Yesterday Michael Cohen, former Trump lawyer, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law by paying to cover up an affair President Trump had with a porn star. Even more striking is the fact that Cohen claimed he did so “at the direction” of the President.
For some within the republican party this has been seen as the beginning of the end. It’s easy to look at the precarious legal position Trump has found himself in and conclude that this will all end with the Presidents impeachment.
It is widely assumed (and for good reason) that the Democrats will win control of the house this November. Of course, it is also widely assumed that as soon as the Democrats get their grubby hands off the bible after being sworn in that they’ll immediately move toward impeachment. Who could blame them? Trump has an, at best, iffy relationship with the law, he is seen by the American people as a corrupt and divisive figure, and his approval rating is in the garbage. The Democrats seem to be holding all the card, so what can the Republican party do to head off this catastrophe?
They impeach Trump first.
It may seem like this is an extreme measure. Why would Republicans willingly sacrifice the President? After all he has proven to be a useful idiot. He signs legislation they like, he appoints the right judges, and sure he’s a national embarrassment but he’s their national embarrassment.
1. They lose nothing.
Trump is an ineffectual gasbag. Through his use of social media and inability to stay on message, he continuously undermines Republican efforts in the house. His tendency to run his mouth at inopportune times (see response to Charleston S.C.) has made Republican efforts to protect the man futile. So why do it at all? Trump has zero redeeming qualities or strengths. Trump fails to gain a third of the vote in most potential 2020 match-ups. Republicans have a perfectly acceptable Vice President Pence waiting in the wings. They lose nothing and gain everything by trading Trump out.
2. Democrats are going to do it anyway.
As I mentioned earlier, when Democrats regain control of the house this November, it is only a matter of time until they move forward with impeachment. If Democrats win control of both the House and the Senate then Trump is toast and Republicans must watch a two-year victory parade from the sidelines as the left slowly waltz into the White House in 2020. If Democrats only win control of the House and fail to win the Senate, then Republicans are in for a two-year debate about impeachment that will go right up until the 2020 presidential campaign which will end with Trump losing the White House and dragging every Republican running for office down with him. By pushing for impeachment now, before they lose the House, Republicans gain control of the conversation and the debate. Republicans would undercut a key motivator for Democrats to show up to the polls this November and may even save themselves a few seats in swing districts. Which brings us to:
3. Republicans would strip the Democrats of their only 2018-2020 argument.
Let’s face it, the American economy is doing great right now. The economy grew at a 4.1% annual rate in the second quarter of this year, unemployment is at 3.9%, and while the tariffs have been a nightmare, nobody can deny that U.S. consumers are confident with the current state of the economy. Democrats have been struggling to come up with an economic platform that is more than just repackaged socialism. The economy is doing so well that Republicans should be walking away with the midterms but instead are on the verge of losing the House and possibly the Senate. All this dissatisfaction is due to one man, Donald Trump. The Democrats have done an amazing job running against Trump these past two years and it looks like they plan on keeping that good feeling going for years to come. Why not remove their key talking point? By removing Trump Republicans can shift the debate back to conservative policies versus whatever economic platform the Democrats are peddling this week.
4. Republicans would regain credibility.
Finally, and most importantly, Republicans would regain their credibility. Once upon a time Republicans stood for law, order, and morality. They seem to have sacrificed all of those guiding principles to align themselves with a conman who sets ups shell corporations to pay off porn stars with the help of his corrupt lawyer. If Republicans ever want to win back their integrity, throwing Trump under the bus would be a great first step. Republicans would go down in history as the party that had enough moral courage to impeach a president from their own party. Not even the Democrats can boast that (see Clinton).
All in all, I’m not holding out hope for Republicans to do the right thing, but if they don’t feel the need to impeach the President for moral reasons, perhaps they’ll impeach him for selfish ones.