Will they beat Trump? Impeachment is just one of five reasons it’s impossible to predict
We don’t know who his opponent will be
Leading Democrats lining up to take on Trump (age 73) next year are: former VP Joe Biden (76), Senator Elizabeth Warren (70) and Senator Bernie Sanders (78). All have poll percentages in the twenties, while the next tier in the race – Senator Kamala Harris (54) Pete Buttigieg (37) and Senator Cory Booker (50) – all have less than 5% support in polls.
There are too many variables to predict who’ll get the nomination but I see Warren as the one with most appeal to a wide range of demographics and the least likelihood of screwing up. That’s not to say I think she’d make the best candidate or the best President – just looking at who’s most likely to get the gig.
Republicans have taken gerrymandering to new levels…
Gerrymandering is the fine art of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts. If your county has, say, five districts, you herd most voters for the party you DON’T want to win into one district, and spread your own voters so they have a small majority in the other four districts. The total vote for each party might be 50% each, but the gerrymandering party gets four seats and the suckers get one. How’s this possible? Voting in America is managed by local politicians, not by any national agency, and Republican backers spent big back in 2010 to win local power so they could control the once-in-10-years redrawing of district boundaries. The courts are now considering multiple challenges to this, but Trump has funnelled a swarm of Republican judges into courtrooms across the country, and the crooked maps will skew the upcoming vote in their favour.
Winning local power next year is what former President Obama has been focused on since he left office, so that the next decade’s electoral maps are more friendly to Democrats.
They also purged millions more Democratic voters from the rolls
Like I said, the US federal government doesn’t control the voting process, but the Civil Rights movement led the Supreme Court to require states to get permission to change voting rules, in order to curb voter-purging based on racial and class discrimination. Then, in 2013, the Court balance of power shifted to the right and those controls were abandoned, and since that happened 1,173 polling places have been eliminated, all in areas with Democratic majorities. “Closing polling places has a cascading effect,” says a report just out from The Education Fund, “leading to long lines at other polling places, transportation hurdles, denial of language assistance and other forms of in-person help, and mass confusion about where eligible voters may cast their ballot.” For Trump and the Republicans, that’s mission accomplished.
Democratic voters also face bullying outside polling places, or intimidation by poll officials who, for example, tell them they can vote “provisional” if their data is questioned, knowing that provisional votes often don’t get counted. And then there’s plain old-fashioned cheating -- rigging the vote-count, hacking computers, issuing fake instructions – all endemic in America today.
People’s priorities have changed since he got elected
A top-dog pollster Stan Greenberg just published a book predicting a wipe-out for Republicans in 2020. He’s all about the numbers, such as that 50% of voters said in 2016 that immigration is good for America, that’s now up to 65%; more than 60% want more government involvement in the economy, with less reliance on individuals and businesses; levels of “engagement and mobilisation” have increased 10% since the 2018 mid-term voting. Greenberg notes that all the Democratic contenders are promising to fix the climate disaster, and wealth and income inequality, and America’s healthcare imbroglio, policies that have given their party control of California. Greenberg predicts that 2020 will mark “the death of the GOP” nationally, especially since Republican policies are focused on resisting gender equality more than on economics. He may be over hopeful, but about 156 million people could vote in 2020 compared to 139 million in 2016. Many are Latinx (gender neutral for Latinas and Latinos), who don’t like “Beautiful Wall” Trump.
What more could happen between now and then?
Trump might be indicted for “high crimes” that can trigger impeachment, such as for telling the Ukrainian president he can have $400 million in “aid” but only if he slanders Joe Biden (exactly who the whistleblower was and what they said is crucial and as yet unknown). Or he could be embroiled in criminal charges for financial fraud and tax dodging, or lying under oath, or all the above. That said, crimes are hard to stick on a President, especially a bullshitting mud-slinger like this guy.
The dilemma for America’s duelling ruling gangs is that Trump has thoroughly trashed the joint. He’s ignored dozens of fundamental laws and even more conventions that had previously helped organise the chaos of government, and in their place he’s put nothing more than himself, his own incoherent rage. So when he offers the leader of a foreign country a huge sum of money in exchange for collecting dirt he can throw at a political opponent, the establishment has to do something, finally, or concede that all previously known divisions of power and rules of conduct are now inoperative.
While I reckon it would be ok to concede that, and start now to fight bare knuckle like the rogue President does, America’s disunited establishments are unable to be that bold.
In any event, impeachment is a ritual exercise because the Senate has to convict him and it’s currently controlled by Republicans and even though some of their Senators hate Trump they would hate a Democratic President even more.
Trump’s tactic now is to rile up his “base” — the fuck-you mob who love to be whipped into a flag-flapping frenzy – but no matter how jacked up they feel, each of them can only vote once.
Other events could intervene to impact the election: Trump might have a heart attack (overweight, crap diet), and he’s rapidly losing supporters in high places in other countries – even Japan says his Iran-blaming is bogus – which interferes with American global businesses whose managers are already pissed off about his ‘trade wars’. They too could turn on him.
And if Scott Morrison is the best bootlicker he can find he’s in big trouble.
Then there’s always War. US Presidents repeatedly launch wars to boost their chances of being elected. Trump has done all the usual Presidential things to fuel up America’s monstrous war-machine, except he doesn’t seem to relish actual invasions, and invasions are hard to support if your coalition is reduced to the Saudi “royal family”, Israel, and Scott Morrison.
Whatever happens, Trump’s not going to go quietly. While polar ice-caps melting clearly doesn’t raise his pulse rate one mini-millimetre, elections are competitions, and this clown’s incoherent belligerence gets coherent around just one matter of principle – winning.
Postscript: Next year’s voting day (November 3) will also elect a new Congress, which will determine how much the new President can do about anything and everything. All the above unpredictables also apply to those elections.