While Richard Nixon's impeachment appears inevitable in hindsight, it very much did not seem that way in the early 1970s. Nixon swept his re-election with 49 states, and had extremely high approval ratings. It wasn't until a couple years of investigation and a high-profile showdown with Congress and the Supreme Court that the public decided he should be removed from office.
President Donald Trump, however, has had no such political capital to spend. With the Ukraine revelations coming in fast and House Democrats ramping up their impeachment probe, polls are now starting to show a majority of the American people want him impeached and removed — most notably, a Fox News poll released on Wednesday:
Trump has leapt to where Nixon was in 1974. Impressive. https://t.co/8uOxzM29F8— Tom Nichols (@Tom Nichols)1570660088.0
Trump, meanwhile, is using the same playbook that Nixon did to try to get himself out of trouble. He is mounting paranoid attacks on his enemies, and trying to bully or intimidate people investigating him. Even his talking point about the impeachment effort being a "coup," noted Princeton historian Kevin Kruse, is a tactic well-worn by Nixon's supporters during the early stages of the Watergate investigation:
When Republican Richard Nixon was facing impeachment in 1973, his supporters -- like this letter writer to a Washin… https://t.co/2smmJLuXgz— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse)1570649438.0
Trump must hope that the parallels with Nixon — who famously resigned in disgrace in 1974 after members of his party told him they could not defend his conduct — will end here.