Dems 2019: Dem Hard With A Vengeance


#1887

And counterpoint to Pelosi:

We’re in what many Americans feel is the most divisive political climate of our lifetimes. Nancy Pelosi herself said today that Trump is responsible for, “a very serious challenge to the Constitution of the United States in the president’s unconstitutional assault on the Constitution, on the first branch of government, the legislative branch.” Terrible and dramatic as all that sounds, it’s “not worth” expelling him from office using the exact mechanism created by the Constitution for that exact purpose? Help me out here, Nancy.

Realistically, presidential impeachment, by its very essence, will always be divisive. For impeachment to be in play, we’d be necessarily talking about a person who won a presidential election. American voters, who are predictably hell-bent on maintaining a binary us vs. them mentality, will never be thrilled about impeaching a president for whom they voted. But that fact alone cannot be the reason why we hang on to a deeply dangerous president.

Call me crazy, but I believe that our legislative branch has an actual responsibility to do that whole checks-and-balances thing. And if a president has committed an impeachable offense, the process should be seriously considered, regardless of the fact that it’ll annoy cable news viewers. None of that means that every potentially impeachable offense should lead to an immediate drafting of articles; the process should be undertaken soberly, with allegiance to law, and serious consideration of consequences. But a flat refusal to even consider the process is as short-sighted as it is dishonest.


#1888

Using his position as President to profit his businesses, from which he has not divested himself.
Violating campaign finance law in order to bury allegations of marital infidelity that would affect his campaign.
Conspiring with agents of the Russian government to obtain and leak hacked information about the opposition to benefit his campaign.
Obstructing justice by firing the head of the FBI with the admitted goal of stopping the Russia investigation, and because said FBI head refused to pledge personal loyalty to him.

You know the drill. I mean, we can continue to dance around it and pretend there’s nothing there, but there’s enough for hearings. Let’s have hearings and see where they go. Or, we can just say “fuck off” to impeachment ever actually doing anything like what the founders intended it for, because there will not be a more justly impeachable president in the foreseeable future.

As for the old “it will just escalate the arms race” argument, I’m getting kind of tired of that. Somehow the GOP always seems to come out on the happy end of that, and Dems get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.


#1889

It could just be a ploy. There is a severe aspect of the boiling frog here, so it’s hard to imagine slow drips of scandal will change minds, no matter what comes out. This allows her to create a moment of sudden discovery when The Report comes out, inviting the public to join her and be shocked, yes shocked at what we have all just learned.


#1890

LOL. Yes, we all know. I don’t think anyone here just fell off the ol’ turnip truck.

The problem that isn’t stated is this: In all the many, many things Trump has done wrong or laws he’s likely to have violated, we don’t yet have the thing that would make the Senate say “whoah” (unlikely in any event) or at least make the American public at large say “Holy shit”, and at least give Democrats something else great to run on in 2020, ancillary to the foundational boost Trumpism gives them.

That’s why Pelosi was careful to say “But…” That’s why a few people in this thread have said “But…” Let’s see if Mueller has some big reveals. Or the SDNY. Better yet, let’s keep having one congressional investigation after another, so that the run-up to 2020 is a whole lot of people testifying to the crookedness of Trump and those who’ve fallen into his orbit.

I think Trump and his Republican allies stand to gain a lot from an impeachment that goes nowhere in the Senate, one in which the country feels split 50/50 on. I have faith that if we get a game-changer of sorts, Pelosi et al will strongly reconsider this position.


#1891

I like all of this. Good read.


#1892

Hoping the report comes out around 1 Nov 2020. Make it fresh in low-info voters minds how bad things are, and not enough time to forget. Make it the news cycle until Election Day.


#1893

Don’t you know? Only Republicans matter.
How often do we hear, “Republicans better not do that, Democrats won’t like it?”


#1894

She is not wrong. The guy deserves to be impeached for so many reasons, but if the country isn’t sharply divided as pro-impeachment (like 70-30), this is only going to anger a large part of the country, and accomplish nothing, as they won’t have enough support to get him out anyway. It would be grandstanding.

The guy is obviously impeachable, based on his conflicts of interest and crimes alone, but because it is a large amount of smallish crimes, not one huge crime, people don’t seem to care as much. (see Trump Effect) Unless support for impeachment shifts massively, it isn’t worth the fight, when it is VERY much a toss up election in 2020. Trump barely won the election in 2016, and his polling numbers have slid below 50% approval in some of the key battleground states he won (WI, MI, PA, AZ) which will drive down turnout.

Why impeach the guy when proceedings will take until the end of 2019 to wrap up, when the guy (hopefully) will be out in 2020 anyway?


#1895

There are not 67 votes to convict in the Senate. Until there are, it would be foolish for House Dems start impeachment proceedings. It’s important to remember that the Watergate hearings were hearings, not an impeachment proceeding, and what triggered Nixon’s resignation was being told that there were at that point likely 67 votes to convict in the Senate, and that the House would therefore approve articles of impeachment.


#1896

As always, impeachment is a political act. Starting impeachment proceedings without the votes in the Senate would be a political disaster. Pelosi is a smart politician - publicly take impeachment off the table and do not allow Fox to make it a source of outrage for low-information deplorable voters.


#1897

If propaganda and misinformation is the problem, maybe the Dems need to hold hearings under oath about the fairness doctrine or alternatives.


#1898

I mean, I’d love to see some cinematic justice doled out to Trump in the form of impeachment and indictment that truncates his term. I would be very happy about that.

But realistically, it’s not there yet. Trump’s approval ratings have been steady in the 38-42 range. That’s terr8ble for his re-election prognosis, but very much above the mid-to-low 20s that Nixon’s popularity fell to in 1973 and '74. With Nixon you had:

  1. The 18-minute gap on tape in a key meeting that sure looked like obvious obstruction of justice, and
  2. A meeting caught on tape where Nixon is heard clearly talking about getting hush-money payments to the Watergate burglars, the “smoking gun” tape.

We may be getting close to having evidence that damning against Trump; we may get it over the course of the next year. But for now in the public mind we don’t seem to be there yet.


#1899

A question I’m interested in, should Trump lose in 2020: if he is indicted, how does a new sitting president handle?

I mean, if a Democrat is elected in 18 months, we’re going to have folks at the top of the DOJ chosen by a Democrat. We’re going to have a head of intel who is chosen by a Democrat. We keep hearing that a lot of FBI and intel community folks are basically bunkered up right now, not knowing what to do with information they may have. I can see a plausible scenario that we don’t discover the extent of what Trump and those he empowered did until he’s out of office.

It may require the next President to appoint a special counsel to review the wrong-doing and make a recommendation. It could set a very important precedent.


#1900

If things are as bad as they appear, I don’t think the president can let him walk away and let bygones be bygones. I understand the precedent, but that swings both ways. If Trump really was part of a conspiracy with a foreign power to win an election, that’s not something you can let slide just because he won.


#1901

The precedent will be a good one. By letting Bush administration officials get away with authorizing torture and just taking a forgive and forget attitude, Obama set a precedent too, and not a good one. It was that you can get away with whatever you want and the next President even from the other party will let you get away with it. That’s got to stop at some point. And holding Democratic Presidents to account will be just as much a positive as Republican ones. I know people are afraid that the Republicans will then abuse the power like they always do, but you can’t be afraid to do the right thing for the country at all times because the other side are horrible.


#1902

Oh, totally in agreement with you.

I just think, though, at minimum you’re going to want some pretty rigorous review by a special or independent counsel perhaps. Not only does that provide a layer between the sitting president and his predecessor, but it also provides some actual important final review of charges and the evidence that underlies those. The absolute nightmare scenario is that indictments are filed, Trump goes to a trial, and wins. That would be almost too big a mess to contemplate.


#1903

The fairness doctrine is long gone, and only ever applied to holders of FCC-issued radio or TV broadcast licenses (each individual station, in other words). The legal justification for infringing on the 1st Amendment rights of those license holders was based on the idea that the public owned the electromagnetic spectrum and the stations leased a portion of it from the government. That argument was pretty well eroded by the time the FCC was instructed to stop enforcing it in the late 1980s.

Was that a good thing? Probably not, in the sense that it opened the door for the proliferation of right-wing talk radio stations. But it never did apply to a cable network, and good luck finding a constitutionally valid argument for imposing it on Fox (or CNN, MSNBC, etc).


#1904

I agree with most of what you write here, but I don’t understand this part. We will already have had a special counsel investigation and report which seems likely to highlight a lot of wrongdoing. The new President can simply ask the DOJ to review it and press charges where and if appropriate. Why not?

This is a too-likely scenario in my view, but it is one whether there is another special counsel review or not. It’s easy to imagine jurors choosing to nullify charges against Trump.


#1905

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 probably had more impact - largely because of that law, five or six corporations now own 90% of the news media.


#1906

Because – as you know – the DOJ is part of the executive branch.

In this case, a president in this scenario is perhaps/probably/maybe going to want someone – or even a group of 3 – independent of that branch to do a final review; they’d see all the evidence and discovery and talk frankly to investigators to determine whether to make that leap into the void.