Saturday, August 4, 2018

Trump and Impeachment

I haven't written much on Trump and impeachment because right now there is no chance of that happening. The endless media frenzy over this or that action, lie or statement taken or made by Trump and especially the hyperbolic hyperorgasmic hysteria and anticipation over every little piece of news from the Mueller investigation has exactly the wrong impact on anti-Trump partisans.

The Department of Justice is not going to indict Donald Trump while he is President. No one is going to burst into Mar-a-lago, drag Trump's obese behind outside at gunpoint and make him kneel on the curb with his hands up and fingers interlocked. No one will make President Trump do the perp walk in front of cameras before guiding him none too gently into the back seat of an unmarked government issue Mercury Grand Marquis. No one can call early elections to get rid of Trump. In our political system, absent sickness, death by natural causes, or some unforeseen and utterly out of character attack of conscience, Trump isn't going anywhere.

The only non-violent way to get rid of Trump is for the majority of the House to vote to impeach and for two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict. That's it. Democrats don't currently have the numbers to do that. And they likely won't get them in both the Senate and House. Only two Presidents were ever impeached; both were acquitted in the Senate.
The Mueller investigation, once completed, may embarrass Trump and his cronies. It may indict more close friends, relatives, and business partners. It may send more people to prison. It may even reveal more intimate and personal Trump foibles. If such foibles are sufficiently perverse, maybe even a few Republicans might recoil in disgust. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. 

But Mueller will not save us. 

The only way to stop Trump is to convince enough Americans in enough states that there are better choices out there, both morally and consequentially. This is harder work than relying on special prosecutors or judges. This people who would do this have to convince people in the so-called flyover/heartland/Rust Belt states. They have to talk to people who don't automatically understand or immediately accept such concepts as microaggressions, institutional racism, white privilege, or patriarchy. That doesn't mean Democrats need to ignore their base. But if 2016 taught Democrats anything it should have been that it's a big freaking country. You have to (1) get your base out to vote, (2) get new voters registered to vote for you, AND (3) go after the winnable section of the electorate that consider themselves independent or which voted for Trump.

I think Democrats often pick one tactic and react as if anyone making another choice is a horrible sinful person who should be summarily drummed out of the party, perhaps even humanity.  No. All three tactics are useful. Someone who is running for election outside of an overwhelmingly Democratic district or state will have to use a different mix of tactics to win than someone who's holding a safe seat that hasn't gone Republican since the early thirties. The Democrats don't control the House. They do not control the Senate. And if Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should slip on a banana peel and transition to the Great Courtroom in the sky any time in the next two years, the Supreme Court will complete its transition from Republican controlled to Republican dominated. The fact that the very right-wing Chief Justice John Roberts is the new Democratic hope to become a swing vote on the Supreme Court is pathetic.

As President Obama once opined, elections have consequences. Democrats need to stop looking backwards at 2016 or fantasizing that the Mueller probe will undo everything. Find a message, rally your base, get more people registered to vote, and learn how to talk to certain voters who do not agree with you on everything, even if you think them morally or intellectually damaged. There is no other way.
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