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 (@RadioFreeTom) October 9, 2019
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 Washington Post columnist — denounced the effort as a "coup d'etat." pic.twitter.com/IviHLduTQR
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 9, 2019
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.
Did Trump just signal he may fire ‘current’ FBI director hours before meeting Russian foreign minister?
President Donald Trump attacked his FBI director hours ahead of his White House meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and other social media users noticed a big coincidence.
The president turned on Christopher Wray in an early morning Twitter rant after the FBI director broke with Attorney General William Barr and agreed the Justice Department's inspector general had found no evidence of wrongdoing at the start of the Russia probe.
‘Political Madness!’ Trump melts down over pending articles of impeachment release
President Donald Trump started off Tuesday morning in a frothy rage -- hours before Democrats were scheduled to release two articles of impeachment.
House Democrats plan to introduce articles of impeachment accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and Trump raged against the constitutional process that's consuming his presidency.
"To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!#2020Election," Trump tweeted.
Your guide to the 2020 Democrats: Who’s in, who’s out and WTF is going on anyway?
There's a frontrunner, who has led almost every national poll since last winter, allowing for a few outlier polls and a brief period around the end of the summer. There are three other leading contenders, two of whom have been near the top of the polls for months, while the third only recently emerged from the pack. There is a pack of dark-horse candidates, whose odds of being elected president now approach zero but who remain in the race for various reasons. There are some with no shot at all. There are two fringe candidates, likely using this campaign to explore career options. And there's a pair of billionaires who hope to buy their way to the presidency by spending alarming amounts of money on campaign ads. That probably won't work — but you might have heard the same thing about another billionaire in that other party, a few years back.