When Donald Trump Has A Point...
Impeachment really is the key to defeating him.
|Alexandra Erin||Oct 29, 2019|| 8||2|
One of the lines that Donald and his enablers have trotted out again and again is that the Democrats are pressing forward with impeachment because they don't think they can win in 2020.
I think he's wrong about that being the motivation.I mean, as far as the impetus goes, he's been saying that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the DNC as a whole wanted to impeach him for day one, even while anyone who was paying attention could tell that was not true. The Speaker had to be basically backed into a corner by the brazen criminality of Trump... not just his corruption, not just his attempts to cover up that corruption, but his habit of doubling down and essentially bragging about both the crime and the cover up.
There were so many points where he could have just stopped, just toned it down a little, just roped it in the tiniest amount, taken an olive branch or a life preserver that the Democrats offered him in the name of normalcy, and he would have slid right through to the 2020 elections without more than an occasional slap on the wrist.
And if this had happened?
I think he'd be right... I honestly believe the Democrats would have no chance of beating him, without impeachment.
The absolute best case against Donald Trump any candidate can make depends on highlighting both his unfitness for office and his criminal malfeasance in how he has pursued it. But his conduct is so beyond the pale and so ridiculously arrogant that telling the plain truth about it risks sounding like hyperbole.
In this regards, Donald remains is the perfect bobble-head doll of the Republican Party: grotesquely and cartoonishly enlarged in features while diminished in stature. The Republicans say that Democrats have been hijacked by a radical left wing of the party that wants to ban Christianity, make the US subservient to foreign globalists, institute full communism, open the borders, and so on. Many people in the Mild Moderate Middle take this as exaggeration, which it is (to say the least). The Democrats are to the left of the Republicans, but are still mostly a centrist party, center-right by the standards of most countries.
But the Republicans have been taken over by a radical right-wing, exemplified by the Evangelical lobby, the Freedom Caucus, etc. When Democrats accurately describe the cost of their policies, whether in programs cut, deficits created, or lives lost, the Mild Moderate Middle assumes that's also wild exaggeration. Concentration camps IN AMERICA? People dying of preventable illness IN AMERICA? Voter suppression IN AMERICA? Starvation IN AMERICA? That's not how reasonable people describe policy disagreements, is it?
The Middle always believes that the truth must be somewhere in the middle.
That's why they're the Middle..
The Republican Party realized the truth of this long ago and have weaponized it to constantly shift the middle to the right, but most people playing with something that powerful have a bit of restraint, if for no other reasons than they fear the consequences of going too far and losing control.
Donald has no such compunctions. When he finds something that works, he does it until it stops working, and then keeps doing it just in case there's some use left in the bottom that he missed. He'll scrape right through the bottom of the barrel in the hopes that there's another, better barrel underneath, complaining all the while that something that was supposed to work, isn't.
So Donald takes no pains to hide his crimes. He released the summary transcript himself, and brags repeatedly about how perfect it is, demanding his critics read it and agree. Why would he do that, the moderates are wont to wonder, if it really were a clear-cut confession of complicity? Sure, maybe the "do us a favor though" stuff is sketchy, especially if you take it all together with the rest of the stuff coming out about Ukraine, but he's saying it's perfect and the Democrats are saying it's an abuse of power and obviously there are strong opinions on both sides, right?
So what are they to make of it, if the Democrats keep saying he has abused his powers but they don't actually do anything about it? That's confirmation that, well, even if Trump is exaggerating when he says it was perfect, they're exaggerating when they say it's criminal. Since they're the ones making an accusation and since the default assumption is that the chief executive of the country can set policy, the Democrats come off as the bigger exaggerators, and kind of petty, too.
Any attempt to lay out the details of where he went wrong -- both in terms of harming US interests through his decisions and in terms of abusing power for personal gain -- just becomes background noise, more policy disagreements. More politics.
Pursuing impeachment, though, changes the calculus. It sends the message to the Middle: oh, wait, they're serious.. Maybe there's something there. It gives them a venue for laying out the facts. It gives them power to bring forward witnesses. It gives witnesses -- many of whom would otherwise have been on the fence with the Mild Moderate Middle about whether they should get involved in the politics of it all -- an impetus to come forward, a framework in which it's clearly not just a disagreement over the direction things are going.
Without the momentum behind impeachment, I don't think half the stuff that's come out in the past couple of weeks would have come out... even stuff that wasn't specifically turned up by the inquiries.
You can see this effect in how public approval for impeachment has grown over time, from the moment that Pelosi first started negotiating the beginnings of it with her caucus. If there was nothing there, it wouldn't work. Trying to manufacture all this out of nothing would be impossible. But having all the pieces there isn't the same as putting them together.
Donald's biggest weakness is the same as his biggest strength: he will double down without question when challenged, if he thinks there's even the ghost of a chance he can get away with it. Most people might do that once, or twice. Three times if they're cocky and have either nothing or everything to lose. He will do it again and again, until he finds the limit -- the point where someone actually stops him -- or he has all the marbles.
That's a strength if no one steps up and stops him, and a weakness if anyone does.
That's the secret to beating him. The secret to stopping him is you have to stop him.
He told us this in the debates, when Clinton challenged him about his sketchy trade practices as a businessman and his answer was "You should have stopped me." If he broke the law, it was up to the government to do something about it. If they didn't, he couldn't have done anything wrong.
He telegraphed this to the world on the night of his inauguration, when he slow-danced with his current wife to the song that sums up his life in his own mind, the song he hears in his head like he's a character on Ally McBeal.
He rung in his presidency with these prophetic words:
And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain...
What kind of man thinks that song serves as a triumphal victory march? The truth is he has spent his whole life chasing that curtain so he can face it and say he did it his way, and no one ever had the guts to drop it on him. Yet.
If the Democrats had blinked on impeachment -- if they still blink yet -- then he could spend all of 2020 answering any criticism that matters with, "Well, if that's so bad then why didn't someone do something? Why wasn't I impeached?" With impeachment on the table, his story is "They can't beat me at the ballot box, so they're trying to get rid of me by impeachment," but without it, it would be "They couldn't impeach me for this, but now they're running on it?"
Well, the smart money still says that we probably won't be rid of him through impeachment, since the Senate is still not prepared to convict... though, you know, stay tuned, because things are changing day by day.
But in a sense, he is right: the Democrats probably couldn't beat him at the ballot box if they didn't impeach him. Inaction takes the bite out of the biggest, most important criticisms they can levy. Doubly so because all the time and energy he and his proxies are spending to fight the impeachment is time they're not spending consolidating power and skewing the election.
Right now some of the Democratic candidates are grousing a little bit, or their campaigns are, over the prospect of having to curtail campaigning for a Senate trial sometime next year.
I think that when the time comes, if it comes, they will have by that point figured out that the trial is part of their campaign.
Anyone who can't figure out how to make their personal case to the nation as part of the trial doesn't stand a chance in the general election anyway.
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