Today begins the last act of Donald Trump’s political life, with his Senate impeachment trial getting underway. Senate Democrats will use the trial to educate the public on Trump’s guilt. Senate Republicans will face the no-win choice of having to decide whether convicting him or not convicting him will cause more damage to their own reelection prospects in 2022.
If Trump is convicted, which is unlikely but possible, the Senate might then decide to hand down the punishment of banning Trump from ever seeking office again. But either way, Trump won’t be a factor in 2024. He’s already a defeated, fragile, shrinking figure who couldn’t even bring himself to grab the spotlight of testifying at his own impeachment trial. By 2024 he’ll be fully broken, bankrupt, and in prison.
So yeah, this impeachment trial is indeed the last act of Trump’s political life. But when you consider that he’ll end up facing one or more criminal trials (New York State is a given; the other jurisdictions are an open question), we suppose you could argue that those trials will count as the final acts of his public life. But given the glacially slow pace at which the criminal justice system plays out, those trials might not take place for another year, even if Trump were to be arrested next week.
That means this impeachment trial does count as something of a finale for Donald Trump. What a humiliating, yet fitting, way for him to go out. Even if the Republicans acquit him, it won’t be a victory for him, as it won’t benefit him in any way. The impeachment trial is yet another step in Trump’s dismantling. His criminal trials will be the final step. But considering how small, irrelevant, and incapable he’s become just three weeks after getting booted from office, he’s washed up already. This impeachment trial is merely kicking well deserved dirt in his face for all to see.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report