The Trump Administration won’t be able to sustain itself as it now is being run for four years. It either will change or crash.
The first important thing to note is that Trump’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, is at 40 percent (with 55 percent disapproving). It’s hard to overestimate how bad that is for a president in his first month. We have never been here before. He is only 12 points above Jimmy Carter’s lowest number.
Pollsters suggest that a president’s floor is around 30 percent. This number is comprised of people who actively approve of the administration and partisans who automatically back their party. The point is that less than a month in, Trump already is starting to dip toward that core. The lower the number, the less real power the president holds.
Keep in mind that this is before the inevitable video of families being ripped apart as mom or dad is deported and sick kids being sent home from the hospital because their parents lost their health insurance.
The second important element is that there now is an established way for the dissatisfaction to be expressed. It is being crystallized at raucous town halls and at representatives’ offices. The initial driver is that it is hitting home — finally — that people’s health care insurance is at risk. A large segment of the population has gone from unaware to terrified. That outrage has led to the town hall invasions. It will broaden as folks come to grips with all the messy and nasty things Trump plans to do. The town halls will stop being held, but other means will be found by a suddenly committed public.
The third leg on the stool is the widening investigation into the relationship between Russia, the Trump campaign and, now, the Trump presidency. The latest tidbits are that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has gone from a firm no to not quite remembering if he talked to the Russians about the Obama Administration sanctions before the inauguration. That almost certainly would have been illegal.
The mistrust at the highest levels is extreme: John Schindler at The Observer reports that the intelligence community is so concerned that the Russians have spies in the administration that they are withholding sensitive information. That in and of itself is stunning and suggests an administration that already is unraveling. The cooperation with the Russians also is very easily understood to be unpatriotic and dangerous.
This is an unsustainable situation: A president whose popularity is cratering out of the gate, a resistance that is increasingly high profile an organized and expanding in red territories and an administration that quite possibly is treasonous, inept or both.
What will catalyze these and other events and trends into a move for impeachment in the House of Representatives? It will come down to the one thing politicians value over everything else: Reelection. Once these crimes, misdemeanors and mean-spirited stupidity begins to threaten Republican electoral chances impeachment becomes a possibility. Remember, the Republicans don’t like Trump much either.
The chances of this happening grow each time a House member is chased from a town hall or goes on television and looks like a moron trying to defend the administration.
Watch how aggressively Republicans in Congress investigate the Russia/Trump connections. It is likely that if Trumps numbers continue to implode those investigations will be allowed to gather steam. If that happens, it is a sign that the powers behind the scenes in the Republican party are growing more concerned and impatient.