Timing is everything in romance, comedy and political impeachment. For the cornered Trump, whose sleazy character made inevitable his scandal-laden destiny, time is running short. With Senate conviction a long shot, why not sustain House investigations well into 2019, calling for a late summer impeachment vote? That won’t leave time for an elaborate trial but imagine the November election clout.
For justice, if not America, to regain credibility here and abroad, Democrats must shine a spotlight on the entire Republican Party as willing, reckless, enabling co-conspirators. “Guilt by association” fits this bill: only craven cohorts sustain an overt felon as party leader.
The opening gambit, with fuller revelations to come, should turn a lame duck into our first dead duck president – presiding in name only. Wobbly Trumpers can’t ignore two more years of blatant “populist” failures, despite bellowing, manic lying, and deranged arm waving. The more important Act Two is to crush the Republican brand, dragging it through copious Trump mud – and connecting all criminal conspiracy dots. Trump is not alone in making America a defenseless, anti-democratic banana republic rife for looting and desecration.
Let’s take 18 months to reinforce Republican Rick Wilson’s perfectly titled bestseller, “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” Let’s miss no opportunity to demonstrate why Trump so easily hijacked the GOP, nor why saving America depends on proving “all that Republicans touch crash and burn.” The mammoth political body blows, few of which Trump invented, are impossible to miss: campaign incivility, fat cat election manipulations, minority voter suppression, shameless lying, rejection of humane health care coverage, foreign policy debacles, extremist judges, egregious tax giveaways, the destruction of air, soil and water quality, plus truly mindless denial of climate jeopardy. The future depends on not just cutting the spitting, illegitimate head of the snake but the entire, enabling body.
Make Trump unelectable
The ever-widening tsunami of Trump infamies make re-election hard to imagine: in number and range, this career criminal already exceeds all other presidents put together. Nothing Trump touches helps people in need, serves the majority, or enacts his faux “populism.” Why shouldn’t Rethugs who elevated this Racketeer-in-Chief pay the highest penalties, like those already convicted, including banishment and disgrace?
It’s not as if Trump invented right-wing hegemony and its lust for single-party autocracy, demagoguery, and ongoing theft of assets that belong to all. If only Trump ends up disgraced, Democrats will have squandered a golden opportunity to shred this racist, misogynistic, anti-democratic, conspiracy-packed, truth-adverse, reactionary party. Only then will the door to progressive, systemic reform open.
No wonder Pelosi and Democrat leaders don’t talk up impeachment, especially right off the bat. Echoing a famous coach, “be quick, but don’t rush.” Yes, Trump fatigue afflicts Democrats, but only strategic, delayed gratification can fully torpedo entrenched right-wing extremism. Short of smoking guns on serial Trump felonies, the Senate won’t convict (needing 67 votes). And who among us wants President Pence? Thus, let’s take our time to turn the Trump knife against party cronyism, pay-to-play corruption, massive hypocrisy, minority-bashing, and the wholesale betrayal of America’s core melting pot narrative. The best way to recover our valued narrative – for newcomer opportunities, educational and intellectual advances, the embrace of reason and evidence – is displace the ludicrous unreality that infects the GOP.
Why not envision months of redemptive national re-education, like ’60’s teach-ins or Nixon hearings, to remind us who we are? Why not detail every Trumpian infamy and then derail empty Republican slogans that wither under scrutiny? What’s classically “conservative” about skyrocketing deficit spending, siding with militant extremists, divisive racist tribalism, dismissing family values like marriage constancy, impugning federal judges, war heroes like McCain or Gold Star families? When have traditional “free market” Republicans ever scorned executive expertise, whether about economics (opposing insane trade wars), counterproductive security spending (the Wall), or intelligence agencies (warring against the FBI and CIA)? When did honorable Republicans push contempt for women or siding with dictators or bashing minorities? When does the GOP pay for its moral and intellectual negligence, offering zero ballast to gross party misconduct?
It’s the party, stupid!
Until the GOP is brought to its knees, the alliance of backward billionaires, rabid right-wingers and aggrieved, small-minded Trump voters will hold reigns of power – and no check on ever-costly excesses. Yes, Democrats must take the Senate and win the White House for systemic, progressive reforms to emerge. But the greatest obstacle to progress —an intact Republican Party that escapes severe punishment – must be decimated. A criminal lame duck president is the ideal battering ram to produce a lame duck national party. A rattlesnake can still inject venom even with its head cut off.
If Dems do impeachment right, Trump Republicans in battleground states should be retired in high numbers. Methodically seizing the day with unremitting investigations, glaring headlines, and countless indictments can simultaneously cripple two menacing birds. Simply relate Trump scandals to the ugly Republican party mindset, focusing on corrupt deals, self-interested greed, attacks on health care, and acquiescence to the dumbest trade and foreign policies ever. Shame strong Trump supporters, making them as uncomfortable and vulnerable as possible.
I trust today’s not exactly-brilliant Democrats, prone to grab defeat from the jaws of victory, get the advantages of not rushing impeachment: the objective is to thoroughly de-legitimize Trump, then use his scandals to expose his cabinet and years of ruthlessly Machiavellian party machinations. Trump is stylistically (often stupidly) unusual, but dislodging Republican strengths should be the constant goal. Let’s hope the next two years broadcast who and what represent the greatest threat to the nation – and the world – and how only this country’s voters can penalize a party that undermines our best values and the American dream for the many, not the few.