Why Trump Isn’t Getting Impeached This Time

I’m no political expert, but here is my thinking as to why Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats may have decided not to even try to impeach and remove President Trump (this time): they want him right where he is.

Before the mob breached the Capitol yesterday, Trump was powerful enough within the GOP that he could pose a real threat to Democrats in the future. That’s why they tried to remove him previously. (Yes, he was also guilty in my mind, but the political considerations may have dominated.) In 2020 he really scared them by performing much better than polls expected. So a Trump strong enough to dominate the GOP and maybe run again in 2024 is a real threat.

But after the mob breached the capitol yesterday, Trump’s stock went down dramatically with the middle and the right (not just the left). Even many of his own supporters were horrified, which is why we already have ridiculous conspiracy theories about a false flag operation. That tells you how badly Trump screwed up: his devoted followers refuse to believe it was him. As a result, he no longer poses as much of a threat to the Democrats, but he’s still strong enough to hamstring the GOP from within.

If he is impeached and removed he cannot run again in 2024. That would be a killing blow (politically). His faction of the GOP was always a personality cult and never about ideology, so it would collapse without him. (There’s some chance it restarts under Ivanka or something, but thta’s probably a more distant threat.)

The GOP could respond to the vacuum left by Trump’s faction by ushering back in the #NeverTrump conservatives: the only Republicans left with any honor intact after yesterday. They, in turn, would probably be wise enough to incorporate the legitimate populist grievances that Trump initially leveraged, infusing their high-brow philosophy with a compelling pitch to ordinary Americans. This isn’t certain, but there’s a real path forward to a rehabilitated, resurgent GOP that is even stronger than it ever was before or under Trump.

The simplest route for Democrats to stave off this possibility is to leave Trump where he is: a polarizing figure with enough power to tear the GOP apart but not enough to dominate it as he has in the past. If he can run in 2024, he’s not going anywhere and his reduced faction will stay in place, forestalling any sweeping reform of the GOP. The GOP, in turn, will still be strong enough to pre-empt the rise of a real replacement party.

Napoleon said: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” That applies here.
Trump’s buffoonish attempts at a coup were a colossal political mistake. Now that Trump has enraged the broad middle of America (not just the left), they won’t remove him ’cause he’s too useful where he is: an anvil on the prospects of their political rivals.

3 thoughts on “Why Trump Isn’t Getting Impeached This Time”

  1. Excellent post, Nathaniel. Thank you. It’s nice to have a British passport in times like these. You should get one:)

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