We’re now in the final hours of the House impeachment process against Donald Trump. Much of it has gone exactly like we expected it would, while there have been a few surprises along the way. Here are five crucial things we’ve learned along the way, which can help us figure out what’s likely to happen next:
1. Nancy Pelosi was always going to impeach. She publicly said from the start that she wouldn’t do it unless she had to. But as we pointed out early on, she knew all along that she was going to have to impeach Trump. After watching what’s played out over the past several weeks, can anyone imagine any scenario in which Pelosi wasn’t going to impeach Trump?
2. Impeachment didn’t magically help Trump. The prevailing narrative was that impeachment would somehow help Donald Trump’s 2020 odds, or even guarantee his reelection. However, there was never any logic behind this notion. Sure enough, Trump’s 2020 poll numbers are as noncompetitive as ever – and even if he’s acquitted in his Senate impeachment trial, it’s not going to help his numbers. If he wants to climb into contention for 2020, he’ll have to find some other way to do it.
3. Some folks really suck. House Republicans are blasphemously comparing Donald Trump to Jesus Christ. They’re unpatriotically comparing impeachment to Pearl Harbor. We always knew these House Republicans were garbage, but this is even more grotesque than we imagined. But it’s not just on one side. Unpopular House Democrat Jeff Van Drew, who was going to face a primary challenge anyway, used impeachment as an excuse to switch parties, which he mistakenly thinks will help his 2020 odds. At least Van Drew is now in the corrupt party he belongs in.
4. Democrats know what they’re doing. Van Drew notwithstanding, the House Democrats have done a highly impressive job of putting forward a competent, consistent, and united front. So much for the media narratives about Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff stepping on each other’s toes, or about “The Squad” rebelling against Nancy Pelosi. If any of that did happen, it certainly didn’t happen in public. House Democrats put on a nearly flawless display during impeachment.
5. Impeachment is a big deal. So what if Donald Trump ends up being acquitted? He now officially has an asterisk, forever, next to his presidency. Many if not most Americans already saw his presidency as illegitimate, thanks to his treasonous plot with Russia to steal the 2016 election, and his multimillion vote loss in the popular vote. Now he’ll forever be defined as one of the very few impeached presidents – until he eventually gets to prison, at which point he’ll be defined as the only imprisoned president.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report