The Democrats have it all figured out — or at least so they think. They will take an impeachment vote in the House by Christmas at the latest. Assuming the vote to impeach carries, it’s on to the Senate for a quick trial that most likely ends with an acquittal. But even if Donald Trump is not removed from office, the damage such a trial would inflict on him and his reputation would neatly pave the way for a Democratic presidential victory in 2020.
So what’s wrong with this picture? The simple answer in a word is timing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC News that, given the current schedule, the start of a Senate trial might coincide with the beginning of the Democratic presidential primary season and even run well into it.
“Well, all I can tell you at this particular point is it looks to me like the House is going to be on this until Christmas,” McConnell told reporters at an event in downtown Louisville.
“Then it comes over to the Senate, it displaces all other business, the chief justice of the United States is in the chair, senators are not allowed to speak — they have to sit there and listen — and I’m not sure how long it will go on,” he added.
Among those virtual prisoners will be four of the current crop of presidential candidate, including Elizabeth Warren, the front runner in New Hampshire, and Bernie Sanders, who, while lagging in the polls, is still very much in the race.
This scenario would leave the stumbling Joe Biden as the lone Democratic candidate, with some push by Pete Buttigieg. If the nomination process came down to Trump and Biden, the former would demolish the latter in one-on-one debates. It almost ensures Donald Trump a second term.