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Friday, October 25, 2019

Will Trump Make it to the End of His First Term?

In 2017, in a comment to one of Clovis' posts, I wrote:
And, by the way, I think Trump's chance of finishing his first term is less than 70%. He's old and someone his age has about a 7% chance of dying in the next 3+ years. Nobody's been more hated as a president, and while he's a pretty hard target, I think he has a 10+% chances of being assassinated - all you need is one traitorous secret service agent and Trump's a goner. I think there's a 5% chance he just gets sick of it all and quits (resigns). And I think there's around a 10% chance he is removed from office because they do find something bad enough about him and Russia or whatever.
I think the odds are still roughly the same. He probably won't die of natural causes and he almost certainly won't resign because "he just gets sick of it all." On the other hand, the chance of his being impeached and removed from office is probably more than 10% at this point.

I still think there's a significant chance he'll be assassinated, possibly along with Barr and other investigators in Trump's administration. If those investigators really begin indicting people and if there really is a "deep state," then they'll start killing people to stop the investigations, and I think Trump would be the primary target. And the likelihood of assassination will go up substantially if it looks like Trump is likely to win in 2020.

Whether or not there is a "deep state" is either a matter of definition or degree. There are around 2 million federal employees (far more if you include military) and most of them keep their jobs even when the parties of the president and/or congress change. These bureaucrats are in some sense a "deep state" in that they're entrenched very deeply and nearly impossible to get rid of. However, they're not necessarily a "deep state" by the more commonly used definition of people conspiring to rule over the people while ignoring elected officials and perhaps to use any method, including assassination, to guarantee their continued power.

But do they need to conspire to unseat of assassinate Trump? Or at least conspire on a grand scale? I don't think so. I believe that it is true that the vast majority of federal employees would love to get rid of Trump and I believe that each of those is willing to do at least a little bit in order to achieve that goal. Some percentage is probably willing to do quite a lot more than a little bit. Multiply that percentage, even if pretty small, by 2 million people, and suddenly you have an awful lot effort directed at bring down Trump, perhaps tens if not hundreds of thousands of people.

As a result, no conspiracy is necessary to have Trump assassinated and I think there's about a 10% chance of that happening. From large yet largely unconnected groups of people, unpredictable behaviors will emerge.


Clovis said...


From large yet largely unconnected groups of people, unpredictable behaviors will emerge.
Sorry Bret but, in this case, not really. The largely unconnected group of people who hate Trump, by now probably 30% to 40% of Americans, are utterly predictable. They all read the same newspapers, retweet the same lines, conclude the same things. Ditto for the 20% - 30% of Americans who see Trump as their Dear Leader.

What happens next in your political arena depends much more on the 30% to 50% of Americans not included in the above. And as they are more often people who care much less about politics, they will hardly assassinate Trump. But they may well get behind impeaching him, so that's basically the only source of uncertainty right now.

By the way, my post you linked to aged well in my (not too humble) opinion. Particularly this line: "If this is a political witch-hunt, they have little to worry, because this is going to be subjected to a political jury."

Trump, who tried to initiate his own political witch-hunt, is now going be judged for that. The jury will still be political, not because Trump is innocent, but because your Constitution does a pretty good job of giving imperial powers to the sitting President.

Hey Skipper said...

On the other hand, the chance of his being impeached and removed from office is probably more than 10% at this point.

Absent significant new developments, I'd put it at 0%, or less.

The hoax built upon a fantasy — that Russian collusion thing — has poisoned that well. My recommendation when Trump took office was for progressives to keep their powder dry. Collusion charges were so obviously a consequence of wish-fulfillment that when they inevitably collapsed, the vast majority of Americans who aren't irrational progressives would stop believing anything Democrats in Congress had to say on the subject. And, for that matter, the NYT, WaPo, ABC/CBS/NBC etc. They have bemerded themselves just as thoroughly. The stench leftover from that will ensure that most Americans will view impeachment as nothing more than a coup.

Trump, who tried to initiate his own political witch-hunt ...

I hear that a lot, and it doesn't make any more sense than the collusion hallucination.

Assume that Trump pushed this whole thing solely for political advantage, and that he backed it up with a quid pro quo. There are essentially two outcomes:

1. There were things going on with Hunter Biden and his father that were corrupt and possibly illegal, about which American voters should be aware, and which complicated our anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

2. It was all sufficiently above board as to be of no interest at all.

The thing to keep in mind is that the outcomes are independent of Trump's motivation, and that they are worth knowing regardless of his motivation.

If the positions were completely reversed, and it was Pres Hillary Clinton pressuring Ukraine to investigate Don Trump Jr's Burisma employment, the answer would remain the same.

Except the media would be lauding Clinton, and there wouldn't be a hint of impeachment.