We’re way beyond impeachment now

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen Donald Trump’s approval rating plunge, thus proving that at least some Trump supporters are indeed capable of giving up on him once they’ve finally had enough of his antics. This suggests that if John Bolton had testified during the impeachment process, it could have driven Trump’s approval rating down, and prompted Republican Senators to selfishly decide to oust Trump in the hope of keeping their own political prospects alive.

But that was a lifetime ago. We’re now just four and a half months away from election day. Even if John Bolton’s belated revelations do end up driving Donald Trump’s approval rating all the way into the kind of gutter that might have prompted Senate Republicans to oust him last year, it’s all but impossible to imagine them ousting him at this late date. Even if impeachment were fast tracked, the Republicans would be ousting a sitting Republican President sometime after their own party’s convention.

So this raises the question of what these Republicans in the Senate and House will do if Donald Trump’s numbers keep dropping, and putting the Republicans’ election prospects in danger. Will we see Mitch McConnell privately use the threat of ouster to try to pressure Trump into announcing that he’s not running again? Will a demoralized Trump be willing to give up on the presidency and take his chances with a jury? Will we see some Republicans in moderate states and districts try to opportunistically turn against Trump as part of their reelection efforts? Is there a chance that would work?

The concern for now is that a lot of these House and Senate Republicans are so married to Donald Trump, with so little time to try to figure out how to divorce themselves before the election, they’re just going to decide they’re stuck with him. And in that case, how far will they go to try to prop up Trump’s failing candidacy? In any case, at this point, impeachment isn’t the remedy for Trump’s crimes. Prison is. If Trump loses the election, there’s little doubt left that he’ll end up behind bars. That merely makes the stakes even higher.

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