Donald Trump’s target audience keeps shrinking. It’s now down to 20 Senators, a couple of cable network executives and Vladimir Putin.
While conventional wisdom suggests any President or other elected official would be hell bent on “greater than 50%” as their goal, Trump has painted himself into a very unique corner: He needs FOX and he needs to hold 20 Republican Senators in order to survive not just politically, but perhaps to keep him out of prison for as long as possible. He also needs Putin’s continued assistance.
It’s highly likely the new Democrat-led House will impeach Trump once the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is released. While Trump may attempt to dictate which parts of the Mueller report can be released, he will fail. Even firing Mueller won’t save him now. The House can have Mueller testify in a public hearing, which will air every piece of dirt Trump wants swept under the rug. There will be (and already is) bountiful fodder on which to launch impeachment proceedings against the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
In order to convict Trump in the Senate once the House impeaches him, it will take at least 20 Republican Senators to get the job done. Impossible? Nope. In fact, it’s likely it will happen. They will fall like dominoes as Trump flails helplessly, becoming more unhinged and incoherent with each deranged tweet.
As noted in this space just weeks after the midterms, there are 22 Republican Senate seats for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to defend in 2020. Democrats only have 12 on the ballot. McConnell’s job is to pick up, retain, or salvage as many GOP Senate seats as he can. His job is not to defend Donald Trump. And should what is revealed about Trump prove indefensible as Mueller and House Democrats start showing their hand, McConnell won’t risk anything for Trump.
It’s likely McConnell, FOX News and other key GOP power centers are quietly nudging Trump towards an exit ramp as he increasingly becomes a liability for them. Trump’s hard core base will stay with him even if every piece of the Steele dossier is proven true (none has been disproven and much already has be confirmed) or his family members and associates are indicted and found guilty of conspiring with Russia, obstruction of justice, money laundering, perjury and more.
Even Richard Nixon held onto 24% support as he fled Washington in disgrace after resigning the presidency after his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up was exposed.
Mitch McConnell will give a nuanced “wink and a nod” to Republican Senators, one-by-one, to announce they will vote to convict Trump, as Trump’s base in their home states erodes.
When the GOP Senators start turning on Trump and it appears it won’t take long to reach that magic number of 20 to convict Trump and toss him out of office, Trump will cut a deal and resign.
FOX News is already inching towards extricating at least parts of the network from the grip of Trump’s teeny tiny hands as they understand their survival depends on it with each new ratings report showing MSNBC cleaning their clock.
GOP lawmakers and right wing media and media figures don’t care about Trump. They never have. When he stops being good for them, they will stop being good to him.
But here’s where it gets fun if you enjoy a good old frothy, sweaty, screaming, vapid Trump meltdown as much as I do: The longer Trump waits to cut a deal and resign, the greater the chance he won’t get any sort of a deal for him or his family. He will be thrown out of office and subject to being punished under the fullest extent of the law -- just like the rest of us would be had we committed even a fraction of the crimes it appears he has.
The Trump perp walk will be a ratings bonanza.