“The coup has started.” I put these words in quotations because they were actually tweeted out by someone in the know. No, this wasn’t one of President Trump’s ubiquitous tweets. This tweet belongs to Mark Zaid. Who is Mark Zaid you ask? He is none other than the Trump whistleblower’s attorney. Most importantly, this tweet was launched in January 2017. Zaid even followed up that tweet with, “Impeachment will follow immediately.”

I think of television show Laugh In’s comic Artie Johnson in his Nazi uniform, in a sinister German accent saying, “Interesting, but it’s all screwed up.”

For those of you who still believe the fairy tale that impeachment will solve all of your problems, now is the time to disabuse yourself of this myth. The fact is, the Democrats were offered the form of their destructor, ala Dr. Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters, and instead of choosing the Staypuff Marshmallow Man, chose Adam Schiff. Schiff will go down in history as the destructor of the Democrats 2020 presidential election chances.  

It is common knowledge that there is a coterie of Clinton Democrats, coo-coo social activists, conflicted billionaires, tech magnates, Justice Department and security detritus from 24 consecutive years of reign by the swamp creatures, media moguls and never-Trumpers who believe that Donald Trump could have a tire hung around his neck and be dealt with like Richard Nixon in 1974. Let me tell you from personal experience, this ain’t your mamma’s impeachment.

In 1974, as a 100% committed supporter of Richard Nixon, I lived, breathed, ate and slept his investigation, Watergate Committee hearings and ultimate resignation. I spent four months of that year working in Washington, D. C. as a college intern for a congressman. As part of the internship program, I had the opportunity to attend social functions at international embassies, live and interact with both Republican and Democrat students, walk the halls of Congress daily and gain access to a couple of the Senate Watergate Committee hearings. Based on my past experience, I feel comfortable telling you that the current attempt to remove Donald Trump from office has absolutely none of the feel of the atmosphere of 1974.

First, and this is most important, Watergate began with an actual, provable crime. Remember, that whole “high crimes and misdemeanors” thing actually requires “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Donald Trump’s problems began with a Hillary Clinton paid-for dossier of a foreign operative with an ax to grind which was leaked to the press, seized by the FBI and used as the justification for a FISA Court warrant. There is this time-honored legal concept regarding the “fruit of the poisonous tree” that becomes a major headache for anyone expecting to remove Donald Trump through legal means.

Obstruction of justice was present in the Watergate scandal and was documented and supported by actual proof and witnesses to the crime. People who committed crimes testified as to what they did and when they did it. “I presume, I assumed and I heard someone talking about something to someone who heard about something,” just didn’t cut it in 1974. It took a while, but facts and first-hand witnesses were ultimately Richard Nixon’s downfall.

Perhaps the most significant difference between 1974 and our current national malaise is that the American people were completely absorbed in the Senate Watergate hearings. People tuned in to television daily and listened intently to what each witness testified and saw the relevant evidence as presented. They witnessed transparency of the process, saw Republicans get to call their own witnesses and ask whatever questions popped into their minds. The American people made up their own minds as to Richard Nixon’s culpability. They had no desire to defer their ability to make up their own minds to MSNBC, CNN, the Huffington Post or the New York Times. Slowly, gradually and then like a snowball rolling down a hill, the avalanche of public opinion told Richard Nixon that all hope was lost.  

The facts with this trumped up Trump investigation are that the hearings are not being conducted by a Judiciary Committee. There is no transparency in the process. Republicans are not allowed to call their own witnesses and are barred from asking questions deemed by Chairman Adam Schiff to be inconvenient. In short, the American people can smell a big, fat rat.  It has been painful to see a former ambassador sit and whine about being removed from her post, when the fact is that past presidents routinely fired politically appointed ambassadors at will when taking office. Twelve witnesses have appeared to date and not one of them could affirmatively answer the question of “Do you have any proof, evidence or first-hand knowledge that President Trump committed a criminal act?” Democrats have no proof and that fact is now painfully evident to the American people. The average thoughtful American now knows that instead of evidence in search of an impeachment, they have witnessed an impeachment in search of evidence.

While I don’t live my life by polls, those available should scare the bejeebers out of the Democrats. Trumps poll numbers have risen during this impeachment process, particularly in some critical swing states. This fact brings me to my final reason why this is not a 1974 redux.  Rumor has it that those crazy whacky guys and gals who we like to call United States Senators are political animals. They have one hand in your wallet and the other on your pulse. In 1974, Republican senators could sense the ultimate direction of the Watergate investigation and were quick to jump ship. President Nixon’s men could count noses and knew that he would ultimately be removed from office if he allowed himself to be impeached and tried. A few Republicans, such as Senator Lowell Weicker, even ran to the front of the crowd and tried to look like they were leading the parade.  

During the final days of the Watergate ordeal, I had the opportunity to be invited to a political fundraising event in Washington, DC for Richard Lugar. I had spent my off hours working on his Senate campaign and Keith Bulen was nice enough to invite me to attend the event. What an event this was! I was one of only five non-senators at the event. I availed myself of the opportunity to slide up to senators at the Swedish meatball tray and strike up a conversation.  To most of these senators, I was just a young kid, but to a few, loosened up by chicken on a stick or cocktails, I was worthy of engaging. My most memorable conversation was with Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania. I had participated in a meeting a few weeks earlier where Scott and Senator Ted Kennedy had spoken. Senator Scott had been overwhelmingly appreciated by the group of both Republican and Democrat interns and I related that fact to him. Perhaps because of starting our conversation by telling him that the young interns liked him much more than Senator Kennedy, he loosened up a bit. Probably, it was because he couldn’t get to the guacamole without going through me! I asked Senator Scott, point blank, whether or not Nixon could survive the process. Senator Scott, speaking to me like a grandfather, answered simply, “Son, don’t go down with this ship.”

The present and powerful truth is that Senate Republicans have shown no cracks in their support for Donald Trump. If it comes to a Senate trial, life will substantially change for the Democrats. Tables will be turned and Republicans will be allowed to call their own witnesses and ask any questions that they’d like. It will not be pretty for a whole slew of heretofore protected Democrat scions and their co-conspirators. I imagine that fact keeps many a Democrat up at night. It is one thing to run around making wild, unprovable accusations about Russian collusion or Ukrainian quid pro quos, but quite another to face the reality of a Senate impeachment trial. When that happens, as it surely must, the American people will demonstrate their indignation at the polls and it won’t be pretty.

No, this is not 1974. The names, faces, circumstances and facts, or lack thereof, are all different.  The outcome will be different. To the Trump-haters of the world, I understand that you don’t want him to be president. Our Constitution has provided an excellent way to remove him from office. It’s called the ballot box! If you truly loved your country, you would trust the process.  I find it amazing that a party that calls itself democratic, just won’t trust democracy. 

My advice to my Democrat friends, “Son, don’t go down with that ship.”