Practically every political expert in the United States, those who know U.S. history and its constitutional processes, took it for granted that the Senate would not remove President Donald Trump from office, something his fierce adversaries from the Democratic Party were hoping for.
Since Trump’s Republican Party had the majority of seats and votes in the Senate, which is what it takes to decide whether or not to remove a sitting president, it was highly unlikely that they would approve his removal.
Also, the charges against President Trump were not sufficiently well founded. Even if he had committed an offense, it did not deserve the extreme penalty of removal from office. Anyone who has observed this process from an independent perspective, without passion or prejudice, could clearly see that the Democrats had a political motive in their indictment: to remove Trump so that he could not be reelected to a second term and, in any case, discredit him politically and undermine his candidacy.
However, the leaders of the Democratic Party risked facing a boomerang effect with this venture. In other words, if they failed it would backfire, which is what indeed happened.
Trump emerged victorious from his impeachment trial and, at the same time, out front in the polls since his political image was strengthened and, therefore, so were his chances of reelection in November. Thanks to the failed process of removal, Trump gained 10 points in popularity, according to a Gallup poll survey. Almost half the population, 49%, supports him after this trial.
In January 2012, the year of his reelection, Gallup recorded a 42% approval rating for President Barack Obama, with 8% undecided. Trump, on the other hand, not only has 49% approval but also barely 1% undecided. Given those statistics, experts say that it is almost impossible that Trump would not win reelection in November.
However, the lesson from the failed impeachment process goes beyond the election itself. What is really most important is that U.S. democracy proved its strength, flexibility and stability.
It demonstrated that, within U.S. democracy, even the highest government official can be accused before the relevant political and judicial bodies,* even to the point of demanding removal of the president in accordance with the Constitution, without anyone − unless they are an extremist or a fool − being able to call this an attempted coup.
The worst consequences would be incidental. For example, the accused president would refuse to shake hands with his implacable accuser and she would tear up his speech. This is what happened on the night of Jan. 3,** when Trump gave his State of the Union speech before the U.S. Congress.
*Editor’s note: The U.S. Constitution provides that a president can be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate.
**Translator’s note: The State of the Union speech was given on Feb. 4, 2020.