Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Impeach Trump?



     Impeach Trump? You're kidding, right? Impeach him for what? Pervasive toxic jerkishness is not, alas, a high crime and misdemeanor, the standard set out in the Constitution. 
    Or do you think he can be impeached because his campaign colluded with the Russia during the election? Is that even a crime?  
    If it is, don't you imagine that there are a plenty of cringing underlings for Trump to casually kick into the ditch? While the Donald smirks his personal responsibility away and fires off a few dead-of-night tweets glorying in it all? Nothing has stuck to him yet. Why would this?    
     Besides, who would do the impeaching?  Congress, right? The Republican Congress. The same trembling cowards who can't even utter a word criticizing the most unfit leader our nation has ever seen are somehow going to magically pivot and great rid of him? After they shelved all their supposed beliefs and principles to meekly shuffle wherever he decided to lurch today. It's like expecting a spinning weather vane to hop off the old barn and point your way through a forest.
    Won't happen. It surprises me to hear people speculating it could happen. Magical thinking, on par with believe-in-fairies-or-Tinkerbell-will-die. And it's such a pathetically easy solution. Deus ex machina; let's just wish this away. A denial of hard realities not dissimilar from the kind of head-in-the-sand outlook that got Trump elected in the first place.
     And like many fantasies, destructive in that it distracts us with daydreams from the hard work at hand. You don't need to harvest the crop if you are convinced gnomes will do it. And there is hard, right-now work beyond breathlessly awaiting what the Washington Post will dig up next.
     Whenever the subject comes up, I shock the people taking a big lungful of the pipe dream by saying, "Impeach him? It's far more likely we'll re-elect him." They stand there, exhaling, the blissed out grin dying on their faces.
    We should be talking about his reelection, not his impeachment. I can see reelection happening. Easily.  It's the far more likely outcome — if somebody wants to put down his money on impeachment, and I can put and equal sum down on re-election, winner-take-all, I'll grab at that bet.  But you'll lose.
     His base is standing with him, more or less. The Democrats have nobody. And it's happened before. The pattern is already there. History is not a schematic for the future, but there are hints and lessons there. Since those spinning impeachment dreams drum up Richard Nixon, who resigned after the gears of impeachment began to grind him. So let's go with Nixon. 
    In 1968, he defeated Hubert Humphrey, an unloved political hack not unlike Hillary Clinton.  While Nixon drifted to the center -- he created the EPA, went to China -- the Democrats tacked left, nominating George McGovern, who was so progressive he lost 49 states. 
     So sure, the impeachment process swung into action against Nixon. But he was also re-elected, after Watergate began to grab headlines. 
     The Bernie Sanders sideshow could convince the Democrats that a similarly radical candidate—though not Sanders himself, thank you God, for one because he'll be 79 in 2020—can have a chance in hell, which Sanders wouldn't have had once America took a good hard look at what was behind his slogans, which wasn't much. We're not a radical left nation. We can't even find our way to national health care, like every other nation on earth with indoor plumbing. 
    Don't get me wrong. Given the daily shocks that the Trump administration serve up when he isn't abroad, deeply humiliating the country, giving NATO a kick (I wish I could believe Putin pays him directly for this kind of thing; my gut tells me they just both think alike) and re-assuring the Europeans that their traditional tacit contempt for America is finally justified, no one can say when whatever smoking gun, tawdry tape, or grotesque cruelty or stupidity will finally pry his supporters' fingers off the door jamb. It's possible.
    But don't hold your breath. There's no reason to consider it now. We just elected the guy last November. And in once sense, we got exactly what we paid for. Nobody can say they were deceived by Trump—sure, he made all these mendacious promises that he didn't even pretend to try to keep. But it was clear he'd do that, particularly since half of what he promised was patently impossible. If voters could screw their eyes tight and vote for him in November, what makes you think they won't stay that way for the next eight years? Opening your eyes to Trump now would be like opening your eyes under the ocean. It burns. 
     The only focus should be: elect Democratic Congressmen in 2018. Then we can talk impeachment, provided we're still allowed to talk at all. Until then, find a decent presidential candidate for 2020 who won't be so flawed she lets a notorious liar, bully and fraud get his tiny hands on the levers of power.

22 comments:

  1. I would never call Hubert Humphrey "an unloved political hack".
    He was the one who demanded that the Democrats kick the Dixiecrat racists out of the Democratic Party in 1948. And they did!
    Even better, he wasn't yet another wretched lawyer screwing up the country, he was a pharmacist.
    Unfortunately, he was tarred with Johnson's war & he wouldn't attack Johnson out of loyalty.
    As for that worthless asshole Gene McCarthy, who did a lot of damage to HHH in the primaries, he was a sore loser & refused to endorse Humphrey until just a couple of weeks before the election, thus causing his supporters to sit it out. Unlike Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for Hillary right after the convention & up to the election, even though we all know he was heart broken by not getting the nomination. Bernie understood that unity came before personal hurt!
    Admit it, the country would've been far better off with Humphrey as president than Nixon, who not only continued the Vietnam War, but escalated the hell out of it! Thousands more Americans died over there after January 20, 1969 & who knows how many Vietnamese, Cambodians & Laotians also died because of Nixon's escalated war?

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    1. One metric for defining the intensity of warfare is to examine the list of annual U.S. military deaths.

      1956 - 1959 4
      1960 5
      1961 16
      1962 53
      1963 122
      1964 216
      1965 1,928
      1966 6,350
      1967 11,363
      1968 16,899
      1969 11,780
      1970 6,173
      1971 2,414
      1972 759
      1973 68
      1974 1
      1975 62
      1976 - 1979 0

      Clearly once Nixon was president he began de-escalating our war footing. It certainly could have been a quicker process, but he had the strange notion that we must achieve peace with honor.

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    2. I think some of that comes from fewer boots on the ground, but more bombing, especially bombing of non-combatants, i.e. "bomb them back to the stone age" per Henry Kissinger.

      John

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    3. Clark: Meh. I agree that Humphrey would have been a better president than Nixon, but that's a pretty low bar. Driving out the Dixiecrat racists is easier when you're from Minnesota. As for Vietnam, if he promised to continue the war out of "loyalty" to Johnson, that shows bad judgment or bad character or both.

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    4. Humphrey didn't promise to continue the war out of loyalty to Johnson, he just refused to attack Johnson out of loyalty.
      There's a huge difference!
      And it wasn't a low bar comparing Humphrey to Tricky Dick. Plus, to kick out the Dixiecrats turned out to be difficult, it set the stage for Nixon's Southern Strategy, which has crippled the Democrats for decades nationally.

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    5. I think RFK could have won the presidency if he hadn't been killed.

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  2. I agree with you about the pipe dream of impeachment under a Republican congress ( though it's odd you ignored the one thing that is maybe a crime, firing Comey because he was investigating him.). And odd that you ignored the real problem with impeachment: we'd get Mike Pence. Other than not antagonizing foreign leaders and not acting like a thin skinned fourth grader when insulted, Pence would be likely worse than Trump, actually able to get the Republicans " more for the rich" "Less for the women" agenda easily put into law, without the scandal a day idiocy that distracts them now. And he'd have an even better chance of reelection than Trump (50/50 seems about right)

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    1. I agree Annie. At least Trump's White House is incompetent and in disarray. If Mike Pence becomes the president he'll be able to pass more of the radical Republican agenda.

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    2. Incompetence is not very good either. While nothing bad might not get done, nothing good gets done either.

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  3. Great piece! The threat of re-election is made even more real by the persistent attacks on the voting system itself -- the made-up vote fraud, the refrains of a "rigged system" that needs T****p to fix it. We'd be foolish to expect a fair election in 2018 or 2020. I'm fighting like hell now but also bracing for President Ivanka in 2024 (shoot me).

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  4. As long as voter suppression is legal the Republicans are going to "win", no matter how large the popular vote margin favors the democrat. The short-fingered vulgarian won't be impeached; he'll "resign for family reasons" when all of the low-hanging assets have safely been stripped and the GOP has to pretend to be reasonable until they can get the harder to reach ones.

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  5. One of the central features of our current dilemma as a nation and is too little mentioned is that there are no longer successive crops of strong leaders coming up through the ranks. You only have to look at the group of clowns who ran against Trump in the primaries or the few milk-toast contenders against Hillary and Bernie to see we have a serious deficit on both sides. Come 2020 I don't see anyone on either side rising to a level that will rally the troops to defeat the incumbent. God help us.

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  6. What the Democrats need is to fight for every state (50 state strategy) and not play the firewall game that Hillary's team played ignoring the states that eventually brought down her candidacy.

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  7. A realistically somber blog post, and thoughtful comments as well. On a lighter note, I liked the "spinning weather vane" line.

    SandyK

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  8. Since we, the people, have devolved our political process into soap opera like entertainment, it seems suspicious that Ringling Bros has gone out of business. Perhaps a couple ringmasters with their snapping whips, each with a cadre of clowns behind them, plan to run in 2020. Might as well. It worked in 2016. And yes, Pence would be the biggest butt kisser ever to hold the office. With 18th century ideas of his own to push forward. Be very careful what you wish for, people.

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  9. Good blog today and discussion.

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  10. Right now, Trump staying in office is better for this country and his opposition than leaving because of impeachment or criminal behavior. The Republicans are paralyzed, unable to enact their destructive legislation, while their representatives are finding more angry constituents at home. First, take back Senate and House seats, then worry about 2020.

    Watching Trump's dismay and inability to cope with the realities of high office, including the complete ineptness of his staff to control him, suggests further deterioration as time goes on. He's losing; he's actually impotent when it comes to dealing with the day to day demands of the job, let alone the nonstop media attacks he invited when he declared war against the press. I believe the mental and physical toll may keep him from trying for a second term. He's can't survive without the constant praise and adoration he's slowly losing with every misstep and broken promise exposed.

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  11. Neil,

    Do you share the outrage of what Debbie Wasserman Shultz did to Sanders? Why do you think Sanders is so damn unelectable? WHY EXACTLY will the American people reject Sanders??? I like his New Deal approach and would perhaps throw him a vote if Trump is ineffective. I'm on the hard right but open to a Sanders ticket....

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    1. "WHY EXACTLY will the American people reject Sanders???"

      Well, him getting pretty systematically stomped in the Democratic primaries is a pretty good indicator. And your side would have brought out the voter suppression apparatus not matter who the Democrats nominated; Bernie being a white man would not have made any difference to the army of persuaders and legislators who left no stone unturned in their efforts to keep Democratic voters away from the polls.

      Perhaps a few misogynists would have pulled the lever for the Democrat instead of committing electoral suicide, but all of those formerly battleground states would still have ended up choosing (perfectly legally, just like the Fugitive Slave Act) the short-fingered vulgarian.

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    1. As was the DNC on how they treated Bernie.

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