President Donald Trump threw gasoline onto the smoldering fire of the Ukraine call controversy when he admitted that he did, in fact, discuss Joe Biden with the nation in a phone call.
As expected, that led us to a weekend of media reports on Democrats calling for impeachment and Adam Schiff saying it’s probably the best recourse at this point. Search “Trump Ukraine” on Twitter, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many tweets that don’t also use the word “impeach” in some form.
Truth be told, I held off on caring about this story because it was another case of “Too Good To Be True.” It fits exactly into what people perceive of Trump, and pretty much every story that has done so has ended up refuted at least in part and always ended up having an entirely different context than originally portrayed. With the revelation that the whistleblower wasn’t actually a witness to the phone call and other sources in the room saying the story isn’t what it was played up to be, and that Joe Biden did something similar, the story did indeed end up changing a bit in both context and impact.
That isn’t going to stop the Democrats, however, and it’s becoming obvious that Trump doesn’t want them to stop. Trump currently can’t run on his successful economy because it may be on the verge of weakening, and there aren’t many more accomplishments he can tout because his most vocal promises outside of tax reform and regulatory rollout haven’t come true.
Biden, his leading opponent ahead of 2020, has an appeal to moderate voters and could very well become a major threat to Trump in the general election. However, as more Democrats drop out, Elizabeth Warren could overtake Biden, presenting Trump with a far-left opponent. That’s the scenario Trump wants, and it’s the scenario he’s hoping to get.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think Trump is the three dimensional chess player his supporters like to believe he is, but there comes a time (as I pointed out a while back) that you have to stop assuming Trump is just aimlessly firing his talking points and tactics and actually working a larger strategy. I think that this could be one of the times we need to assume Trump wants what’s happening right now.
Nancy Pelosi knows full-well what the Democrats want. She knows she won’t be able to hold off on impeachment altogether. She also knows that impeachment over anything remotely close to a nothing burger story will kill her party in 2020. Pelosi does not want to impeach unless there is a clear-cut offense that the facts support an impeachment over.
Trump will continue to goad the Democrats into shooting for impeachment, saying just enough to make them continue to froth and roil and eventually force the party’s leadership to pull the trigger. If that happens, the 2020 election will become an election over impeachment and not the issues. Trump gets his enemy and the Democrats think they get a winning issue.