I try to avoid writing about politics every week, but with Syria and impeachment proceedings, the last couple of weeks have likely been the most consequential in the Trump presidency. Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria caused more backlash from his own party than anything else he has done to date. That decision alone could, for the first time, sway a few R’s against the president. The images of Kurdish people being slaughtered are too horrible to contemplate. An op-ed by retired Admiral William H. McRaven, who led the Bin Laden raid, makes a pretty strong case about how the decision in Syria weakens our national security interests.
However, the question on everyone’s mind is how the impeachment inquiry will play out. Without knowing any details of the investigation, I predict that Trump will be the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by Congress, but like Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson before him, he will be acquitted by the Senate. With Democrats in power in the House of Representatives, there is little doubt they will find enough dirt on Trump to rally enough votes in their caucus to impeach the president. However, in order to remove a president from office the Senate must conduct a trial and a full two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict. That’s a very high bar, especially for a president who is as popular with Republican voters as Trump. In an election year, I don’t believe there is a chance that 48 Democratic senators and 19 Republican ones would vote to make Donald Trump the first U.S. president to be removed from office by impeachment and conviction. Only a dramatic shift in Republican voter opinion would change that, and Trump has already demonstrated that he has the most die-hard followers of any president in recent history. It’s not going to happen. So, the big question is how moderate voters will respond to the impeachment process. Will they punish Democrats at the 2020 election for conducting a partisan witch hunt or will they finally be tired of the Trump circus? A lot depends on what is discovered and how long the process takes. We will soon find out.