Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Madam President + GOP Senate = impeachment

The real Comey Effect is not going to influence Hillary Clinton's coronation.  It's going to trim her coattails in the Congress, and that spells more DC dysfunction for 2017 and beyond.  Heather Digby Parton sets it up with the death of Antonin Scalia, the continued stalling of Merrick Garland, and, well ... take it from there.

...(I)f the GOP fails to win the White House and  maintains their Senate majority, there’s a good possibility that the Republicans won’t confirm any new justices appointed by Hillary Clinton, ever. Indeed, if other justices retire or die, one can imagine the court dwindling down in number for years. Keeping the Democrats from nominating Supreme Court justices is now a GOP litmus test.

And let’s face it, this is a foreshadowing of something even more disruptive and dangerous. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have increasingly seen Democratic presidents as illegitimate. They said Bill Clinton wasn’t “their president” because he won with a plurality, rather than a majority. (Which may well happen this year as well.) The GOP-led Congress spent years trying to drive him from office on trumped up charges. Many in the Republican rank and file believed that Barack Obama was ineligible for the White House because he was a secret Muslim who had lied about being born in America.  Their decades long “voter fraud” myth has created an underlying sense among their voters that our election systems are always tilted against them by Democrats trying to steal elections.

But this election has taken it to an entirely different level. We’ve never seen a presidential candidate state in advance that he believes the vote is rigged and declare he will only accept he outcome if he wins. Even if he ends up conceding in some technical sense, his voters will never truly accept his loss and Trump will be a martyr to their cause. In that sense, Donald Trump has already won regardless of the actual vote count.

(Let's pause for a lengthy sidebar and reassure nervous Donkeys that despite Nate Silver's fairly ominous header, Clinton is still very likely to sail into the White House with 300+ Electoral College votes.  You like your data deeper?  Scroll down to 'reversion to the mean'.  This is the most conservative map I can come up with at the moment:

Click the map to create your own at

Kindly note that I have awarded Ohio to Trump.  Even if he were to prevail in the gray "tossup" states I've indicated above, he comes up short.  He would still need all three plus, for example, New Hampshire and Nevada in order to win.)  Update: Lagging African American turnout in FL, NC, and OH was factored into the above.  Update II: Oh my, look what Walt Hickey at just posted:

Trump does not have as many avenues to victory as Clinton, but a few states are slightly better than average for him.

North Carolina is an interesting one. When North Carolina tips the race to Trump, he has usually carried Ohio, Florida and Nevada, plus New Hampshire, with the Midwest potentially up for grabs.

Back to Digby.  And as with climate change, Obama's birth certificate, and voter "fraud", conservatives don't make rational decisions based on factual evidence.

We’ve also never had a presidential candidate delegitimized before the election even occurs. Trump routinely claims that Hillary Clinton should “not have been allowed” to run because  she is “guilty as hell” of unnamed crimes and has promised to imprison her if he wins the office. His followers are convinced this is true and chant “Lock her up!” and “Hang the bitch!” at his rallies. (The outrageous actions of the FBI director last Friday have only made such people more certain in that belief.)

Tuesday night in Wisconsin, Trump declared that if Clinton wins the election “it would create an unprecedented crisis and the work of government would grind to an unbelievably inglorious halt.” In fact, he and the Republicans are now making that an explicit promise. Some, like Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson (who faces likely defeat in his re-election battle), are actually running on that agenda. He told a local newspaper this week that he believed Clinton will be impeached should she win the office.

I would say yes, high crime or misdemeanor, I believe she is in violation of both laws [related to gathering, transmission or destruction of defense information or official government record]. She purposefully circumvented it. This was willful concealment and destruction.
Unfortunately, Johnson is not the only one already talking about impeachment:

It’s always possible that this is an election season bluff designed to make some people vote for Trump out of fear that the Republicans will completely shut down the government if Clinton is president. It’s the kind of thuggish hostage-taking gambit in which they’ve come to specialize. (“Nice little country you have here. Be a shame if anything happened to it …”) But it’s also possible they will follow through on these threats simply because it’s all they have. As Brian Beutler wrote in the New Republic:
 [W]hat they’re seeking is to hold together their broken party for long enough to make another run at complete control of government in 2020. Republicans are no longer seeking any substantive ends in the interim — just the power to obstruct and the power to manufacture scandal.

The crippling of the Supreme Court is just a first step. If they fail to win the White House, the destruction of Hillary Clinton will be their common purpose, the only goal that can bring them all back together.

And there you have it, folks.  More of the past eight years for the next four years.  Obama's third term, indeed.

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