Might some decisive event—Trump’s own version of the smoking-gun tape—kick the Republican props out from under Trump? Maybe. But Trump’s strategy is antithetical to Nixon’s. Nixon maintained a façade of probity and normalcy. Trump doesn’t bother. He has publicly asked the Russians to tamper with U.S. elections, publicly helped cover for their having done so, and then publicly acknowledged firing the FBI director for investigating the matter. His weaponization of flagrance, as I have argued elsewhere, draws his supporters into complicity. Given that his Republican approval has stayed in the eighties, the GOP base appears to have priced in, so to speak, his deviant and erratic behavior.
Perhaps there are limits to Republicans’ tolerance, but if Trump hasn’t already triggered them, it is hard to imagine where they are. The firing of a special prosecutor? An indictment? Possibly, but one wonders if it might be literally true that Trump could, as he once boasted, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and retain Republican support.
The numbers support no predictions, but they offer a hint. Even under a worst-case scenario of presidential malfeasance, removing Trump would be no easy or quick task.