Right. Of course.

This article lays out why that’s, uh, unlikely. (For definitions of unlikely that equal “damn near impossible.”) In short: The Dems have 25 seats up for election in 2018, while the Republicans have only eight.


Go ahead and imagine a scenario in which the Democrats somehow manage to hold onto all 25 of their seats (even though a bunch are in states that Trump won handily). And imagine they also manage to snag those eight outstanding GOP seats. That adds up to 56 Democrats in the Senate.

Last time I checked the math, that’s 11 votes short of the two-thirds needed to convict. And you’re not going to get any Republicans to flip on Trump because of the reasons enumerated above. Any Republican who votes to convict is going to be a pariah to the base and the party, and these dudes care more about their own hides than they do about you or the country.

But OK, let’s keep playing the wish-fulfillment game. Let’s say the Dems retake the House and the Senate. And let’s say some miracle happens and Trump’s base deteriorates just enough that 11 Republicans are willing to stick their necks out and vote to convict.

Guess what? He’s still gonna get to finish his term. That’s right: Even assuming enough votes in the House and Senate to impeach and convict, I predict it won’t happen.

Because the Democrats won’t push it that far.

Oh, they may talk a good game about impeachment, but they know that they can fall back on “The votes aren’t there. There aren’t enough Democrats in Congress.” It’s easy to talk the talk when you know you’ll never have to walk the walk.

I hate to break it to you, but with some exceptions elected Democrats are cowards at heart. (In their defense, most politicians are.) They have so little power (having lost most state legislatures and governorships) that they’re terrified of losing it. So they’re willing to sacrifice bits of it at a time in lieu of losing it all at one fell swoop. The end result is the same, but they delude themselves into thinking it’s not, that if they can just hold out long enough and keep their heads down then something magical will happen that will return them to power.

So, here’s the scenario: In some alternate universe, the Democrats retake the House and Senate in 2018, then Trump’s approval rating drops enough that close to a dozen Republicans would vote to convict.

The new Congress is seated in January 2019. Mere months from our absurd American quadrennial tradition of “Starting the Presidential Election Campaign Ridiculously Early.” Six months later — June or July 0f 2019 — people will already be declaring. Some Dems trying to get a jump on the early money. A maverick Republican. A couple of third partiers. Maybe even you-know-who.

The Democrats aren’t going to want to make the 2020 election about impeachment. Win or lose, convict or not, if they impeach Trump, 2020 will be all about the ramifications and consequences. Town halls and campaign rallies are going to be overrun by Trumpies with an axe to grind, and even if you’re the kind of politician who’s not afraid of that, you still have to acknowledge that it’s not the best way to get your message out. You want a clear platform.

And hell — you want to run against Donald Trump, an historically unpopular president! You have a much better chance running against Señor Pussy-Grabber than against…

Mike Pence.

President Mike Pence. A dude who looks like what Central Casting thinks a President should look like, and is the soft-spoken yin to Trump’s bombastic yang. Yeah, I know Pence is just as dangerous and insane as Trump, but he doesn’t seem that way, and if he plays his cards right, a post-impeachment President Pence could play the old “let me reunite the party and the country” card to great effect and score some serious votes.

“Clinton’s ouster would bestow on the Vice President the advantage of running in 2000 as an incumbent, and as the man who helped the nation get over Monica.”

That’s what some Republicans feared during the Clinton impeachment, and Democrats would have the same fears post-Trump impeachment. Read the following sentence to yourself and think of today’s Democratic Party:

“Trump’s ouster would bestow on the Vice President the advantage of running in 2020 as an incumbent, and as the man who helped the nation get over Trump.”

You can see it, can’t you? Commercials with avuncular Mike Pence regretfully sandbagging Trump, promising the world and America that it’s a new day, that the Presidency has been reborn. (Extra points for the whistle to the evangelicals.)

A tough opponent.

Look, I think Donald J. Trump is a loathsome human being1 and I truly believe that he has committed offenses that demand impeachment. I believe that the House should impeach him whether or not there are enough votes to convict, not because I enjoy tilting at windmills, but because it’s the right thing to do.

I also believe, though, that the nature of politicians (and of the current Democratic Party) is such that it will never happen. I would love to be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

So, strap in for four years of lunacy, idiocy, and high blood pressure. And do whatever you can to support the opposition. Because it’s not about flipping the House or the Senate or your local government in order to get rid of Trump. Put that thought out of your mind.

It’s now about making sure something like this can’t happen again.


  1. At least I acknowledge that he’s human…


  1. Jacked Donkey says:

    Pence is already ensared in the Trump team’s obstruction of justice and he’ll be tainted by his proximity to treason. Even as IN governor he was reviled by the public. Any competent dem presidential nominee would bring Pence down like a bad side of beef. Competent, as in, not HRC again.

    But I agree that it is highly unlikely that the GOP congress will impeach much less convict Trump. And I believe it would be a grave mistake for dems to do it with the bare minimum of GOP votes. Justice for Trump and Pence must be arise from a truly bipartisan consensus.

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