Poll numbers in favor of Donald Trump’s impeachment keep rising, from the high thirties last month, to the high forties this month. Those numbers will continue to climb as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi continues to push Trump into behaving even more embarrassingly and erratically than ever. Yet Pelosi is still waiting to begin even so much as an impeachment inquiry. Does she know something we don’t?
The polling trend, and the increasing number of Congress members who are publicly in favor of it, means that the impeachment process is inevitable. It’s going to happen eventually and Pelosi knows it. In fact there are only a couple of things that could stop it from happening. One such thing would be Trump cutting a resignation plea deal, which he should be thinking about right now, but he probably isn’t. The other such thing would be Trump announcing that he’s not going to run in 2020 after all.
Under the right circumstances, the latter could end up being a possibility – not now, but down the road. Even Donald Trump can see that he’s hopelessly behind in the 2020 polls, with no clear path for turning things around. If enough time passes and Trump’s 2020 prospects fail to improve or get even worse, why would he want to bother running and losing? Sure, he wants to continue his 2020 campaign to raise funds and pocket them, as he’s been doing for the past couple years. But it would actually be easier for him to raid his campaign’s piggy bank if he’s planning not to see things all the way through, because he wouldn’t need to use any of the money to run a general election campaign.
This brings us back to Nancy Pelosi. Look at what she’s zeroed in on. She’s pushing the notion that Donald Trump isn’t fit for office. He should take a leave of absence. He needs an intervention. She seems to be telling his staff and his family to convince him to pull out of the 2020 race before things get any worse for him. He won’t do that now, because the sheer amount of remaining time before 2020 means he could theoretically find a way to turn things around. But once we gets closer to the election, his prospects will begin to shrink – and so will his options.
So maybe Nancy Pelosi really is trying to corner Donald Trump so that he’s in a position where his most viable path forward is to announce – perhaps in early 2020 – that he’s not going to run again. He could simply tell himself and his base that he doesn’t need a second term because he’s already accomplished more than any other president. If Pelosi thinks she can push him in that direction, impeaching him in the meantime – which wouldn’t result in his removal by Senate unless something major changes – could cause him to dig in his heels instead of negotiating a way out.
Donald Trump is in line to be indicted, arrested, and put on trial the minute he leaves office, on both a federal and state level. But if he agrees not to seek a second term, he could be banking on the hope that it would cause prosecutors to see him as a lesser priority, or that public demand for his imprisonment would drop. Pelosi has spent more up-close time with Trump than anyone else in the Democratic Party – including multiple private meetings with him – so she’s gotten a good look at just how badly his cognitive and mental abilities are failing. Maybe she really does think she can convince the people around him to convince him not to run again. It’s something to at least think about.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report