With the news about Michael Flynn, there has begun again a whole new series of discussions about the possibility that Trump might be impeached. Most of these conversations are rather dull and tedious but I would like to add a new and, to my eyes, far more interesting element of this discussion. My question is not “what are the paths to Trump’s impeachment?” but “what happens if he is impeached?”.
I have a simple question to ask you, does Trump seem to you like a man who is just going to step down? He doesn’t seem that way to me. I have a second question to ask you, does Trump seem to you like a man who respects the norms and structures of government? He doesn’t seem that way to me either. Say what you like about Richard Nixon but he loved the United States of America and its institutions.
When it became clear to him that he could no longer fight the war being waged against him, he surrendered. He did not want to drag the country through yet another round of hearings and controversy, so he resigned. Trump does not seem like that kind of man to me. What happens if the Senate votes in favor of removing Trump from office and Trump says no? Because that will happen if the Senate votes for impeachment. Trump will deny their ruling and stay in office.
Unless I have very deeply misjudged the mindset and personality of President Trump, his reaction will be to deny any attempt to remove him from office. This would also include the next election.
If Trump loses the 2020 election, I am not certain that he will actually leave office. 30 to 40% of the American public will follow and trust Donald Trump no matter what. This trust includes trusting his word over the word of the media, the congress, or any other source of information or power.
If Trump decides to stay in office and tells his followers to resist any attempt to remove him from office, then that is what his followers will do. It is my view that if the political climate remains as heated as it currently is, then there will be absolutely no way to remove President Trump from office peacefully.
There is also the clear possibility that a military coup would remove Trump from power. I would guess it would have to involve some combination of the military and the intelligence agencies to carry it out but it could be done.
The intelligence community and the top brass of the military are even more insular and tribal, pun intended, than at any other time in their existence. These two communities make up a sub-culture unto themselves. They have little, if any, contact with normal Americans and if they decided to overthrow the American government, it would not be very hard for them to keep that a secret.
The “deep state” is real. They are heavily neo-conservative and those that aren’t neo-cons are liberal globalists. All factions within the deep state were enraged at hearing Trump’s desire to have an easing of relations with Russia and his comments about NATO and it is impossible for Trump to have known just how much trouble he was getting himself into when he made those statements.
He made powerful enemies when he began challenging the foreign policy elite and their eternal cold war with Russia. They might also just kill him, I would be wary of any campaign trips to Dallas.
American Democracy will not survive Trump. We Americans live under a post-modern government. A legislature that doesn’t legislate, a politics that is closer to theater than statesmanship, and a world in which the truth doesn’t really matter to anyone. I am the devil to my opponents and my opponents are the devil to me, in what world does that not turn into violence? When debates end, all that is left are impeachments, coups, and assassinations.