Trump Gained Much from Impeachment, but He Also Lost



The result of the American president’s impeachment trial, which turned out to be the failure that was expected for the Democrats and other opponents of Donald Trump, still cannot be called a total victory for Trump. The road to another term in the White House has certainly been smooth and comfortable, but he still hasn’t achieved his main objective.

Looking back, what’s significant is that in recent decades, each president has tried to present himself during the campaign for a second term as the candidate of every American. Take a look at Barack Obama. He started his second presidential term by calling upon not only his Democratic supporters or his Republican opponents, but on “all of us.”

It looks as though Trump won’t have this opportunity. The president has been unable to achieve one of his own primary goals for the impeachment trial, which, in my opinion, was designed by Donald John himself. One of the aims of this design was to elicit a visible demonstration of bipartisan support for the president from both his Republicans and his Democratic rivals. For this, he needed just one vote in favor of acquittal from among the Democratic senators.

This actually happened in the House! On Dec. 18, 2019, during the vote in the House of Representatives, Reps. Collin Peterson (Democrat of Minnesota), Jeff Van Drew (former Democrat, now Republican of New Jersey) and Jared Golden (Democrat of Maine) voted in favor of Trump, while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat of Hawaii) abstained from the voting process. If Trump had received one vote in his favor during the vote in the Senate, then he would have had an official basis for referring to himself in the upcoming presidential campaign as “America’s” candidate: both the Republican America and the Democratic America.

But that didn’t happen. And what’s more, Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, voted against his own party leader on the first charge (abuse of power). The remaining senators voted strictly along party lines.

This is just a trivial matter, of course, but now Trump can’t even talk truthfully about the unity of his own party because he will immediately have his face rubbed in the Romney issue. And the fact that Trump and Romney’s historic relationship is not without its gray patches doesn’t bother anyone. Here is a speech that Mitt gave at the Hinckley Institute of Politics: “Trump is a phony, a fraud […] He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers.” (March 3, 2016).

But as strange as it sounds, the United States really needs unity right now. This is because for the past few years, people have been speaking more frequently and with increasing concern about the rising tensions between poor, traditional, Republican Middle America and the rich and progressive coastal states. Political maps of the U.S. only confirm the significance of the problem.

However, representing the “symbol of American unity” isn’t Trump’s concern. In the upcoming campaign he won’t need to rely on everyone, just on his own people, on his Republican base. But he shouldn’t have any problems with this. Because, regardless of Romney’s demarche, the Republicans are more monolithic than ever, whereas the Democrats are in clear disarray and wandering around aimlessly, as Iowa and New Hampshire proved.

Of course, drawing conclusions based on the results of presidential primaries in just two states is quite frivolous, but nonetheless possible, given that they are the first in a series. This means they are more noticeable and will set an example for as yet undecided voters.

There was no doubt among the Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire. At the first event, on Feb. 3, Trump received 39 out of 40 votes from the delegates to the upcoming Republican National Convention. And in New Hampshire, on Feb. 11, he banked all 20 votes.

The Democrats weren’t just involved in a scandal over the delay in tabulating the final results in Iowa; there was also a lack of leadership. Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders received roughly the same number of delegates (a quarter of the vote each, 13 and 12 delegate votes respectively), but Elizabeth Warren was breathing down their necks (receiving 20% and eight delegates), while Joe Biden (13.7%, and six delegates) and Amy Klobuchar (12.3% and one delegate) were dawdling somewhere in the distance.

(For reference: In 2016, the votes in the Iowa caucuses were distributed almost equally: Hillary Clinton received 23 delegates, while Sanders received 21. So, the Democrats had a clear pair of leaders. Now there’s no such thing.)

In New Hampshire, first prize in the Democrat primaries (24 delegates) was split between Sanders at nine, Buttigieg at nine and, somewhat unexpectedly, Amy Klobuchar at six. In 2016, however, the Democrats had an unrivalled pair of leaders in this state − the same Sanders and Clinton. From this, we might conclude that the Democrats, in contrast to the Republicans, have a group of contestants but not a traditional “leading pair.” And there’s fewer than 10 months until the elections.

Of course, this isn’t really a conclusion, just a draft of one. For it to happen once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence. But the third time is just around the corner: Super Tuesday, March 3, when presidential primaries will be held in 14 states. From this day on, we will be able to predict the results. Nevertheless, the first two acts of this presidential spectacle are already giving us food for prognoses.

And there’s still one thing that will certainly be warming Trump’s heart, which has been tormented by the impeachment trial. Up until now, his main rival for the White House was Biden, former vice president under Obama. Judging by a new nationwide opinion poll (Ipsos, Feb. 10), Biden would be able to beat Trump right now by 44% to 42%. Trump, in the name of defeating Biden, probably crafted the whole Ukrainian episode involving the former vice president and his son’s corrupt activity in the expanses of Ukraine under Petro Poroshenko, thus turning that same Ukraine into a global symbol of corruption.

This has paid off. In Iowa, Biden took 13.7% of the vote and 15.6% of the pledged delegates, leaving the “unviable candidate” dangling on the edge (having received less than 15% of the vote). But in New Hampshire Biden actually become unviable with 8.4% of the vote and no pledged delegates. And this is just the beginning. Trump is clearly planning on finishing both Biden and the Democrats off with his “Ukraine case” story.

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