The first thing to do to keep Donald Trump in power is to make sure impeachment does not happen. The way to trick Democrats into going along with this is to use basic political Kung Fu, using their own weight and movement to bring them down.
Democrats want impeachment. So, trick them into insisting that the House file impeachment proceedings as soon as possible. At this point, the Senate, with its Republican Majority, will not convict Trump because all of those Republicans are loyal. Once the Democrats make hay out of impeaching Trump, and fail, they will look like losers, and the party that looks like the losing party will eventually lose. The Democrats will have spent a huge amount of time, effort, money, and political capital, on an effort that can not succeed.
So, step one to keep our president in power indefinitely would be to trick the Democrats into insisting on impeachment. They will be divided on this. Many will want to not proceed with impeachment in a climate where it can’t possibly work (the obviously correct strategy) and others will want to go through with impeachment no matter what. Getting Democrats to divide over impeachment would have a very similar effect to when they became deeply, emotionally, and irreparably divided over Sanders vs. Clinton. That division helped put our president in power to begin with. This sort of division, but this time over impeachment, will help keep him in power later.
The next thing we need to do to keep the president in power is to make sure he wins in 2020. The aforementioned strategy will help, because it will divide the liberals from the progressives from the whatevers, with in the failing Democratic coalition. But more division will help. This can be done a number of ways.
One would be over Nancy Pelosi. From the Republican point of view, it does not matter who is the Speaker of a Democratic House. Any Speaker the Democrats put up will work hard to defeat the Republicans in the next election, to push through Democratic policies, to support invesigating Trump, etc. There is no universe in which soft on Trump vs a hard on Trump House members are up for consideration for Speaker. Anyone the Democrats elect will be bad for Republicans, Pelosi or not. But by convincing Democrats to fight over this, the Democrats become increasingly divided. The trick is to get some, perhaps many, Democrats to be “Pelosi or bust Democrats” much like there were “Bernie or Bust” Democrats during the 2016 election. “I’m a Pelosi Democrat, and anyone who is not, unfriend me now!” should be the motto of this campaign to divide and conquer Democrats.
Anything that can be done to distract Democrats from Trump’s ongoing efforts to Make America Great Again helps. Anything that can be both a distraction and a point of division for Democrats allows Trump to implement his white supremacist agenda, and at the same time, weakens Democrats so they can neither impeach successfully nor win an election.
What Democrats Should NOT Do If We Want To Keep Trump In Power
It is worth mentioning what Democrats should NOT do to keep Trump in power. There are many things, including staying focused, resisting division, avoiding fatigue by fighting less among themselves and so on. But I want to point out one thing in particular that, if Democrats figure this out, Trump is doomed.
Go after the Senate. In the next election, there will be many Republican senators up for re-election. Some are weak. There are also some weak Democrats, but fewer. Just as 2018 favored Democrat to Republican takeaways in the Senate, 2020 favors the opposite. If the Democrats start now to further weaken sitting Republicans, and develop excellent candidates — and avoid fighting over that process in a self destructive way — they can shift the Senate not only in their favor, put possibly get something close to a super majority. If they can take out all of the vulnerable republicans, like the ones in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, and Texas, and keep the vulnerable Democrats, in Alabama, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, and New Hampshire, they can pick up 9 seats. If they can weaken a few more Republicans, they can potentially reach a super majority, and thus guarantee impeachment of a re-elected President Trump. If the Democrats will have kept their powder dry, and not blow the impeachment that can’t succeed earlier, they could do this. (It is not politically pragmatic for the Democrats to re-try Trump in a second similar impeachment, though that is probably legal.)
Here’s how the Democrats could do that. Using organizations like Indivisible, activists across the country can try to get a pledge from their Senators. The pledge can’t be too specific, and they must accept a range of different possible responses (and thus not divide themselves over the issue). They just need to get their Senators to say something like, “Yes, I think Donald Trump has probably carried out impeachable offenses, and I would welcome the chance of an impeachment trial to determine the truth and act accordingly.” (Not, “guilty no matter what, aaarrrg!!!” … If the Dems grow an internal movement of “Impeach or Bust” they will only hurt themselves further!)
By presenting this demand to all the Senators, they will focus activism on the Republican Senators refusing to admit what is clearly (even to Republicans) true that mirrors what Indivisible did with health care. When it comes times for those Republican Senators to go up for re-election, many will not survive. This strategy got the Democrats power in the House. If Democrats try this, and don’t screw it up with their petty internecine fighting, they can take the Senate in 2020.
Americans who support Trump should be very afraid of such a strategy. But no one should hold their breath. Democrats are more likely to be less divided, not more unified, by the time they need to be, to protect their precious democracy.