Assuming President Trump does not get kicked out of office following the expected sham trial in the U.S. Senate, we can expect him to turn up the heat on his fear-mongering rhetoric between now and the November 3 presidential election.
Here's how Jennifer Rubin, of The Washington Post, put it in a column today: "Trump cannot win a majority of Americans’ respect and affection; he can only try to frighten them about their alternative. That’s why you can expect a vicious, anti-factual campaign that likely will make 2016 look like a picnic."
It is difficult to comprehend how hateful his reelection campaign is likely to be, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination. Trump's presidency has only served to increase and harden divisions in America, and the impeachment initiative by the Democrats, while justified, have exacerbated that.
As Rubin says in her piece, "Trump has already begun, and will continue, to demonize Democratic politicians as unpatriotic, crazy, socialist and a danger to his base’s way of life. He won in 2016 by making Hillary Clinton even more unlikable than he; he will try to do the same with whomever the Democrats choose to nominate in 2020."
Rubin points out that the latest Economist/YouGov national poll shows that while he and Fox News have their "true believers," "the large majority of Americans understand he often spews nonsense or out-and-out lies. And, to boot, they really do not like him."
You can click on the link and check the numbers for yourself, but the bottom line is that most Americans disagree with Trump on Russia, Ukraine, and climate change. His approval rating is 40 percent, an unnamed Democrat is preferred by 50 percent to 40 percent, and 51 percent wish he wouldn't even seek reelection.
Moreover, only 31 percent actually like him (18 percent like him a lot), 54 percent don't think he has the temperament to be president and 44 percent say he's a racist.
On top of that, the poll shows that 52 percent want to see witnesses in the Senate trial and only a third think that trial will be fair.
According to Rubin, the poll shows that "the percentage of cultists who support Trump whatever he says or does is generally less than 30 percent. Another 10 percent to 15 percent may occasionally take his side on positions or policies, but a remarkably large percentage of Americans do not think he is fit and want him gone."
But, as the old saying goes, "There's many a slip 'twixt cup and the lip."
A lot will happen between now and November 3, and the expected nastiness of Trump, emboldened by his expected acquittal by the Senate, will have a lot to do with that.
Will he be able to expand his base of support beyond his 30 percent or so of the electorate who are true-believers?
Will the Democrats choose a candidate who can stand up to Trump while winning the support of the core constituencies that can lead to victory, such as African Americans and young voters?
Will they actually vote in sufficient numbers to overcome Trump's fired up base?
Can Democrats fend off an emboldened Trump in key Electoral College states, such as those that turned the election to him in 2016?
All of those are critical questions as the months ahead unfold.