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A perturbed president, an angry White electorate and divided politics remain hallmarks for 2020

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Dec 30, 2019 - 11:40:28 AM

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WASHINGTON—For the first time in his presidency, Donald J. Trump is heading into the new year with a cloud of uncertainty about his political legacy, which aggravates him greatly.

Despite the president’s public declarations that he isn’t concerned about the House of Representatives voting to impeach him, and the likelihood that the Senate will vote to acquit him, he has told people close to him that he is alarmed by the prospect, according to multiple sources.

The House voted—strictly along party lines, with two Democrats voting with Republicans—230-197 on the first count, soliciting Ukrainian interference investigating political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden; and he directed an “unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives” to obstruct Congress’s lawful investigation into his conduct, reads the second article, which passed 229-198 on Dec. 18.

While the impeachment debate and vote were going on, Mr. Trump sent more than 45 tweets defending himself and amplifying messages from supporters. “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS,” he said in one tweet. “THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”

But as the consequences of federal investigations involving his associates and Democratic control of the House sink in, sources said according to published reports, some minor cracks have emerged in the solid GOP wall.

One of the most prominent evangelical publications in the nation, called for the president’s removal from office. “To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence … Trump should be impeached,” Christianity Today, a prominent magazine, founded by evangelist Billy Graham wrote in an editorial Dec. 19.

Pro-impeachment supporters demonstrate along Bear Valley Road in Victorville, Calif. on Dec. 17.

facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral,” said the magazine.

Then, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told an interviewer she was “disturbed” to hear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promise that he was “in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office” on process for the upcoming trial in the Senate. She expressed hope for a “full and fair process.”

In public, other Republican senators still appear to remain in lockstep with Mr. Trump, though one retired Republican senator said if there was a secret vote on removing the president, he might possibly be removed by the two-thirds vote required. Five sitting Republican senators have already announced their retirements. Those retirees could go along with a secret vote in order to give cover to their colleagues who would like to convict Mr. Trump but are afraid to do so because of politics in their states.

“I heard someone say if there were a private vote (on impeachment in the Senate) there would be 30 Republican votes,” writer Juleana Glover wrote in Politico, quoting former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). “That’s not true. There would be at least 35.”

Columnist Eugene Robinson, writing in The Washington Post, agrees. “I know for a fact that many of them are fully aware of how dangerously unfit Trump is to serve as president. I also know they greatly fear his wrath. Unless public airing of the evidence causes Trump to lose support among the GOP rank-and-file—which is possible but far from guaranteed—the Senate has to be considered highly unlikely to vote for removal.”

But it’s very unlikely there will be a secret vote in the Senate. Mr. McConnell’s original plan was to hold a quick trial, with no witnesses, and no new documents. Some Republicans, who hold the Senate majority, have even floated the idea of having no trial, but simply voting to acquit, or dismiss the impeachment without a trial.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has invited, and Mr. Trump has accepted, to deliver his State of the Union address Feb. 4, which could occur during the impeachment trial itself. Mr. Trump will likely become even more politically belligerent, observers predict.

“So, the good news is here, those are the dying dinosaurs. And they know it,” filmmaker Michael Moore told “Democracy Now!”

“They know it because the demographic has changed. It’s not their America anymore. Seventy percent of the eligible voters next November are either women, people of color or young people between 18 and 35. That’s the majority of the people eligible to vote next year, not them (Whites).

“They’re the minority. They know it. They know the country has changed. And they know by the 2040s White people will be the minority in this country. And that’s really—the racial element of this never really gets discussed, but I think that is what’s hugely driving them.

“The problem is, is that he will—if the vote were today, I believe, he would win the electoral states that he would need, because, living out there, I will tell you, his level of support has not gone down one inch,” Mr. Moore continued. “In fact, I’d say it’s even more rabid than it was before, because they’re afraid now. They’re afraid he could lose, because they watched his behavior. So, they are voracious in their appetite for Donald Trump. That’s the bad news.

“The good news is, again, number one, never forget, there’s more of us than there are of them. The majority of the American people agree with us. Seventy percent of the voters next year are women, people of color and young adults. OK? All that on our side. So, what we have to do is we have to make sure we don’t give them another Hillary Clinton to vote for,” said Mr. Moore.

Speaker Pelosi has proven to be a wary adversary. She has held up transmitting the approved articles of impeachment to the Senate chamber, denying Mr. McConnell the opportunity to have his way with the process.

“We are ready,” said Ms. Pelosi, who promised not to send the charges or name the lawmakers who would prosecute the case against Mr. Trump until she was certain of a fair process for a Senate trial. “When we see what they have, we will know who and how many we will send over,” she told reporters.

Meanwhile, members of the House Judiciary Committee held open the possibility of recommending additional articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump as it pressed anew for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn. The committee wants a federal appeals court to order Mr. McGahn to testify as it examines potential obstruction of justice by the president during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The committee says Mr. Mc- Gahn’s testimony could also be useful for any Senate impeachment trial.

But there will be “nothing less than a civil war,” if Mr. Trump is removed from office, according to reporting from Golden Stead, Arizona by Astead W. Herndon, writing in The New York Times from a so-called “Trumpstock Festival” in late December.

Angry White conservatives are pleased with Mr. Trump, they support him and believe he will be reelected because he has not forgotten to deliver on his promises to “forgotten Americans;” because he has tightened up on eligibility for food stamps and other government assistance for the needy; because his so-called “maximum pressure” campaign is apparently crippling Iran; because his “Project Life Rule” has delivered the most crippling blow to Planned Parenthood in three decades; and because he has packed the courts with ultra- conservative judges, more than 100 in all, 50 to various appeals courts, 13 even on the day the impeachment vote was taken.