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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Impeachment as Footnote

Remember the impeachment trial? It was only a few months ago, but it feels like a few decades ago. This raises a larger point: The impeachment is going to be an afterthought in 2020 and beyond. In other words, this year will be remembered for the pandemic. The election result will turn on the pandemic. We will not be able to draw conclusions about the public response to the impeachment ("Let the people decide") because of the pandemic.

There is a certain irony in this. The 1918 pandemic was largely overlooked afterwards because most of the deaths occurred while World War I was underway. That larger event swallowed up historical memory even for a pandemic that killed millions of people around the world. Now it's the other way around--the pandemic is swallowing up the political event.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on April 22, 2020 at 09:16 AM | Permalink


It is somewhat hard to see (but even though there was signs, we didn't see this in January, did we?) something outdoing the pandemic. Something that so far has led to 50K deaths, much more sickness and economic hardship as well as a lot to judge those in government over. It isn't May yet, but yes.

How notable was the Andrew Johnson impeachment? Perhaps, his acquittal was notable as a limit but it isn't clear what even that would have brought at the end of the day given the election came so fast.

Maybe, we can consider the Clinton impeachment somewhat notable since even if it affected the 2000 election a bit, it could have changed the outcome. There seemed to be a sort of limited effect to the Trump impeachment in general. This in part since it didn't seem likely he would be removed. There wasn't even a strong sentiment that he should resign, partially since again one figured he was not open to persuasion. Clinton wasn't going to be removed but the whole thing (having lived thru both) seemed to be a bigger deal at the time.

Of course, the Nixon process led to his resignation.

I guess the impeachment might long time have some limited effect (not doing it would have sent a message at the very least as to the Democrats handwaving things) but even w/o the current event, how much would have it made a difference? Something else would likely have came up in 2020, maybe the economy, and the people would decide over that and other things.

To the degree the impeachment was about Trump breaking basic rules, including trading a favor, the reaction to the pandemic has some of that too. Republicans are again not doing much to stop him. I personally rather not ignore the connection. Maybe, some others will not either.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 25, 2020 11:57:22 AM

The election result will turn on the pandemic.

Not if anything else happens between now and November. The election may turn on the President's excellent or terrible responses to a hurricane or terrorist attack or Martian invasion in October.

Slightly less speculatively, there's a fair chance that it will turn on the public response to uncovering of a corrupt act by the President or a family member that is not yet publicly known, and perhaps has not yet occurred. There's still time for another impeachment!

Posted by: arthur | Apr 22, 2020 11:29:34 AM

Interesting insight or prophesy indeed. But, it is not necessarily so. The respectable author of the post, assumes, that the public opinion is an autonomous perception. Nor really. It does depend also, upon strategy and strategists building it. For example, the supporters of the Democrats, could claim that:

Only procedural issues, or voting along lines, prevented actually the impeachment or the president. It wasn't in vain.Why ? Because, the true character of Trump, has been revealed, due to the pandemic. His failure to deal with it, is, or was, obvious. One can't ignore, how corrupt was his management of the pandemic they would claim.

On the other hand, Republicans, may argue that:

Not in vain indeed. The impeachment was staged, as political show. Those Democrats, would do whatsoever, to undermine , successful president. To what degree ? well:

Even is such pandemic, even in such emergency state, such severe public health crisis, they were plotting and scheming under his ground and all around, just to take him down, whatever is the cost.

So, both sides, can make, re -narrativisation of the impeachment. Pretty useful one may claim by the way.


Posted by: El roam | Apr 22, 2020 10:40:18 AM

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