A central question facing Republicans as they consider impeaching, convicting, and barring Donald Trump from future office is this: What would happen if Trump were a Republican or independent presidential candidate in November 2024?
He’d be the same age in 2024 as President-elect Joe Biden is now, so the possibility of another Trump presidential campaign is nothing to scoff at.
Would the balloting be conducted under the threat of widespread violence?
Trump’s first national-security adviser, Mike Flynn, suggested in 2020 that Trump should send in the military to seize Dominion voting machines so they could investigate the delusional conspiracy theory that the machines switched ballots from Trump to Biden.
Trump wouldn’t control the military in 2024, but would the Proud Boys or other militia groups step in and preemptively seize voting machines?
If not, would extremists allow the gathering of the Electoral College to be conducted peacefully? Or might the QAnon lunatics stage a repeat of January 6, 2021, in state capitols across the country? The threat of the latter is very real.
The gravity of what happened on January 6, 2021, will weigh a lot on the consciences of some members of Congress as they debate impeachment, conviction, and barring Trump from holding future office. There is a real prudential concern that impeachment will empower the lunatics to win some Republican primaries. But there is also an important question about the foreseeable dangers of another presidential run in 2024 of the first American president who tried to overturn the results of the Electoral College.