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Trump Impeachment Is a Game of Numbers for Republicans

The Game of Numbers

The GOP is not concerned with the rule of law but with holding on to Trump's base and its Senate majority, writes Susan SurfTone.

The impeachment of Donald J. Trump is a game of numbers for the GOP. It has nothing to do with upholding the Constitution, defending the rule of law, and removing a president who is flagrantly abusing his power from office. Those are matters for the Democrats to huff and puff about. The Republicans are concerned mainly with one number, and that's 270, the number of votes in the Electoral College needed to win the presidency. There's one more number important to Republicans, and that's 51, the number of GOP senators needed keep Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader. Republican leaders don't care how they reach those numbers in the 2020 election; they just need to get there.

The popular vote in the presidential election doesn't matter. We all learned that bitter lesson in 2016. Trump is expected to lose the 2020 popular vote by more than the almost 3 million votes Hillary Clinton beat him by in 2016. The general election in presidential politics means the Electoral College. Nothing has changed since Trump eked out his narrow Electoral College victory in 2016 with three states giving him the necessary 270 by 77,000 votes. Only the battleground states matter in Electoral College politics because of the winner-take-all system in 48 states. Nebraska and Maine don't have a winner-take-all system. Trump can win by one vote in a battleground state and he can add all of that state's Electoral College votes to his column. It's up to the states how they play the game. Trump is currently competitive in six battleground states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona. Sound familiar?

Speaking of more numbers, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised $334 million as of October, with a record-breaking $125 million third quarter. The Democratic National Committee isn't even close. All that money to support Trump and Republican candidates across the country puts the Democrats at a big disadvantage.

Impeachment will be a big fundraiser for Trump as long as his base believes his lies, and that's the core of the Republican Impeachment Game. The GOP Impeachment Game employs gaslighting, lies, bumper sticker slogans, finding fall guys, crazy debunked conspiracy theories, false claims of unfair process, anything but the truth to keep the all-important Trump base on board. Smear all nonpartisan federal career employees, experts in their fields, who step up publicly to defend democracy with the truth. Get the whistleblower who started the whole thing. Make the public hearings good TV for that cable network created to protect future Republican presidents from Richard Nixon's fate. The Trump base has to turn out in the battleground states for its man in 2020 along with some independents doubtful of Democrats after the Republican impeachment "defense." Add voter suppression and some foreign assistance to repeat the successful 2016 formula. The Trump administration and the McConnell Senate have done very little if anything to stop either.

Fearing Trump tweets, the all-powerful Trump base in a primary challenge, and who knows what else, Republican senators are likely to acquit Trump once he is inevitably impeached by the House of Representatives. Extortion and bribery certainly rise to the level of impeachable offenses that would result in conviction and removal from office by any Senate intent on protecting the Constitution, but that Senate won't be the one to try Trump. Will the 67 senators necessary to convict uphold their oath of office? Every Democratic senator will, but not enough Republican senators will find the courage to do so. Not unless the American people support the removal of President Trump in massive numbers. Numbers will determine the outcome of the impeachment drama unfolding in Congress.

Hanging on to the Senate in 2020 along with a Trump reelection is a must for McConnell to put even more conservative federal judges in lifetime positions on the bench. With a Trump second term and McConnell at the helm in the Senate in 2021, the Supreme Court is likely to fall solidly into Republican hands for a very long time. Donald and Mitch have already given us 158 federal judicial confirmations, two of these on the Supreme Court, with more to come. It is through the takeover of the federal judiciary that the Republican minority will keep its boot on the neck of the Democratic majority for decades to come. Numbers yet again, and the majority is losing to the minority. This was never the intention of the Founding Fathers, but very clever, ambitious leaders in the Republican Party determined to remain in power show little regard for the Founding Fathers.

Numbers can turn this all around. 2020 is not a year to sit out if you want to see Trump go down in history as an impeached one-term president, Mitch McConnell returned to the frustrating job of Senate minority leader, and the Department of Justice back to pursuing its true mission. The Democrats are indeed fighting uphill in the battle to redeem our country, but uphill struggles can be won. Every American voter, Democrat, independent or Republican, who wants to put an end to Trumpism has the power to do so in 2020 if an overwhelming number of them go to the polls in November.

Susan SurfTone is a musician, former FBI agent, and regular contributor to The Advocate.

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