As the House impeachment of President Donald Trump becomes more of a forgone political conclusion it’s worth considering what terms and conditions Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will extract in order to preserve a Trump Presidency.
First, McConnell doesn’t care about holding a majority position in the Senate. Whether he is a majority leader or a minority leader doesn’t matter to McConnell. In fact McConnell’s political skill-set does better in the minority than the majority.
The preferred political position for Mitch McConnell is where he has between 45 and 49 republican Senators, and the Democrats hold the Majority with around 55. Of course with Reid’s retirement, this would now be with Majority leader Chuck Schumer holding office.
Why does McConnell prefer the minority position?
The answer is where you have had to actually follow Mitch McConnell closely to see how he works. When the Majority has around 52 to 55 seats, they need McConnell to give them 8 to 9 votes to overcome the three-fifths (60 vote) threshold for their legislative needs. It is in the process of trade and payment for those 8 to 9 votes where McConnell makes more money, and holds more power, than as a sitting Majority Leader.
The 60 vote threshold, and McConnell’s incredible skillset in the minority, is where he shines. Each of the needed votes to achieve sixty is worth buckets of indulgence to the minority leader. This is why McConnell never changed the Senate rules for legislative passage.
Except for budget passage (reconciliation); and McConnell being forced by intransigence in the era of Trump resistance to change the judicial vote threshold to 51; McConnell would never consider changing the legislative threshold to a simple majority because it would be removing his favored position. A simple majority vote is adverse to his interests; that’s why he retained it during his reign as majority leader; as did Harry Reid before him.
Currently, as majority leader, McConnell needs to purchase eight or nine votes for each legislative priority.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t like being the purchaser, he prefers being the vote seller where his skill-set as a broker really shines. McConnell is much better at extracting terms for his vote sales, than being the purchaser for the votes of an intransigent minority wing. This is why the current Senate doesn’t pass many bills.
If Democrats were in the majority, and McConnell was the minority leader, we would see much more legislation pass because Schumer is a more well financed buyer (K-Street) and McConnell is a much better seller. Whenever we have this minority dynamic it always leaves people confused because few really watch what McConnell is doing.
McConnell takes his favorite twenty controlled GOP senators and brokers their votes on an ‘as needed’ basis. The eight to ten senators he selects each time get compensated in the process. McConnell rotates the financial beneficiaries on a bill-by-bill basis. As a consequence each of the 20 or so McConnell senators gets quite wealthy over time, and McConnell gains additional power and influence.
If any of the republican Senators attempt to disrupt this UniParty business model McConnell excommunicates them from the legislative process; the best reference for the ‘incommunicado’ approach is former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).
Additional references for how McConnell operates this scheme as the Minority Leader can be found in the Corker-Cardin amendment which allowed the Iran nuclear deal/payments under Obama; and/or the “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority deal for TPP passage, again for President Obama’s maximum benefit. In these examples McConnell worked with Harry Reid to flip the vote threshold from votes to approve, to votes needed to deny.
Within TPP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was again working on the priorities of U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue. McConnell and Donohue have been working together on UniParty trade and domestic legislative issues for around twenty years. It is well established that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has one major career alliance that has been unbroken and unchanged for well over two decades. That alliance is with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and specifically with CoC President Tom Donohue.
CoC President Tom Donohue represents Wall Street interests and supports: all multinational trade deals, open-border immigration policies, amnesty legislative constructs, and all of the issues that have generally irked common-sense GOP voters for the same period of time. [SEE HERE and SEE HERE].
Tom Donohue is the biggest lobbyist spender in DC every year, by a mile.
To remind ourselves how Minority and Majority Senator McConnell took down the threat of the Tea Party revisit these old articles: CNN Part I and CNN Part II both showcase how McConnell works. Then do some research on how McConnell worked with Haley Barbour in Mississippi [SEE HERE].
So the reason for outlining this Senate dynamic is simply to remind everyone that with a Senate impeachment trial coming up, it’s not the 2020 campaign to hold a majority in the senate that matters to Mitch McConnell. If McConnell can rid himself of Tom Donohue’s nemesis, President Trump, and simultaneously return to his preferred and more lucrative position as minority leader, he would be quite happy.
The first opportunity for leverage over the White House will come in the shape of the Senate “rules of impeachment”. The senate will have wide latitude in how they set-up the processes and procedures for the trial – and McConnell never misses an opportunity to leverage a “get” from his senate position.
So what will the White House need to give McConnell… or what will McConnell’s ask be, in order to protect the office of the president? Here’s where you have to remember Tom Donohue and the Wall St priorities.
McConnell (subtext Donohue) would prefer the confrontation with China be eliminated and the tariffs dropped. Is that too big an “ask”? Would the White House sell/trade McConnell a China deal for better impeachment terms?
All of these are questions worth pondering now, because there’s no doubt they are being discussed amid those in DC sitting on the comfy Corinthian wing-backs and gleefully rubbing their hands around a well polished mahogany table….
….There are trillions at stake !