Forget the Mueller investigation. Forget the saber rattling of the far left. Forget the 2018 midterm elections and the potential Democratic take-over of Congress. Forget all of that. President Trump will never be impeached. Why? Because impeachment is not a legal process, but a political one. And if we consider the resignation of Richard Nixon and the impeachment of Bill Clinton, we come to one very clear conclusion. President Trump will never be impeached – for one simple reason.
Yes, you read that correctly. This truth is confirmed by the two modern efforts to impeach a president. In 1974, Nixon was forced to resign. In 1998, Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office. And he gained popularity after his impeachment.
The Case of Richard Nixon
Let’s start with President Nixon. In the months leading up to his landslide re-election in 1972, consumer confidence reached the highest level in years, at an astonishing 95.2 percent. Two years later, that number plummeted to 64.4 percent, and Nixon was driven from office. In the year preceding his resignation, the Dow dropped by 40 percent. Gas shortages and inflation were on the rise. America wasn’t happy. And soon, the president was gone, over a third-rate break-in to Democratic headquarters. History tells us that other presidents have done far worse – and gotten away with it.
The Case of Bill Clinton
When Clinton was re-elected in 1996, as with the early Nixon years, consumer confidence was sky high. The president was found guilty of perjury, a crime that cost him a major settlement and his license to practice law. But, stock prices increased by 28 percent in 1997 and 16 percent in 1998. The national optimism during Clinton’s tenure was boosted by an emerging tech industry that promised amazing breakthroughs. So he survived impeachment.
Had Nixon enjoyed the Clinton economy he might have survived. And had Clinton endured the Nixon economy, he might have been forced aside by leaders in his own party. On both counts, we will never know. But nothing drives national sentiment like the economy.
This is not to suggest Americans don’t care about corruption in politics or the toxicity of our dysfunctional political system. They would love to be led by honest politicians who put other people first. But in the real world, voters rarely have a clear choice between an angel and the devil. On the day that President Trump was elected, 64 percent said they did not believe he was honest and trustworthy. But Hillary Clinton was considered to be dishonest and untrustworthy by 61 percent.
Rather than holding out for a saintly candidate, voters are pragmatic; they go for the lesser of two evils. As a result, today’s economy is all the shield President Trump will need to survive the worst of storms which may be brewing on the horizon.
None of this is to suggest than anything coming out of the Mueller investigation will justify removing the president from office. What we are suggesting is that it won’t matter. Even the most corrupt politicians who have watch over a strong economy are more popular than the most honest leader, under whom the economy tanks.
Need further proof that it’s the economy that matters? Somewhere in rural Georgia, you will find that proof. There is a 93-year-old Baptist Sunday School teacher who still helps to build houses for the poor, gives away most of his earnings to charity, and is considered one of the most honest men in American history. He was also the first president in 48 years to lose re-election after serving a four-year term. His name is Jimmy Carter.
Interest rates were at an all-time high. Inflation was through the roof. The economy was horrible. It didn’t matter that Carter was able to broker mid-east peace for the first time in a zillion years. It didn’t matter that America was not at war. As the economy sank, so did the president’s popularity.
To date, nothing has surfaced that warrants anything close to impeachment for President Trump. But again, it doesn’t matter. Just ask history. Just ask Nixon, Clinton, and Carter.
When running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton hired a folksy campaign strategist from Louisiana. His name was James Carville. Carville got Clinton elected off four simple words – repeated over and over.
“It’s the economy, stupid.”
What was true for Nixon, Clinton, and Carter is still true today. It’s the economy – nothing more and nothing less.