Trump will no doubt survive a Senate trial and will be re-nominated to contest the 2020 election.
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the US House of Representatives, the lower house of the US Congress and the legislative equivalent of our Lok Sabha. He was charged with high crimes and misdemeanours and Congress, controlled by the Democratic Party, found him guilty of corruption for seeking help from a foreign government against his possible opponent in next year’s election. That kind of help is strictly forbidden under American law.
He is only the third US President to be impeached. Andrew Johnson in the 19th century and Bill Clinton at the end of the 20th century were the others. But neither was convicted by the US Senate, and Mr Trump too is likely to escape such a fate, though the Democrats are negotiating for at least a trial. Richard Nixon, the only President to resign in disgrace, did so before impeachment when it became clear even his own party was deserting him.
No one is likely to desert Mr Trump save the odd Republican senator like former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It is because Mr Trump has successfully ridden the wave of anti-globalism and illiberalism that has swept the planet. Any Republican who defies him will commit political suicide. Some argue Mr Trump has successfully hijacked the Republican Party, and former “moderates” like House Speaker Paul Ryan have had to retire from politics to make way for Mr Trump’s majoritarianism; others argue that the Republicans, indeed all right-wing parties worldwide, have always relied on tribalism rather than on a coalition of interests, and that what we see now is the party with its mask fallen off. Whatever the case, Mr Trump currently owns right-wing politics in America.
Mr Trump will no doubt survive a Senate trial and will be re-nominated to contest the 2020 election. Seeing the even larger margins of victories scored in 2019 by fellow strongmen like Narendra Modi in India and Boris Johnson in Britain, one expects that Mr Trump is headed for re-election. Part of the reason is an Opposition that adopts failed strategies, be it Rahul Gandhi or Jeremy Corbyn, even if what they say makes economic sense; the other reason is that strongmen like Mr Trump know how to control the narrative so that they always stay in the spotlight - even during an impeachment.
So how does Mr Trump's impeachment impact India-US relations? Not a whit. Mr Trump has shown that he proceeds apace unmindful of the ambient noise from domestic politics and the media. He is a transactional President and South Block does diplomacy on that premise. The two countries have differences on trade and visas — both important issues to Mr Trump’s voter base — so India occasionally makes a gesture on defence cooperation, aimed against China, to keep the US establishment interested. India grows closer to the US while preparing to be a pole in a future multipolar world order. India continues to travel a certain narrative arc, and uses America’s help along that trajectory. In short, whatever Mr Trump’s woes and distractions, nothing will change.