Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
There are political arguments to be made against beginning impeachment proceedings right now but “this will galvanize the Republicans to vote for him in 2020” is not one I find convincing on any level.
Start by setting aside the Trump base, who will vote for him regardless of what he says or does, for myriad reasons that include his naked bias towards reducing corporate burdens to his equally naked bigotry and cruel streaks. Impeachment is not a factor in their vote, since their vote for 2020 was already carved in marble sometime in the middle of 2015.
So the galvanization argument is about the voting bloc of Swings Right, who voted for Trump in 2016 and perhaps found some level of buyer’s remorse over the past two years. Perhaps this was due to the cascade of scandals, or the gradual realization that the petty firebrand they saw on the campaign trail would not mature once ensconced within the office; that instead, like all narcissists granted excessive power, he would grow even more entitled and mean. Perhaps something his administration did or said harmed them personally, either through the ongoing trade war with China or through his aggressive deportation policies exiling a loved one. Perhaps they have seen through his false piety and his false support of the military to view the canny grifter beneath. Perhaps it was a singular breaking point, such as his mild responses to deadly white nationalism, or his dismissive demeanor in the face of disasters, or his willingness to torment asylum seekers and tear families apart at a whim.
Impeachment is a process of investigating at least one high crime and demanding accountability from the accused, should the case be made that a crime was committed. If any of the people in that Swings Right bloc is willing to stand behind Trump anyway solely because such a process has been started then it was in fact their remorse that was false, a lie that they told themselves about the principles they had, the line they could no longer cross. I would not trust such voters even if impeachment proceedings do not begin, so I see no reason to listen to their threats about what they will do if impeachment occurs.
The special counsel spent two years investigating the president and his campaign staff for their financial and other ties with Russian oligarchs, indicting several individuals within the president’s inner circle. Yesterday Mueller underlined key findings from his report by stating plainly that there was a concerted and alarming effort by the Russian state to influence our elections and that at no point did they discover cause to exonerate the president within the scope of their investigation — only that they were prohibited from seeking charges by Department of Justice guidelines insulating the office of the president, and that the Constitution specifically outlines other mechanisms by which said president could be charged instead.
And so those who would be galvanized to vote for Trump in 2020 would also be doing so despite the relatively clear insinuation at the center of Mueller’s labyrinthine legalese, and I don’t see a reason to trust their judgment or court their favor either.
Clinton’s impeachment trial famously left him more popular with the electorate than should otherwise have been expected for a man who nonetheless faced penalties for his action including a formal censure and the forfeiture of his law license, which seems to be the metric some are using to urge caution about impeachment now. But Trump’s impeachment would not be Clinton’s impeachment any more than Clinton’s was Andrew Johnson’s, or any of theirs would have been Nixon’s had Nixon not chosen to resign.
The voters I am looking to galvanize are those who believe that when you commit a crime, including and especially if that crime involves allowing a hostile foreign power to erode our electoral and governmental processes, you should be punished for it regardless of how many buildings you’ve put your name on. And I think there are many more of those worth reaching out to than I would those who allow a criminal to retain power simply because he affixes their preferred consonant after his name.
Impeach, Congress. Outline the messaging and subpoena strategy you need to make the process most effective and rigorous, but impeach.