This Wednesday, Joe Biden, who this time last year was looking at electoral oblivion in the Democrat
Primaries, becomes the 46th President of the United States. That’s a sentence this observer never thought he’d write. Donald Trump will ignominiously leave Washington the morning of the inauguration and head for Florida. This is probably the right thing to do. Vice President Mike Pence will represent the outgoing administration.
In wake of the January 6th riots, Capitol Hill is blocked off with barbed wire topped fences and the city occupied by 30,000 soldiers. The Washington Elite looks upon Army and National Guard troops with great suspicion and has called for their vetting to root out rightwing radicals and Trump supporters. Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee speculated that only 25% of the troops protecting Washington voted for Trump and, fearing some kind of ‘inside attack', Cohen declared, ‘The other 75% are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something.’
Democrats think Trump is forever branded a failure, and worse, an insurrectionist. They have set history’s narrative, Democrats think. But that’s not how history works. Time passes, new presidents come and go, new facts come to light as historians sift through the archives, and the public comes to an understanding about the past. In 1953, Harry Truman left office under a cloud of failure, official Washington blamed him for labor unrest and ‘losing China’. When his term ended in 1989, the press mocked Ronald Reagan as an amiable dunce who ‘sleepwalked through history’. George Herbert Walker Bush seemed a run-down relic of another age who looked at his watch during one of the debates. The United States Navy has named aircraft carriers after all three men. There has never been an aircraft carrier named after Herbert Hoover.
The Democrats will hound Trump out of office. He still faces a criminal probe conducted in the Southern District of the State of New York. Then, there is the matter of impeachment. With barely a week left in his term, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Democrats impeached President Trump again. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to take up the single article accusing Trump of fomenting an insurrection, so it will be dealt with only after Trump leaves office. Pelosi and the House Dems think they have burned a symbolic scarlet I on Trump’s presidency. However, historians have roundly condemned the two other presidential impeachments in American history, that of Andrew Johnson in 1868 for violating the Tenure of Service Act, and Bill Clinton in 1998 over the Lewinsky affair. A McLaughlin & Associates poll taken last week found that 60% of all voters in battleground states thought the second impeachment was ‘a waste of time’ and 48% of all voters in battleground states were less likely to vote for a congressperson who supported impeachment. The Democrats are wasting valuable political capital and time with an act of petty vindictiveness.
The Dems hoped impeachment would split the GOP, but only ten Republican house members voted for the single article. Among them was Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, chair of the Republican House Caucus and daughter of former Vice President, Secretary of Defense, and Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney. Referring to the January 6th Riot on Capitol Hill, Liz Cheney said, ‘None of this would have happened without the President.’ Pro Trump members of the GOP caucus are plotting to remove Cheney from her leadership post. Though her name holds great sway in Wyoming, the state GOP issued an eight-point statement disavowing Cheney. ‘The Democrats are using [the Capitol Hill Riot] to smear the entire conservative movement and all Republicans. By voting to impeach, Representative Cheney is helping them in that effort,’ the statement said in part.
So begins the war for the post-Trump GOP. For the Trump-populist wing, the very name Cheney represents the GOP establishment, endless wars, and the Chamber of Commerce. The above-mentioned poll found 76% of Trump voters and 80% of the GOP overall were less likely to vote for a congressperson who voted for impeachment. Clearly, turning on Trump and presenting a respectable face to the media is a losing issue for candidates seeking the Republican nomination in 2024. That is, if Trump does not run himself. Right now, he would win the nomination in a walk. After all, his supporters believe the Dems stole the election. But, if Trump does not run, the race is wide open to a half dozen candidates. These range from Vice President Mike Pence, to libertarian senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, to establishment politicians like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. All of them will need to embrace Trump.