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Charles Meredith: Visitors, forests and impeachment


Dear Friends,

Good morning. If I were Donald Trump, I’d be terrified. He was the subject of a CNN report on the Anderson Cooper TV show last Wednesday night (Sept. 25).

Reporters interviewed residents from New Hope and Quakertown. It wasn’t positive news for The Donald. I assume that CNN was holding similar discussions in towns and cities across America. More in a moment.

But first, did you see that an estimate of 8.1 million visitors came to Bucks County last year? This month Visit Bucks County celebrated a record breaking $1.1 billion in total economic impact from tourists, a 6.2 percent increase in just one year.

I thought about the county and state parks in Bucks. They certainly had much positive influence in the “Visit Bucks County” success. But trouble is lurking in our biggest park … Nockamixon. Decades of neglect face its future. Nockamixon State Park needs more than $24 million in maintenance work.

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation (PPFF) released a report that blames years of underfunding and understaffing for the park’s state of disrepair. Renovations and improvements to the park’s marina, sewer and water facilities, bridges, and roads are badly needed. The number of visitors to the 5,280 acre Nockamixon State Park exceeds 1.2 million, annually.

Nancy Ball is a Milford Township resident and state park activist. She’s also a member of the Board of Directors of PPFF. Recently, she participated in a tour of state and county parks in Bucks. Nancy Ball told me that the economic impact from the Nockamixon State Park generates more than $18 million each year.

All lovers of our parks need to keep our legislators’ feet to the fire. The state parks in Bucks, like Nockamixon and the Delaware Canal, face tremendous trouble if the legislature does not adequately fund the maintenance of these assets.

And now to the CNN story. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million … but failed in the electoral college. She won in Bucks County … narrowly by 3,000 votes. I thought that the reason why Trump won was because of Clinton fatigue.

My prediction for 2020 is that Trump will lose because of the same factor … fatigue. That is, if he doesn’t resign first.

In a moment, I’ll give you my reasons why I think Trump will quit. But first, the Quakertown and New Hope responses were interesting. On that very day, Sept. 25, the House of Representatives began an impeachment inquiry of the president. Earlier in the same day, the media revealed that last July, the president threatened to hold up a quarter of a billion dollars in military aid for the Ukraine unless the Ukraine government was willing to dig up dirt against Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s principle Presidential opponent.

As MB and I watched the New Hope and Quakertown interviews, we concluded that considerably more respondents were critical of the president than were for him. If that’s a precursor of how Pennsylvanians will vote next year, President Trump could lose Pennsylvania and its electoral votes.

The reasons why I believe that the president will resign before the 2020 election are the following:

First. Trump can’t take the chance of having his federal and New York state tax returns revealed. He knows that the public will go ballistic if it learns that he paid hush money to call-girls and then lied about it. The evangelicals, which up to know have been looking the other way, will have little choice but to abandon him.

My bet is that Donald Trump is holding secret meetings right now to determine whether federal and state prosecutors would agree to not prosecute him if he resigns.

There is precedence here. In 1972, President Nixon won reelection in a landslide. Prior to that election, however, the Watergate scandal was just beginning. But the public was unaware. By late 1973, the uproar escalated, costing Nixon much of his political support.

On Aug. 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment, the only time an American president has done so. After his resignation, Nixon was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. That pardon probably contributed to President Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter.

While I don’t think that President Trump pays close attention to history, I do think that he knows the Nixon story. President Trump does not want to face an impeachment trial even if the U.S. Senate probably won’t convict him.

Trump must not want an asterisk behind his name declaring that he faced impeachment.

We’ll see.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

P.S. Did you see that Nancy Pannebaker Barclay of Hatfield (and Bay Head, N.J.) died at age 76. The wife of Charles M. Barclay, she was well known as a fifth grade public school teacher, sailor, paddle tennis and golf player, and very involved parishioner of the Deep Run Presbyterian Church in Dublin.

By the way, Our good friend David Keller died last week at age 88. His obituary ran in last week’s Herald. A resident of Pine Run and formerly of Buckingham, Dave was an Army veteran (Korea), banker, Quaker, Republican activist, thespian, and thoroughly good man. More on Dave next week.