Legally, Constitutionally, and historically, the impeachment and trial of President Donald Trump are a very big deal. But politically, maybe not so much. It’s still unclear whether the whole impeachment process has moved the dial on the 2020 election. And if it has, in which direction? For or against the beleaguered president?
After spending weeks contesting the facts presented in the House impeachment process, Republican legislators and the president’s legal team seem to have given up. Instead, they have moved to conceding that the facts are, well, the facts, but that they don’t matter. What matters to Trump’s support team is that all the facts about the president’s attempts to pressure Ukraine’s then-new President Volodomyr Zelensky into some kind of publicly-announced investigation of Trump’s most-feared political rival and his son don’t amount to an impeachable offense.
In fact, one of the Trump legal team, the once-respected Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (now demeritus) contended that there could be no impeachable acts committed by a president to advance his own reelection, if the president thought that was in the national interest.
My guess is, if any first-year law student presented such an argument to Professor Dershowitz he’d find a big fat F at the bottom of his paper. That’s pretty much the grade Dershowitz’s presentation has been getting from most of his scholarly and professional colleagues.
Dershowitz is a true chip-squeak off the big Trump block. So many of his arguments draw the response, “Can you believe this guy?” With the implicit answer – Hell, no!
It’s a call and response President Trump also seems to love to provoke, maybe because of the damage it does to the civility of American politics and the credibility of American rule of law.
But believe him or not, there’s another Q & A at the heart of the Trump movement: Can anyone stop this guy? Maybe not.
That dialog rules the Republican Party, of the Senate part of it run by Mitch McConnell. He clearly believes and ardently preaches that the only route to GOP survival is complete obeisance to Trump and his base. If Trump is stopped, McConnell has told his troops, a lot of us will get dropped. End of story.
By the way, the article of impeachment where new and damning facts are being produced every day is not so much the Ukraine “favor”-begging extortion plot as obstruction of Congress. The administration’s increasing absurd attempts to hide its misdeeds by withholding witnesses and documents is beyond obvious, but it’s based on another Trumpian belief: people don’t care about the Constitution any more than they do about the facts.
For the Republicans in the Senate to acquiesce to these anti-democratic assumptions and to gut their own Constitutional prerogatives to cover for a craven career criminal may be the worst element of this whole mess.
But do voters see things this way?
John Zogby, founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author. He has joined with his sons Benjamin and Jeremy in a new company called John Zogby Strategies, a strategic visioning firm specializing in preparing companies and agencies for the coming wave of dynamic changes. Zogby is also the inaugural Director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.
His newest book, published in 2016, is entitled We Are Many, We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America, is an exploration of the American people from the vantage point of their attributes and values, not demographics or geography. Zogby writes weekly columns on Forbes.com and contributes a weekly Trump report card to The Washington Examiner’s Washington Secrets, by Paul Bedard. He is also a founding contributor to The Huffington Post. His analytical expertise has also been published on the opinion pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.