Today in Delusional Columns: Impeachment Fantasies
It is Trump's party now. Impeachment is not coming.
Via HuffPo, Robert Kuttner writes of The Inevitability Of Impeachment
Impeachment is gaining ground because it is the only way to get him out, and because Republicans are already deserting this president in droves, and because the man is psychiatrically incapable of checking whether something is legal before he does it.
To response: no it isn’t, no they aren’t, and that may or may not be the case, but he behavior is not really any different than the way he campaigned.
I have seen a lot of folks talk about impeachment, and they are always individuals who already oppose Trump as president. That they want Trump gone is not a surprise. However, like certain arguments about the electoral college, the notion that the Republicans in Congress are going to impeach and remove Trump is the stuff of fantasy.
An impeachment of Trump would require, as I am pretty sure I have noted here at OTB already, some action that would offend a huge number of Republican voters. Nothing that Trump has done, or is currently doing, fits in that category. The fact that those opposed to Trump and highly upset by his behavior is not a surprise, but just because the opposition is upset, it should not be assumed that the party in power is also upset. A few criticism from John McCain is not the start of an anti-Trump rebellion.
Indeed, the first sentence quoted above is telling: “Impeachment is gaining ground because it is the only way to get him out.” Well, sure, but who wants him out? It isn’t the Republicans. Keep in mind, too, most who voted for him are going to see his moves in the best possible light. They aren’t going to see the chaos of this weekend and reconsider their choices. No, instead, they are going to say: “he is just trying to keep us safe.”
Like the electoral college fantasies, this is all vested in the notion that people will wake up to what they have elected. That someone the straw will break the camel’s back and the scales will fall from the eyes of the millions who voted for Trump and realize the error of their ways. One supposes that such an outcome is possible, but again: it will take an action of revelation that will offend/upset/challenge Republican voters on a large scale. To date, a litany of things that one would have thought would have derailed Trump with conservatives has had no effect (insulting a POW and talking about grabbing genitalia, not to mention a history of adultery and divorce) has had that effect.
To quote from a recent David Brooks column:
Trump has changed the way the Republican Party sees the world. Republicans used to have a basic faith in the dynamism and openness of the free market. Now the party fears openness and competition.
In the summer of 2015, according to a Pew Research Center poll, Republicans said free trade deals had been good for the country by 51 to 39 percent. By the summer of 2016, Republicans said those deals had been bad for America by 61 percent to 32 percent.
It’s not that the deals had changed, or reality. It was that Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and his dark fearfulness became the party’s dark fearfulness. In this case fear is not a reaction to the world. It is a way of seeing the world. It propels your reactions to the world.
Emphasis mine. (I would recommend the entire column).
It is Trump’s party now. Impeachment is not coming.
My first opportunity to vote in a Presidential election I was convinced to vote for Richard Nixon. It was a short time later that I vowed NEVER to do that again. For decades I didn’t vote. By staying registered I thought that I’d present a target for some candidate, some time, to notice me. But they never did, of course.
Then the R’s impeached Pres Clinton. It was plainly obvious that their goal was to overturn a valid election. I had the face-palm experience of recognizing that my non-voting could have contributed to the Reptile party’s confidence that they could overturn a (small ‘d’) democratically selected POTUS.
The very LAST thing that Pres Trump’s opponents should do is impeach him for anything less than a very very clear and notorious ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’. His constituents are already high as kites on the narrative of their victimization. We don’t want to cement that stance in the history books.
There is no one to impeach the guy. He can stand in defiance to court orders until they pile up to his incredibly fat ass. Republicans in the House are only going support him as long as he promises to cut the taxes of their wealthy overlords.
Perhaps IF he continues on this road, and IF Democrats win back the House, and IF they can muster a few Republicans to grow a spine and go along with them.
That’s a lot of IF’s.
We are stuck with this buffoon.
And let’s face it….Pence is not a much better alternative.
Dark days are upon the Republic. Dark days indeed.
Well, I probably needed that bucket of cold water. And yet…
His approval rating is 36 percent in the latest poll. In his first week. The usual trend is for it to get worse. I think that yes, he’s attempting to activate people in the way you describe: “He’s just trying to protect us”. How well will that work? We’re going to see in a few days, when the polls come out.
Trump’s hardcore fans will never abandon him no matter what he does; they’re cultists. What’s difficult to calculate is exactly how big a percentage of the electorate they constitute.
As for the number of people who voted for him as an alternative to Clinton, in full awareness that the man isn’t (to put it mildly) playing with a full deck, who are now experiencing buyer’s remorse, that’s hard to calculate as well.
Unless he quits voluntarily, I don’t see a way Trump’s term ends early without a risk of a civil war. Neither his supporters nor his critics are dispassionate.
I agree that the path to impeachment is not there yet, although I certainly wouldn’t rule out it developing because of some mega scandal coupled with Republican fear of losing their seats because of Trump. But in my opinion I think an Article 25 Section 4 solution is more likely. At least twice in his first week Trump gave interviews where he appeared to be disconnected from reality (the telephones and exploding words, and the registrations comments). Now neither of these were dramatic, but stress is only going to exacerbate any mental illness already present. And a meme like him being afraid of stairs could break through in the public mind, even among his supporters, leading to a general questioning of his abilities.
I think both solutions would be bad for the country. But I hope fervently for one or the other given how much worse Trump will be for both the country and the world.
By the way, if anyone is wondering about my comment on Trumps fear of stairs, here’s a link. And here’s one from the not so legitimate press, title ” Donald Trump can absolutely walk up and down the stairs like a big boy“, as an example of how this can snowball.
Having lost the popular vote, it seems clear that Trump has no mandate for the actions he has taken. Bannon and Co have decided to govern the country for the most extreme wing of their base on the grounds that this is what won them the election, and ignore the rest of the country. While a majority of those who voted for Trump are likely delighted to see Obama’s legacy being torn asunder, I’m not certain they expected or welcome the chaos we are now seeing. Bomb throwers love the idea of blowing things up, but watching as long established edifices crumble to the ground is not so enjoyable. I’m hoping the country will send a serious message come the midterms and leave him irrelevant and unable to carry out Bannon’s agenda.
This is all over the legit Brit papers as well as their tabloids. If he’s afraid of stairs and slopes, though, why wouldn’t he be terrified of escalators? Yet he made his descent on one to announce his candidacy.
It isn’t about expecting him to actually be impeached. It’s about continuously using talking points like impeachment to undermine perceptions of his suitability for office. Fires up the opposition and keeps him on the defensive.
I have wondered about the 25th amendment thing. What I think is more likely, if things get very bad, is a sort of silent coup. The cabinet isolates him and starts running the country while Trump goes out there and blusters. Honestly, I don’t know that he would be able to tell the difference. He clearly has no idea what’s go on policy wise. He gets basic facts about his EO’s wrong. In a way, we’ve already had a silent coup, only it’s Bannon, Miller and Flynn who are running the show.
It’s worth noting that the “dark fearfulness” has been the official position of organized labor, a major component of the Democratic electoral coalition, and that most of the opposition to free trade deals has come from the political left.
But what better proof is there of what many of us have been saying for years, which is that “mandates” are a fiction? The fact is that presidents will do what they can to implement their agenda, and if they’ve got a compliant Congress run by their party, that’ll be a lot. Their margin of victory in the most recent election has got nothing to do with it except as a rhetorical tool (“I’ve got a mandate, so you’ve got to do what I say”), and even there, W. all but rendered that argument meaningless long before Trump came onto the scene. Make it to the White House, and it doesn’t matter how you got there or how many Americans actually voted for you, you’ve got a “mandate” as long as you claim you do.
Which will eventually make him so foaming-at-the-mouth demented that Article 25 Section 4 will apply.
25A doesn’t say what people think it says. It allows the VP and a majority of the cabinet to stage a temporary coup, which can be reversed by the president sending a memo to Congress. To make it permanent still requires a 2/3rds vote of Congress.
And even if they somehow succeeded, we’d still be stuck with Pence (who is orders of magnitude worse). Trump is disengaged and incompetent. Pence is an actively malevolent bible beater.
You know, when you have SO many things going on, you can almost miss the deflection.
How is the executive order travel ban going? Terrific!
And if it’s not, then it’s:
* Chuck Schumer’s fault
* Delta Airline’s fault
I find myself agreeing with Dana Milbank:
Note: this is one of the reasons I had to vote for Clinton, the most reluctant vote I’ve ever made. I knew that if Trump were elected, the GOP would not stand up to him. And while I thought Clinton would be a bad President (although not nearly as bad as Trump), I knew that the Republicans would at least oppose her. Divided government is frustrating, slow and frequently crazy. United government is proving to be terrifying.
If Andrew Jackson didn’t get impeached for flouting the judicial branch back in the day, I think it’s it’s unlikely Trump will now; no matter what laws are broken or how much suffering is caused.
No, that’s not “worth noting.”
I applaud Kuttner and others for beating the impeachment drum.
Do I really expect it to happen? No. But we should take every opportunity to talk about impeachment because it is a tool for challenging Trump’s legitimacy.
Impeachment is code for “Trump is not legitimate.” He should not be in office and every effort should be made to get him out of office. Never surrender.
Understood, but my point is that as each day passes it becomes more and more obvious that the goal of this administration is to shift the balance of power away from the majority and towards the extreme right. Nothing they have done over the past seven days has been designed to keep the country safer, more prosperous, or stable. To do so would defeat their purpose which is to create a growing sense of panic and powerlessness.
Mass protests on the streets add to this narrative and the crackdown can’t be far off (we already have police chiefs at Dulles telling protesters free speech requires a permit). The bulwarks erected to protect the country from dictatorship (separation of powers, a free media and independent judiciary) are proving ineffectual.
History tells us that Kristallnacht was a test. The Nazis wanted to see how far they could go. If the German people stayed indoors, while outside on their streets fellow citizens were beaten, spat upon and murdered, then there wasn’t anything they couldn’t do. We’re not there yet, but if you don’t think we are nearing a similar historical moment then there is no call that will wake you up. There’s a neo-Nazi, white nationalist in the White House, two doors down from the Oval office. His name is Steve Bannon and President Trump is handing him the reins of power.
Impeachment might be possible after the mid-terms if the Democrats take control of the house. It’s a long-shot, to be sure, but is at least in the realm of reasonably possible.
I have no illusions with respect to the (nearly non-existent) possibility/probability that Trump could be impeached.
However, it’s important for Democrats to judiciously refer to Trump as ‘the minority elect president’ and constantly directly or by way of ‘dog whistles’ question his legitimacy and his competence. All of this should be with an eye to the 2018 mid-term elections and keeping engagement among Democratic constituencies at a high level.
The time has passed for playing nice, for taking the “they go low, we do not … ” approach. Republicans abandoned the notion of good government, good for our institutions approach back in 1993, it’s time for Democrats and their proxies go after Trump and Bannon. Those two actually are as appalling as millions of people thought they’d be, so there is no need to shy away from going after them relentlessly.
An article 25 coup is far more likely than impeachment and 2/3 of the house would likely go along with it. Repub’s would be much happier with a President Pence and Dems would be between a rock and a hard place, replace the crazy man or accept the ideologue. I doubt anything will happen till after the mid term elections.
Well, as a former Cisco Systems employee that helped create the IP Telephony revolution, I do have to say that they are pretty darned awesome phones.
(… Thanks Obama! )
Trump could pardon Dylan Roof and he wouldn’t be impeached.
However, I agree that it’s more to throw sand in the gears of any Republican claim to legitimacy.
If Republicans have to purge voter rolls, erect legal barriers for voter registration, gerrymander districts, rewrite census data, ask foreign spy agencies for help, appeal to race-hatred, destroy political norms and precedents, have law enforcement bureaucrats engineer October surprises, and have your own explicit propaganda channel, it’s not like you’re governing with the will of the people in the first place.
Just guessing, but I suspect this may not be mental illness or a phobia, but rather a balance issue. I’m 15 years younger than him, lighter, but just as tall. (Actual height, not what he tells people. 6′ 1″). And some days when my knees are acting up, I’ve got a pretty good death grip on the bannister. Stairs are only, what, nine inches deep? My size 11’s are twelve inches long meaning that if I walk straight down the ball of my foot is almost completely off the tread. And If you look closely at Trumps shoes they appear to have a 1″ lift in addition to his 1″ heel, further exacerbating the balance thing. And like Gerald Ford being clumsy, once a meme takes hold it’s impossible to stop. And it could really be the thing that his fans glom on to. After all, they can’t admit that his policies were wrong. It’s safer to talk about early onset dementia. Or not so early in his case.
This is an important point. 25 is not an easy solution by any means (thank god), but it is faster and avoids a trial. If Trump starts tweeting about the voices in his head I think it will happen.
@Pch101: It is white noise to his supporters and empty calories for his opponents.
If you want to damage Trump, you need to attack the substance of his actions in a way that will influence a relatively small percentage of voters to either switch their votes in 2020 or, more likely, to turn out in that election.
Stair treads, by code, are a minimum of 11″ deep. Risers are a maximum 7″ tall. Certainly shorter stair treads and taller risers exist…they just don’t meet code. (except is certain circumstances like spectator viewing)
Trump has vowed to get rid of 75% of regulations…so building codes, and life-safety regulations, may very well be a thing of the past. I am certain the added expense of keeping people safe annoys the hell out of a second-rate developer like him. We’ve heard him rant before about ADA regulations…and of course openly mock the disabled.
Has anyone seen the report Trump just signed an executive order mandating that one new government regulation being passed means getting rid of two old ones?
This has GOT to be from The Onion….
@Steven L. Taylor:
I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.
Following the Tea Party model:
-Maintain a negative uncompromising agenda of opposing the president and his party at every return.
-Always assert that the president is not legitimate
-Attack any politician who doesn’t adopt this approach as being illegitimate or a sellout
-Claim to speak on behalf of the majority (even if you don’t)
That worked. Your approach used without more aggressive tactics won’t.
In situations like this, the opposition needs to be fired up and mobilized into an attack force. It should be bold and righteous, not fearful and contemplative. This is war, not a debate club.
I don’t think he’s getting impeached, unless we discover stronger connections to Russia, or massive corruption at a scale even the Republicans cannot ignore.
And, if he does get impeached, it will be once the Republican congress turns on him to save themselves from his scary low approval ratings.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
Ok, just checked my carpeted stairs. And you are right, they do have an 11″ run. The tread above overhangs by 1.5″ so that may be part of it. Maybe I just need to pay more attention to how I go down the stairs…
@Pch101: The Tea Party took over parts of the Republican Party.
How are you suggesting that model with work in this context?
It is not just complaining that was the strategy.
And only if those numbers mean losing elections. Note: Congress has had low approval ratings (really low) for some time. It has not affected their behavior because most contests aren’t competitive.
@Steven L. Taylor: I assume that Congress’s low ratings don’t translate to election losses due to an assortment of issues.
– do people disapprove of their congress-critter?
– do people think the problem with congress is that there aren’t more of their party in it?
Defending a embattled, unpopular, corrupt president — a Nixonian president — will hurt individual representatives in a way that gridlock will not.
@Gustopher: Only if Republicans start to not like the president. This is the issue.
Recall that Nixon faced a Democratic congress.
Republicans are currently not upset. They are rationalizing (or sincerely supportive).
Note, again, the citation in the post about free trade.
No…you are absolutely correct.
I can’t wait to see how this plays out. What regulations are we going to cut? Maybe some FAA regs…what could go wrong? The FDA…Trump said he wanted to get rid of it during the campaign…what could go wrong? OSHA…how many workers are going to die? What could go wrong?
What I really want to know…is where are all the Republicans who were crying about Obama’s minimal use of Executive Orders? Where are they now that the Cheeto Prophet is ruling by executive fiat?
@Steven L. Taylor:
Complaining endlessly (and mindlessly) is a fundamental component of Tea Party strategy. I don’t see how you can deny it.
Constant complaining reframes the debate by destabilizing the party in power. It invigorates ones own team, providing its members with a sense of moral righteousness and indignation that keeps them on the attack.
The key to fixing left-wing protest is to define it based upon locality, not on minority status. So it should be Chicagoans to Impeach Trump, not LGBTers to Impeach Trump. Los Angelenos Against Trump the Tyrant, not Women Against Trump the Tyrant. What you don’t want is an Occupy-style movement that looks as if it is trying to find the way to Woodstock; those things don’t maintain momentum and eventually fizzle out.
@al-Alameda: True, but I agree with Steve M. at no more Mr. Nice Blog. Put most of this on the Republicans, not just Trump/Bannon. Any replacement to ACA, if any, should be called Republicare not Trumpcare. Any EO from Trump needs to be tied to the Republicans, not the White House, especially since none will repudiate any EO.
And yet, your prescriptions are “debate club” level stuff.
I mean, this is not, by any stretch, a plan.
“Complain constantly?” “Always assert that the president is not legitimate?”
The 25A requires a two/thirds vote of both houses to implement a permanent replacement.
Given your track record here, I have absolutely no expectation that you are going to understand this.
Again, if Gandhi had listened to you, India would still be a British colony. I’m sure that there were naysayers like you back in the day, and they were proven wrong.
@Pch101: I agree, complaining and criticizing is of value. I question, however, the degree to which the Tea Party’s main tool was complaining. Their main tool was winning primary contests and then seats in Congress.
The Occupy movement complained a lot, too, but they were not able to translate those complaints into seats in the House.
And you can rant about impeachment all you want, I stand by my assessment: it is white noise to his supporters and empty calories for his opponents.
@Steven L. Taylor:
You say that as if it came from out of the blue.
The Tea Party’s whining defined the agenda for its candidates and created a puffer fish effect by making it appear to be larger than it was. That evolved into self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’ve already addressed why that was the case, and how to avoid that problem with the anti-Trump movement.
Who cares what Trump supporters think? Are you under the impression that the Tea Party ever worries one iota about what you or I or anyone else who is to the left of Attila the Hun is thinking?
Successful opposition movements do not care what opponents think, they only seek to destabilize and wear down the other side.
If you have to lie to defend yourself…then your actions are indefensible.
@Steven L. Taylor:
I agree with you…by and large.
The Cheeto-Prophet is, however, a different animal.
The constant criticism is going to make his narcissistic combed-over ugly little head explode.
It’s one of Trump’s central personality traits – he’s always whining that people don’t appreciate him enough. You can see it already happening. It’s only going to get worse.
I want to see what all the people who wrote Serious Pieces about how hillary’s private email server as secretary of state was Very Disturbing and raised Important Questions say, now that trump is President and he and his cronies are all using private email accounts at the RNC and Gmail.
@dxq: The Very Serious People in the supposedly liberal MSM will say the same thing they said when W’s people used RNC addresses and then millions of their emails got disappeared. Nothing.
Let’s just make this real clear, alright?
You are no expert in what I understand, what I think, what’s happening on “Planet Pearce,” my “track record” or apparently even what’s happening on planet Earth.
So please, tell me more about Gandhi…
Correction noted, but the politics would be the same in the Senate.
I wonder if there would simply be an up and down vote or would the vote be preceded by hearings and debate? And if so what committees?
I only know about you what you tell us. And you’re pretty much batting zero with this one.
Successful protest movements have succeeded by doing all of the stuff that you claim is a waste of time. So I am forced to conclude that they must have known something that you don’t.
I agree with the sort of ‘one brick at a time’ mentality that you are taking. This is a marathon, not a sprint. At the same time, Trump hit 50 percent disapproval this weekend, the fastest ever for a president. The previous record was Bill Clinton in 500 something days. Trump has done it in eight. So maybe this isn’t a marathon, but the 1500 meter run?
I think it takes disapproval to get up to about 70 percent to make impeachment viable. Bush43 got up to 65 percent disapproval, and I read quotes of Republican senators saying things like, “If he does that we’ll impeach him”.
This isn’t out of the question for the next four years.
It’s never been tested, but I feel confident that it would proceed directly to a vote in both houses. They don’t have options in that scenario. The constitution mandates that they vote.
No, you don’t. You really really don’t….
@Jay Gischer: So if Trump continues at his present rate, sounds like we could get rid of him by next weekend, no?
Fine by me….
Is that the technical explanation? 🙂
And no, what they did was effectively exploit an element of our electoral system: the primary process. Buy winning GOP nominations in non-competitive districts (which is to say, most of them) they were able to acquire political power by having enough votes in the GOP caucus to block legislation, especially as long as part leadership was adhering the Hastert Rule in the House (i.e., that all legislation had to have majority support of the majority party).
While I am not saying “don’t complain” (far from it), complaining alone is not how one should understand the Tea Party. Indeed, I do not see a model fo Democratic opposition to Trump that utilizes lessons from the Tea Party.
Well, very slight shifts in the number of Trump supporters in a few key states a few months ago would have rendered this entire conversation moot.
Further, the key to serious, efficacious opposition to Trump is for some who voted for him for partisan reasons, or because they couldn’t stand Hillary, or whatever reason, to understand what they voted for.
You aren’t going to build effective opposition out of people who think he ought to be impeached. That is like saying “Hamilton electors” will save us.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
As I said: I am not saying don’t criticize. I am saying that that has nothing to do with the Tea PArty nor, for that matter, with impeachment.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
As I said: I am not saying don’t criticize. I am saying that that has nothing to do with the Tea PArty nor, for that matter, with impeachment.
In regards to Article 25 solutions: it is more likely that he quits or dies in office than that happens.
He has surrounded himself with people who have been more than willing to accept him as POTUS–why is that going to change?
@Steven L. Taylor:
You seem to keep forgetting that there had to be a group identity — a brand — in order for this to happen.
First, you create a quasi-popular movement. Then, you use that movement to apply brands to new politicians.
If you don’t start with the brand, then you don’t get the rest of it. There would have been no Tea Party Caucus without a Tea Party.
Probably not. What was needed was more Democratic turnout in key districts. Voters in areas such as Milwaukee and Detroit simply did not show up.
One of the problems that Democrats had this time around is that even disgruntled Republicans voted for Trump. That’s how loyal they are to the party — they would crash and burn the country for the sake of not crossing party lines. Dems need turnout from their own party and another point or two of independents in order to offset that problem.
The idea is to give them something to be excited about. The ACLU’s weekend fundraising is an indication that something is up.
I used to think that Donald Trump was like a James Bond villain…now he appears more like an Austin Powers villain…meanwhile, Steve Bannon is definitely a James Bond villain…
@Steven L. Taylor:
I agree totally. Article 25 won’t be invoked because he is merely doing a terrible job. Speaking only for myself, the reason I bought it up was because I suspect Trump is actually mentally ill, and will continue to get worse. I think there is a very real possibility is that he has a major episode in the public eye. Or enough minor ones that even the most cynical around him get scared.
@Steven L. Taylor: And yet I’m certain that there are people on this very thread who would still be willing to assert that “Hamiltonian Electors” would have saved us if they had only done their duty as provided for in the Constitution.
@MarkedMan: While I can see your point, it’s also just as possible that Melania, Ivanka, and others around him would circle the wagons in the same way that Nancy did for Ronnie as he was lapsing into dementia. Maybe they don’t have the gravitas or savvy, but I wouldn’t count on it.
He will be impeached. After he get the country or probably the world into a deep crisis which he is more than capable of doing in many different ways. The Republicans will have “not other option” and Mitt McConnell will start the process after he knows that it will pass the House and he got the 66 votes required in the Senate to be successful. McConnell will never criticize Trump until he knows, for sure, that he will take him down. And then, he will be the savior of our country. Before it happens we’ll see a lot of suffering.
@Steven L. Taylor: The Democrats need to focus like a laser beam at repairing their organizations at the local and state levels in order to disrupt the Trump-Congressional GOP axis. Within Congress, they need some guerrilla tacticians who can get Republicans in Congress fighting among themselves. It’s a tall order, but doable.
@Pch101: I am with you that opposition is needed, and an organized one at that.
I simply disagree with you Tea Party analogy. The part you never address is that that group had an institutional feature of the system to exploit. You are putting way too much focus on the branding aspect.
And yes: turnout.
Overall I understand the impulse, as Trump is already a disaster and it is going to get worse.
But, first it was the electors who were going to save us. Then some people (far fewer) argued that Congress would find a way to challenge the electoral vote. Now we are at impeachment and the 25th amendment. These are all fantastically unlikely outcomes. Quitting for “health” reasons of dying in office (he is in his 70s) are both far, far more likely–although the truth is that best money is on 4 years.
The thing that these conversations are missing is: there are still tens of millions of Republican voters out there who either 1) like what he is doing (or, don’t care), or 2) are rationalizing it as good. I have had FB interactions with colleagues and former students who are giving him the benefit of the doubt at the moment.
We need to be realistic about what the situation is.
And yes: oppose. Argue. Point out the problems.
And yes: successful opposition requires some of those Republicans currently rationalizing to see comprehend how terrible a president he is.
@Steven L. Taylor:
The point of comparisons to the Tea Party is that it created a unified opposition effort that was built around saying no, constantly. Their ultimate goal was to replace establishment Republicans with populist ones.
Unlike the Tea Party, the Democratic resistance doesn’t have any need to replace its politicians. The only thing that they need is the branding, with the goal of bolstering turnout. So there is no need to usurp the Dems, just to market them.
Your methods in a vacuum will fail because they don’t inspire anyone to vote or rebrand the Democrats as a force for the majority. On the contrary, these pieces do the opposite — by arguing that the president is legitimate or impeachment is impossible, you are cultivating passivity, which leads to being steamrolled.
You have another post on this blog noting that Trump already has a negative approval rating, yet you fail to make the linkage between these early attacks on his presidency and that kind of result.
By beating the drum about faithless electors and impeachment, we have already made it acceptable to work proactively to make Trump fail. In the past, this would have been impossible for Democrats, who would have been silenced with accusations of being unpatriotic by not giving him a chance, but that charge will not stick now.
This is death by a thousand cuts, and the first cut was talking about the electoral college. If you want to play the long game, then you never stop looking for opportunities to attack the legitimacy of Trump and anyone who supports him.
Bingo. The goal here is to control the narrative, create self-perpetuating perceptions of Trump being incompetent and unsuitable, and keep him / the GOP playing defense / whacking moles.
The fear of stairs thing is brilliant. Innocuous, easily spread, and a lose/lose for Trump. If he ignores it, it’s validated by default; if he addresses it, he looks small and petty (and he keeps it alive by drawing attention to it).
This should be a lesson about the stupidity inherent in 1) making the press secretary and the director of communications the same person, especially when that person’s skill set extends to being a mouthpiece instead of crisis management & PR.
The theme here becomes wag the dog.
Incompetent is fine, but the key to the argument is that Trump is not legitimate.
This is not just a debate over policy and whether Trump makes us happy. Rather, we have the moral and constitutional authority to say with certainty that his presidency lacks legitimacy, that he is an intruder in the White House, and that we must do everything that we can to make him as ineffective as possible until he is replaced.
When the colonials had their revolution against the Crown, they did not just say that they disliked George III’s taxation policies and it would kinda cool if we could have a dialogue rather than war. Instead, they claimed that they had God on their side and that Britain and its king had no legitimate authority over them at all.
The fact that these revolutionaries comprised a minority of the population — Americans who were opposed or were indifferent about the revolution outnumbered them — made no difference. Instead, they claimed to have moral authority to rebel.
As annoying as they are, Republicans with their intransigence provide a lesson in how to stay unified. Taking the default position of saying no to the opposition makes it easier to remain focused, since it removes the internal debate about what the policies should be instead.
At this point, the game is pretty straightforward: If an agenda item is important to the GOP, then we should probably reject it simply because the GOP wants it. We don’t need to offer an alternative, we just need to obstruct.