It is 208 days until November 6, 2018, the date of the midterm elections. After the votes are counted it is likely (assuming Russia has not hacked our voting machines) that Democrats will re-take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Nancy Pelosi will be re-installed as Speaker of the House.
This is all made more likely by the announced retirement of current Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. His retirement has other important implications also, as discussed below.
Perhaps the most interesting outcome of Speaker Ryan’s announcement is this: it makes the formal impeachment of Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives much more likely.
Impeachment is not something the Democratic leadership (especially Pelosi) even wants to talk about. Some Republicans are campaigning on this issue, as if the threat of a Trump impeachment will scare so many Americans that they will want to keep the GOP in power in Washington.
But some political observers think that “Democratic leaders could not prevent a 2019 impeachment drive even if they want to.”
Here are other likely outcomes from Ryan’s retirement:
- The remaining Republicans in Congress will be dispirited and have lower morale. They are losing their leader at a time of crisis and they have no chance of passing any of their remaining agenda.
- More current GOP Congresspeople are likely to retire also. It is estimated that 80 current Republican seats are vulnerable, and some of these people will follow Trump out the door if they think they will lose. (Already 42 have said they’re not coming back.)
- Leadership of House Republicans will be thrown into chaos. The caucus is not unified as it is, so a new leadership battle will highlight the fissures among this group with huge differences on such matters as free trade, immigration and budget deficits.
- Republican fundraising will fall of a cliff and there will be less money to support other candidates. Ryan has been the most prolific GOP fundraiser in history, and has raised $44 million for fellow Republicans.
The Cook Political Report calls Ryan’s announcement “a deep blow to his party’s morale” and says the odds of Democrats taking back control of the House have risen to 75 percent.
Cook also says that Ryan’s district — Wisconsin’s First — is now in play for the Democrats, and is rated a toss-up. The Democrats’ campaign arm (DCCC) is supporting Randy Bryce, a former iron worker/union member who has raised over $5 million so far, which is a staggering amount for a congressional challenger. Losing this district would be a real blow to the Republicans.
While Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump, and with over 90% of Democrats disapproving of the president’s performance, Trump’s days may be numbered. There will likely be a Blue Wave in 2018, and a resulting Democratic victory in Congress. Given Trump’s performance so far, Democratic voters will be fully supportive of an impeachment drive against Trump — and many will demand it.
Paul Ryan never had the guts to bring impeachment proceedings against Trump while he was Speaker of the House, but his leaving may be the catalyst needed to finally bring such proceedings about.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.