Scott Dworkin, Opinion contributor
Published 3:15 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2020
Trump Support for removal rose and Senate Republicans saw an election rushing toward them under a black cloud. That was Nixon, but it could also be Trump.
There is a lot of talk about how there’s no chance of impeached President Donald Trump getting removed. I’m here to tell you that there is absolutely, without a doubt, a chance this Senate could remove Trump from office. But it all starts with believing it can actually happen.
Many Americans prefer settling before going to trial in a complicated legal matter, and that’s because anything can happen in court. That’s why Trump likes to settle, whether it’s the $2 million penalty for his charitable frauds or $25 million for his fake university.
If we don’t realize there is a real chance that he could be removed, we will not have the energy to get there. We all need to know and truly believe that if enough Americans speak out, he will be removed.
People also said impeachment was impossible. Before that, they said we will never get a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s Russian ties while under full GOP control. We will never win in Alabama, Kentucky or Virginia. We will never win back the House. All things Democrats succeeded at. Today, people talk about the 2016 election results as if 2018 didn’t send a crystal clear signal across the country, one still motivating a massive resistance that is ready to march to the polls in 2020.
Trump No GOP choice but to remove Trump
Republicans are already losing from almost every angle because their undying loyalty to one man — Trump — is more important to them than their oaths of fealty to the Constitution, their office or their constituents.
But this group of Senate Republicans is the last bulwark in our constitutional system, and they are people, and the stakes here are a lot higher than getting a bunch of conservative judges. This is our time to be louder than we ever have been as a country. It’s time for us to make these GOP senators realize they have no choice but to convict Trump and remove him from office.
Fewer than two dozen people stand between Trump and his removal, and that’s if all 100 senators are in the chamber. The Constitution says, “No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.” That means Republican senators could literally walk out on Trump and tip the balance of the scales.
A public airing of the complete body of evidence will centralize the truth around a single narrative, and that’s exactly what this trial is doing.
What we need to do is turn up the heat on Republicans to do the right thing. Tweets, letters, calls, office visits, protests, people questioning their public officials and demanding that these people do their job: Deliver impartial justice.
And if they are immoral enough to still support Trump despite overwhelming sworn evidence, and the witnesses we are counting on to appear before the Senate, they will abandon him too if the pressure becomes too much and public opinion moves.
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President Richard Nixon was so popular that he won 49 states in 1972. But support for his removal was at nearly 50% by the summer of 1974, following months of extensive Senate hearings. They had laid out the case against Nixon, much like the abbreviated hearings late last year by the House Intelligence Committee.
In Nixon’s case, it was his October 1973 purge of legal officials — the Saturday Night Massacre — that began to galvanize public opinion against him and led to his ouster a year later. Polling clearly indicates that public opinion turned on Trump after his plea to Ukraine, and bizarrely to his foe China, to conduct baseless investigations into the Bidens.
Trump Black cloud over an election
When Nixon’s “smoking gun” tapes finally emerged, public support for removal grew to 57% — only 6 percentage points higher than support for Trump’s removal today. That’s what took down President Nixon. One final, key piece of evidence came out: the tapes. Nixon lost the battle for public opinion, and that made his position untenable.
Support for removal rose, his approval ratings sank, and Senate Republicans saw the 1974 elections rushing toward them with Nixon’s black cloud over their party. The pressure was too much for the GOP to bear.
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Bringing the pressure to get there now, with Trump? That’s on us. Now is the time we need to push harder than ever for Republicans to step up to choose country over party.
It has never been the job of former President Barack Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get Trump out of office. It has always been on us.
But it all starts with believing that removal can happen at this trial. Because if there’s one thing that Americans and resisters have collectively learned in the past five years, it’s that anything can happen — and that surprises run in both directions.
Scott Dworkin is an author and co-founder of The Democratic Coalition. He was a deputy director for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee and the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and a senior adviser to the Draft Biden and Run Warren Run campaigns. Follow him on Twitter: @funder