IEET > Rights > Political Empowerment & Participation > Affiliate Scholar > John G. Messerly
Will Trump Be Impeached?
John G. Messerly   Jan 10, 2017   Reason and Meaning  

Yesterday’s post, “Yes, America Is Descending Into Totalitarianism,” elicited a thoughtful response from Chris Crawford. I will publish his reply in two parts.

As always, I agree entirely with your pessimistic assessment of the state of the country. And your suggestion that Mr. Trump will start down the path to fascism by pursuing revenge against those who cross him is right on the mark; I came to the same conclusion a few days ago. I can contribute two ideas to the discussion, the first heartening and the second disheartening.

On the sunny side, we have a strong likelihood that the Republican Congress will impeach and convict Mr. Trump. I realize that this sounds absurd, but here is my reasoning:

1. The Republican Party was dead-set against Mr. Trump throughout the primaries, because they recognized just how destructive he could be. Now they all claim to support him, but how sincere do you think that those proclamations are? My guess is that the average Republican is willing to give Mr. Trump the opportunity to demonstrate some statesmanship, but expects Mr. Trump to fail horribly — at which point the Republicans will impeach him. I suspect that many Republican Congresscritters have already discussed this possibility among themselves.

2. The Republicans need to protect their brand. If Mr. Trump triggers a sequence of scandals — say, grabbing Ms. Merkel by the pussy — the Republican brand will be so discredited that it will lose elections for a generation. In the Republican view, Mr. Trump will surely be gone in four years, and they’ll need to be able to continue to function as a party. They may well conclude that dumping Mr. Trump is the only way.

3. There is also the very real possibility that Mr. Trump intends to replace the Republican Party with The Gold-Coated Donald J. Trump Party. Why else would he be conducting a victory tour of the country, going to his most enthusiastic supporters? He already won the election! What’s the point of further campaigning? And note that he continues to spew Tweets to his followers. Is this merely a continuation of an old habit or does he intend to develop this new channel so that he can bypass the Republican Party in four years? Indeed, during the primaries he threatened to run as an independent if he lost the primaries. When the Republicans realize that Mr. Trump is a direct threat to their existence, they’ll surely dump him.

4. Here’s my weakest argument: the Republicans decide that Mr. Trump is harming the country as a whole and conclude that, for the good of the Republic, they must impeach Mr. Trump. Yeah, I know, it sounds absurd, doesn’t it?

Moreover, from the Republican point of view, impeaching and convicting Mr. Trump will put Mr. Pence into the Oval Office, and while they may find him too far to the right, he’s still a regular Republican politician and won’t go around grabbing women by the pussy.

I’ll post his bad news tomorrow.

John G. Messerly is an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET. He received his PhD in philosophy from St. Louis University in 1992. His most recent book is The Meaning of Life: Religious, Philosophical, Scientific, and Transhumanist Perspectives. He blogs daily on issues of philosophy, evolution, futurism and the meaning of life at his website:


This piece is a good start at understanding why Trump’s allies admire/tolerate him

(What precisely do I think of Trump?: don’t want to think of him. Am afraid, though, more of the future than Trump or anyone else. Afraid of the crime and anomie to come.)

In the Republican view, Mr. Trump will surely be gone in four years, and they’ll need to be able to continue to function as a party. They may well conclude that dumping Mr. Trump is the only way

Trump might simply resign. At the age of 70+, no one is going to ask too many questions if he resigns for “health reasons.” Trump might be pressured to resign; or may resign due to boredom, anger, petulance. Afterwards, Pence as president would seem as a breath of fresh air.
If impeachment proceedings were to be in the air, likely Trump would quit the presidency quickly—perhaps immediately. Trump is proud, yes; however he also does not care what anyone thinks of him. He considers himself a sovereign individual, used to having his own way, and may announce at the slightest hint of impeachment talk that he is throwing in the towel:

“Take this job and shove it,”

Trump could announce on national television and radio,

“I don’t need the $400,000 a year.”

Trump has nothing to lose. If he were to resign the presidency at some point, he’d still be the most famous celebrity in the US, and possibly in the world. Must add, though, that it is not so much fascism (Orwell said “a fascist is someone you don’t like”) but rather celebrity culture combined with oligarchy. (Think Schwarzenegger—the precursor to Trump.)

Let’s not conflate fascism with oligarchy: fascism is when labor and trade unions are wiped out.. which does not appear to be in the cards. All the same, if one wants to think of Trumpism as fascism lite, such is entirely permissible. I just do not want to underestimate Trump as I did Reagan, who was considered a ‘B’ Hollywood actor who would fail.
Today Reagan is practically worshipped as a deity by the Right in America.

Not to be a Trump apologist or write with confidence re the near future. Celebrity culture is empty; celebrity culture combined with oligarchy is revolting, and yes: it is ominous. But fear, desperation, rage and panic wont help. Plus, you ought to admit the Democrats could have run a much better candidate than Hillary. Three years from now, they surely wont make the same mistake. We are stuck with our 1789 political system: we have to make the best of it.

Yet another reminder of why I have no faith in this country anymore, and by extension, the future.

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