Posted on 6/17/2017, 7:57:52 PM by 2ndDivisionVet
Suppose most Americans were to conclude that President Trump is unfit for office. How long would it take to remove him? If President Nixon’s example provides any guidance, the answer is: a long time—if ever.
Consider the first chart, which shows Nixon’s approval ratings throughout his truncated second term, and also Trump’s approval ratings so far. (All of the approval numbers cited here are from Gallup’s Presidential Job Approval Center.) Nixon’s second-term approval started strong, in the high sixties, but plummeted as Watergate revelations emerged. By the time the Senate Watergate hearings began, in May of 1973, his ratings were under 50 percent. By the time of the Saturday Night Massacre, in October of 1973, his approval was mired in the mid-twenties, never to recover.
Still, Nixon held onto office for more than 17 months after his ratings sank below 50 percent, and for more than nine months after they sank into the twenties. Being loathed by the American public, and being widely and correctly perceived to be a criminal, did not do him in for a long time.
The reason was that the critical variable was not overall approval but Republican approval. Removal either by impeachment or under the 25th Amendment, the two mechanisms available, requires a 67-vote Senate supermajority (unless a president is too incapacitated to serve). As a result, even though Democrats controlled Congress in 1974, Nixon could not be removed without Republican legislators’ support.
The same arithmetic applies to Trump today. Even if Democrats manage to win a House majority next year, the most Senate seats they could possibly capture in 2018 (if they won every race) is 56. Unless Republican Senators, and quite a few of them, defect from Trump, he stays put until at least January 2021….
(Excerpt) Read more at brookings.edu …
Source: Impeaching Trump is a heavy lift