Oblige Trump. Impeachment, please.

Anti-Trump artOur “extremely stable genius” loves to depict himself as a victim of witch-hunters. Impeachment? Bring it on! That’s what Donald Trump has said. Although Trump has been sending off mixed signals, I still believe that he pangs for impeachment.

But what if witch-hunters and friends came up with a well-crafted impeachment strategy for the here and now—mixed with a good, actionable vision for the 2020 campaign?

The key is to make a solid case for impeachment in the Democratically controlled House while expecting that the Senate Republicans almost surely will fail to follow through. Be proactive. Vaccinate the voters ahead of time against Republican lies and excuses. Then use this outrageous stubbornness—the GOP’s protection of the odious Trump—to the Democrats’ advantage in 2020 in congressional as well as presidential campaigns.

Ahead I’ll discuss the most promising areas for an impeachment inquiry. Then I’ll tell how the full impeachment process could work politically.

For those insisting on a legalistic approach to impeachment, keep in mind that Special Counsel Robert Mueller contradicted both Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr and refused to say Trump did not obstruct justice. Mueller has broached the obstruction question in 10 instances, and hundreds of former federal prosecutors now believe that Trump would indeed face “multiple felony charges” if he were not in the Oval Office. For example, with the Russian investigation mainly in mind, Trump fired FBI director James Comey. He also tried to get rid of Mueller himself. Those are examples of starting points with which countless legal experts and voters would feel comfortable.

With an official impeachment inquiry underway, Democrats would stand more chance of obtaining the court rulings and documents they need to prove what would surely be the underlying crimes. Questions abound on matters like the bromance between Trump and his good buddy Vladimir Putin. Chances are excellent that congressional investigators will discover money laundering on behalf of Putin’s pet oligarchs.

Just by doing their jobs, congressional Democrats may also discover tax evasion, fraud and other crimes happening domestically—if we go by New York Times reports on the Trump family’s massive tax dodges in the past. And the results could be lethal to Trump as a candidate even if he is not prosecuted while in the Oval Office.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist in the White House, is a right-wing nut, but in speaking to journalist Michael Wolff for a book titled Siege: Trump Under Fire, he was dead on. “In the book,” as summed up by the Daily Beast, “Bannon predicts Trump’s presidency will fall after investigations into his finances reveal to his supporters that he’s not some incredible self-made billionaire, but a crook. ‘This is where it isn’t a witch hunt—even for the hard-core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn,’ Bannon is quoted as saying. ‘Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.’”

Those facts and more could come out as a daily TV production, not only a written report. The hearings could take place while Democrats kept pounding away on bread-and-butter issues such as healthcare and wealth and income distribution, along with the increasingly saleable climate change.

Yes, many of Trump supporters live inside the Fox News bubble. But in spreading the results of their investigation, Democrats can still reach The Base through massive, well-targeted spending on programs on other networks likely to appeal to Trumpish demographic groups. They can also try social media.

Other targets of the Democrats’ pro-impeachment campaign could be:

  • Nonvoters–the real ones who elected Trump. Motivate and anger them. So many of them are young or poor and distrustful of the political system. An aggressive investigation of Trump could help win many of them over.
  • Independents upset over Trump’s abuses of the system–and open to many of the same arguments.
  • Democrats who feared the ugly discord that impeachment could spread. The revelations from the hearings could make this issue less relevant.

By enlightening the citizenry about both Trump and his senatorial stooges in one swoop, Democrats can weaken the GOP before the 2020 election, when 22 of 53 Republican Senate seats are up for grabs. A loss of just several seats would give the United States a Democratic Senate, and presumably the House would remain blue.

Meanwhile, the more mud oozes out about obstruction, Russia and the rest, the more likely Trump will regret saying he’d love impeachment. In some of his latest mixed signals, he refers to impeachment as a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word.” May the Democrats work hard to make this his overwhelming sentiment!

Art credit: Matthias Laurenz Gräff, “Trump. The Killing Machine”, oil on canvas. Creative Commons, CC-BY-SA-4.0.


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David Rothman

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