Listen…obviously, I don’t want to make what happened in Washington DC on Wednesday about myself. But when it comes to major news breaking that significantly changes the circumstances around whatever article I just published, I can’t catch a break lately!
On Wednesday morning, I finished uploading an article titled, Wednesday is Trump’s Last Chance to Challenge Biden Win (Don’t Bet on It) just-before 7 AM. It was all about the various options Mike Pence, and Republicans in Congress had at their disposal to challenge the 2020 presidential election result.
I concluded that it would be all-but-impossible for them to overturn Joe Biden’s win or even sustain an objection to certifying any disputed states’ electors.
I figured that while Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley’s objections were doomed to fail, the grandstanding might pay off in 2024 when GOP candidates would be vying for Donald Trump’s endorsement and the support of his massive loyal base.
I ended the piece with the following:
Meanwhile, MAGA nation – the massive voting bloc, ownership of which is at the heart of this struggle — is poised to continue taking to the streets, where they’ve already seen several altercations with police. Let’s just hope for the nation’s sake that the political fighting is mostly contained to Capitol Hill.
Wednesday will likely set the table for the GOP’s future. If Trump and his supporters play this straight, they can live to fight another day in four years.
Maybe I should have clarified what I meant by hoping the “political fighting is mostly contained to Capitol Hill.”
All the MAGA crowd had to do was “play it straight” like I said and behave themselves, and they – along with their leader – would have been a dominant force in Republican politics for the foreseeable future.
Now, there’s a chance that every ounce of that influence was lost for good.
- Five people are dead, and dozens of Capitol officers were wounded;
- Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley’s promising 2024 presidential campaigns – if not their congressional careers — are in jeopardy;
- any hope of Donald Trump running again in 2024 is finished; and
- the MAGA brand of conservatism went from having enough influence to potentially decide the next Republican primary to being associated with domestic terrorism (although, I’m not yet ready to write them off entirely as a factor in four years).
Not only did the chaos unleashed on the Capitol force Donald Trump to concede the election finally, but he will also probably be removed from office before January 20. Prominent voices throughout the political spectrum are calling for Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, declaring the President unfit to serve.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
If that doesn’t happen, they plan to impeach him again – and the Democrats might have the Senate votes, thanks to Mitch McConnell and Co., to successfully convict and remove Trump this time.
What’s the point of impeaching him only two weeks before he leaves office anyway?
If a President is impeached and removed, they can’t run for office again.
Remember, he was going to hold a MAGA rally during Biden’s inauguration, then use the threat of another presidential campaign to raise money and wield immense influence in US politics – especially on the right – for the next four years? Even though I predicted he’d never follow through with running, the possibility that he MIGHT was critical to staying relevant and maximizing his power within the GOP.
Their plan to storm the Capitol, delay Congress’s certification process, and force officials to investigate allegations of election fraud – all in the name of overturning Biden’s victory and keeping Trump in office for four more years – the MAGA protesters:
- forced him to concede,
- rebranded MAGA as a domestic terrorist organization,
- lost their political leverage (at least for the immediate future),
- and — best-case scenario — ended their hero’s political career. It could end up that their actions see him convicted and imprisoned – those consequences are still up in the air.
Reevaluating the 2024 Republican Primary Field
Surprisingly, Wednesday’s actions haven’t impacted 2024 presidential election betting lines to the degree I expected. Despite the significant disruption to the US political landscape, Trump, Cruz, and Hawley’s odds of winning the GOP nomination have remained relatively stable.
Some political betting sites have lengthened the President’s odds, but only slightly. Instead of being the favorite to win the 2024 nomination, most oddsmakers moved Trump just behind or even with the now-favored Vice President Mike Pence.
Here are the 2024 Republican primary odds being offered by Bovada:
|2024 Republican Nominee||Betting Odds|
|Donald Trump Sr||+400|
I’ll be keeping a close eye on additional line movements in the coming weeks.
So far, Bovada has only dropped Donald Trump’s odds to +400 – still tied with Mike Pence as the favorite. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley may be subjects of intense media scorn and mounting pressure to resign, but their betting lines have remained steady.
Four years is a long time, after all. Social media and cable news may make it seem as if their political careers are over, but the wounds of what happened on Wednesday are still fresh. The American people have short attention spans, and the media needs a new outrage to sell every week or so.
As long as they withstand these early charges of “inciting violence” and “sedition,” they’ll remain in the hunt for 2024.
Speaking of the accusations against them, they all stem from the two Senators’ willingness to object to certifying state electors. Democrats and political pundits seem to be equating their acknowledgment of potential election fraud with encouraging crowds of MAGA supporters to storm the halls of Congress.
Nowhere was I able to find a quote that could be construed as encouraging violence or even telling people to demonstrate. They merely said they’d object to a few states being certified and asked for the formation of a special election committee to look more closely into the allegations of fraud.
Here’s why this is important:
The media and liberal institutions are making the same mistake with these two Senators as they’ve repeatedly made with Trump. Whenever a scandal or crisis arises that could reflect poorly on the President or his allies, they overplay their hand to make the charges as salacious and controversial as possible.
In every case, they seem to believe that if they blow things up dramatically enough, it’ll finally be the end of the Trump era. And every time, by over-exaggerating and reaching for evidence that just isn’t there, they discount the legitimate issues.
- Saying that you believe there was election fraud is not inciting violence. If it were, every Russiagate believer would be in jail.
- Calling for your supporters to protest is not inciting violence. If it were, every Democratic lawmaker who told their followers to join this Summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations would be responsible for every store looted, every business burned to the ground and a litany of other violent acts.
Yet, I believe we can all agree that it’s unfair to blame those Democratic members of Congress for their supporters’ actions, over whom they have no real control beyond encouraging them to attend.
Also, Democrats have done the same thing Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz did every time their presidential candidate lost an election in the last 20 years (2000, 2004, 2016). They’ve launched objections during the electoral certification process every single time. And even if the mainstream media doesn’t point out this hypocrisy, the information will still get around.
This brings me back to the mistake they always make.
Instead of ending Hawley and Cruz’s careers, these overzealous accusations of horrible crimes will make them sympathetic figures on the right. Eventually, it will probably even increase their popularity!
Change of Heart
Honestly, as I watched things unfold yesterday, I thought everyone associated with this event was screwed. When I first started writing this article, I intended to discuss how their chances of winning the GOP nomination in 2024 were in the gutter.
However, between the hysterical reaction to their fairly routine actions in Congress yesterday and what we’ve learned during the Donald Trump years, I think it may be the opposite.
I recently wrote about a research paper that found that voters care more about cultural issues than economics.
It explained that Trump’s popularity isn’t as rooted in his populist messaging as believed previously; his supporters like him because he pisses off the people they hate – the snobby political elite, academia, and bi-coastal media influencers.
Rejecting political correctness and “woke” ideologies means more to Trump supporters than his trade deals or the stock market’s success.
Well, the backlash aimed at Cruz and Hawley plays right into those feelings. The entire establishment is coming down on them for daring to ask for more transparency regarding election integrity, for speaking out on behalf of Trump supporters’ beloved President.
Again, four years is a long time. Who knows what political decisions these men will make or what new controversies in which they’ll find themselves between now and 2024.
Either way, Trump supporters aren’t going anywhere.
They may be less vocal about their MAGA affiliation and could even abandon Donald Trump. However, there will still be a sizable population of working-class conservatives with disdain for the ruling class.
So, the more hatred and outraged calls to step down Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have piled on, the more appealing they could potentially become to a crucial subsect of the Republican electorate.
Will Donald Trump be Impeached Again?
Where the fallout from Wednesday’s riots will have the most profound effect on US political betting is in how it impacts Donald Trump’s future political plans.
Democrats have already promised to file more articles of impeachment if the President’s VP and Cabinet don’t agree to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him sooner.
Will New Articles of impeachment Be Filed Before 1/20?
- Matchup Odds
“Each and every one of those days is a threat to democracy,” Schumer said on Thursday, referring to Trump’s two remaining weeks in the White House. “The quickest and most effective way to remove this president from office is to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
Asked about the timing of a second impeachment after Congress adjourned for at least the rest of the week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, “I don’t know how quickly [Pence] might respond. We’ll see.”
Reportedly, when Democratic leadership called the Vice President to encourage him to remove President Trump, Pence’s staff left them on hold for over 25 minutes, only returning to explain that he wouldn’t come to the phone. Between that story and several of Trump’s Cabinet secretaries resigning, I’d say that bodes poorly for Dems’ 25th Amendment hopes.
If they want to punish Donald Trump for what they’re calling “inciting an insurrection against the country,” it’s going to be through impeachment.
A large faction within the Democratic caucus has already sent letters to Congressional leadership urging both chambers to reconvene and immediately open impeachment proceedings. Two articles of impeachment have been prepared – one for “abuse of power” for the President’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State and another for “incitement of insurrection.”
Under normal circumstances, neither of these charges would have a chance in hell of resulting in convictions. Both cases require the observer to take the least generous interpretation of Trump’s words and fill in a lot of blanks to find the President guilty.
The entire case against him for incitement is based on Donald Trump repeatedly claiming that the election was rigged and encouraging his followers to protest on Capitol Hill and pressure their representatives to object to certifying the election.
If you ask for a specific example of the President promoting violence, this is the quote his detractors point to:
“We will never give up; we will never concede…We will stop the steal. We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol…We’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones…the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
That’s pretty standard political protest language. Gather up all your supporters, demonstrate outside the halls of power, and hope that by showing such massive numbers, members of Congress will feel it’s in their best interest to get behind the movement.
I don’t see where he’s advocating breaking into the Capitol buildings or intimidating officials and stopping the certification process. He’s mostly saying the usual puffed-up Donald Trump salesman stuff. If what he said counts as inciting violence, then many questions from this Summer need answering.
Democrats continually turned to social media to encourage their supporters to participate in protests that frequently turned violent. Businesses were looted and burned to the ground, and people were surrounded and beaten.
Personally, I was in favor of American citizens taking to the streets to pressure the system and enact change; but if we’re holding politicians responsible for what’s done by the crowds at demonstrations they promoted or organized, it should go both ways.
Not that what I think about the situation makes a difference. The only thing that matters is whether the Senate will vote to remove Donald Trump from office.
When the Democrats tried to impeach him last year, the upper chamber acquitted Trump with only two Republicans – Mitt Romney and Susan Collins – crossing party lines.
Remember, a two-thirds majority is needed to remove a sitting President.
Can Donald Trump’s detractors find 67 votes in favor of removing him this time?
- Last year, there were 45 Democrats and 53 Republicans in the Senate.
- Now, the upper chamber is split evenly 50-50.
- The previous impeachment trial ended with 51 votes to acquit versus 49 to convict, so this doesn’t get them much closer to 67.
However, votes to decide on the trial rules only require a simple majority, and that is where the new balance of power in the Senate may make a difference.
Furthermore, Trump’s relationship with Republican leadership – namely Mitch McConnell – has taken a turn for the worst since last year. They already got everything they wanted for him:
- a wealth tax cut,
- hundreds of right-wing federal court appointments, and
- three Supreme Court seats.
Now, Trump’s just a nuisance to them – always criticizing GOP leaders for not stepping up on his behalf to challenge the election results and threatening to use his influence with MAGA supporters to primary anyone who doesn’t.
If anyone has a vested interest in Donald Trump being blocked from ever running for office again, it’s GOP leadership.
Can Mitch McConnell find 17 Republican votes to convict?
(His wife resigned as Transportation Secretary today, which makes me think the Democrats can count on the Senate Minority Leader to give them at least one.)
Still, I’m not sure there are that many GOP Senators willing to risk losing Trump supporters.
They can distance themselves from the President and publicly condemn what happened – and even the things he said – but won’t want to risk the electoral consequences. Because unless Donald Trump is imprisoned, he’s going to start a media venture and will still have a voice.
Many Republican Senators reside in deeply red southern states that love Trump. Look online, the debate surrounding what happened on Wednesday is still mostly split down partisan lines. They’re defending, not abandoning him.
This means voting to remove Trump from office 13 days before his term is up anyway probably isn’t worth the potential backlash. The smarter move is to condemn the violence and hide behind the closeness of Joe Biden’s inauguration day as an excuse not to act.
That’s why I’m betting on Democrats in the House filing new articles of impeachment but running out of time and failing to remove Donald Trump from office before January 20.
Articles of Impeachment Filed?