Donald Trump is the first former president in history to face impeachment. Here’s what his charge could mean for his political future – and that of the Republican Party.
No, a prosecutor in New York didn’t just hand Trump the election.
Some Republicans have claimed that impeaching Trump would only help his efforts to retake the White House in 2024.
“Most people on our side think it’s a never-ending effort to bring Trump a wrecking ball,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said on The Daily Show earlier this month. “So yes, I think it will help him.”
Trump has weathered numerous scandals before, during and after his presidency. his approval in polls generally stayed close to 40% and fell about 5 points after the Jan. 6 riot sparked by its attempts to overthrow the presidential election.
As David Lauter of The Times wrote last week, Trump has been in the public eye since at least the 1980s, and most people have strong opinions of him.
But even if Trump retained an engaged voter base of 35 to 40 percent, that wasn’t enough to get him re-elected in 2020.
To retake the White House, Trump must increase his support, which he has not been able to do.
“If every scandal tightens 99% of his base and alienates only 1%, that’s still a lost formula,” said Politico columnist Alex Burns wrote last week.
Republicans remain tied to Trump.
Trump may not have majority support, but his impeachment has shown once again that most Republicans are afraid to upset him.
speaker Kevin McCarthy, The Bakersfield Republican, who owes his position to Trump, followed suit and accused Manhattan Dist. atty Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, called “an outrageous abuse of power” and ordered House committees to investigate the prosecutor last week, even though no one in Congress had seen the evidence against Trump. Other Republicans followed suit.
Former presidents – particularly those who have lost re-election – rarely wield such power over their parties. Trump owes his command of the GOP to the passion of his base. Many Republican congressmen represent muddled, deep-red congressional districts where the odds of losing a Republican primary to a Trump-backed opponent are greater than the odds of losing to a Democrat in a general election.
While using his base to keep elected Republicans in line enables Trump’s political survival, it’s also a dangerous formula. Last week, Trump warned of an indictment “Potential Death and Destruction” in the country and repeated the language he used to stir up the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump could still win the nomination and the presidency.
The constitution does not prohibit Trump from serving as president again, even from prison.
Republican presidential primary gives outsized power to candidates with a committed support base. Trump still leads in the Republican primary. If he wins the nomination, he is likely to meet President Biden, who is now 80 years old and is also struggling with low approval ratings.
Major obstacles stand in Trump’s way. The first is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has sought to channel Trump’s populism minus the scandals while pursuing a likely presidential bid. He criticized Bragg this week, but then sneakily shot Trump.
“I don’t know what it takes to pay a porn star to keep quiet about any sort of alleged affair. I — I just can’t speak to that,” DeSantis said.
Should Trump succeed in defeating DeSantis, he still faces an uphill battle against Biden, who demonstrated his ability to form a coalition in 2020 midterm election 2022, in which Republicans lagged behind historical trends showed that Trump continues to weigh on his party.
But winning the nomination would still give Trump a hitting chance in the White House. He proved that in 2016 when he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose own candidacy was marred by an investigation into her use of a private server to store her government email.
Trump is the first former president to be impeached, but others have come close to him.
Richard Nixon left the White House in 1974 believing he was going to prison. He even asked Egil Krogh, a former aide who served time for Watergate crimes, what it was like behind bars.
“It was very likely” that Nixon would have been impeached had not President Ford pre-emptively pardoned him, said Timothy Naftali, former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Ford had his own reasons for pardoning Nixon, including the fact that Ford had been appointed vice president before taking over from Nixon, Naftali said. Ford, unsure of his own legitimacy, was desperate for the news media and public to stop talking about his predecessor. Nixon had already resigned in disfavor, making it less urgent that he face further consequences.
Bill Clinton, who was in office for hours, admitted to lying about Monica Lewinsky under oath to avoid prosecution for perjury a business with Special Prosecutor Robert W. Ray.
Warren Harding died in office, but if he hadn’t he might have faced consequences for scandals that later came to light.
“We didn’t have a lot of people with criminal clouds around them when they left the White House,” Naftali said. “We’ve had a lot of flawed people in the White House, but fortunately not that many.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Source : news.yahoo.com