I would like to talk realistically for a while about the prospects for the rule of law in America. Trump may be impeached by the House, but he will not be convicted by the Senate. Either then he will or he will not be defeated in 2020. If he is not defeated, I think it is an open question whether democracy, such as we now know it in America, will survive.
If he is defeated, he will gin up conspiracy theories to the effect that the vote was rigged. There are, by my count, 83 days between the election and the inauguration of the president. He will spend all of that time claiming that he was cheated out of a victory, and declaring that he will not accept the results of the election as announced. He will persuade some millions of people that he is right, and he will encouraged armed insurrection.
Will he succeed in seizing control of the state? It depends on two things: the behavior of the Secret Service and the behavior of the troops stationed in and around Washington DC. If the Secret Service and the Army refuse to obey his unlawful orders, he is cooked. His supporters may have lots of guns, but they are unorganized and untrained, and many if not most of them are blowhards who will collapse in the face of organized military force.
The power of a modern president consists entirely in his or her ability to get very large numbers of people to accept his or her commands. It depends, if I may borrow a phrase from myself, on the president’s possession of de facto, not de jure, legitimate authority. To put it crudely, it depends on whether when he says “fire!” they fire.
Trump has done virtually nothing to cultivate loyalty to himself personally among either the members of the Secret Service or the military at the colonel/general level. It helps us in this matter that he is personally a coward.
So everything depends on defeating him sufficiently decisively so that the matter does not go to the Supreme Court, as it did in 2000. It is too early to tell which Democratic hopeful has the best chance. That should become clearer by the late fall. If it is the despicable Biden, so be it. If it is Warren or Sanders or Harris, all the better. There is a progressive movement afoot in the country, and it can survive a Biden presidency. It may not survive a Trump second term.
Does this sound like a counsel of desperation? Damn right.