At the Baffler website, Kathleen Geier examines the likelihood of a Trump impeachment, and argues that attempting to do so, even if the effort fails, would be a strategic win for the left in the US. Even if the effort can't overcome Republican resistance in Congress, writes Geier, it would support the integrity of the US electoral system and win over centrists who are exasperated by Trump's misdeeds. Check out an excerpt from the piece:
Impeachment is the right thing to do on the merits; Donald Trump is flagrantly and unconstitutionally abusing his power and must be stopped. Impeaching Trump is also the right course of action from a strategic standpoint. Far from imperiling the Democrats’ standing with the scattered constituencies of the left, a Trump impeachment would dramatically demonstrate to voters that the Democratic Party’s days of coddling the rich and powerful and shielding them from accountability are over.
The legal grounds for impeaching Trump are compelling. Trump ordered former FBI director James Comey to shut down the investigation into the Russia ties of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. When Comey refused, Trump abruptly sacked him. In an extraordinary act of self-incrimination, he even admitted on national television that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he decided to go ahead with Comey’s termination. I’m no lawyer, but that certain looks like a prima facie case of obstruction of justice...
Of course, impeachment efforts face a similar hurdle, and GOP resistance will, if anything, be even more fierce. But if the Democrats take back the House in 2018, it’s a new ball game. And even if they don’t, a drive to impeach Trump could produce significant political benefits for the left. A well-organized impeachment movement would shine a spotlight on Trump’s outrageously corrupt actions and demand that Congress take action. This would weaken not only Trump himself but also the entire GOP: Republican lawmakers would be forced to choose between remaining loyal to a widely despised president or distancing themselves from him and risking the wrath of Trump’s ferociously loyal base. Yes, Trump’s massive unpopularity is already trashing the Republican brand, even absent a credible threat of impeachment. But a strong impeachment movement would turn the political pressure up to eleven.
The failure to impeach, on the other hand, would come with a serious political cost: it would normalize Trumpian corruption and contempt for democracy. The Democratic majority in Congress refrained from impeaching George W. Bush, even though his actions, including launching a war on grounds the administration knew to be false and torturing and illegally detaining prisoners of war, were monstrous violations of human rights and international law. That Bush and his cronies were not held accountable only served to enshrine torture and wars of aggression as standard features of American foreign policy. Another depressing example of Democratic complicity with corruption was the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute major Wall Street figures for fraud in the wake of the financial crisis. The message to the bankers was unmistakable: even if your sleazy financial scams bring down the entire global financial system, you can rest easy. Not only will Uncle Sam spare you from prosecution; he’ll bail your ass out.
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