…The only question is whether we on the progressive side of the aisle take advantage of it.
The pageant the lawyers for Donald J. Trump put together over the past few days was pretty elaborate. At no point did these “defense lawyers” put on a defense of what Trump did on that phone call to Ukraine president Zelensky. Instead, what we saw was a fair level of histrionics of how poorly poor Donny was being treated and how the bar for impeachment had gone so low. In an ironic twist, that last “argument” was made by none other than Ken Starr, who engineered the impeachment of a president for a consensual (but wrong) oral sex session with a subordinate intern. (Again, wrong, to be sure, but was it a “high crime” along the same lines as setting up a burglary and using the FBI to cover it up, or trying to cheat to win an election? It seems that Starr himself already lowered that bar 22 years ago.
However, Starr’s “argument” was just so much window dressing, it turned out. The next day, none other than Pam Bondi came out to “defend” Trump. Given Bondi’s background, this, too, was highly ironic, given her role in burying one of Trump’s civilian crimes. See, in 2013, Bondi was the Florida Attorney General when she stopped that state’s investigation into the Trump University scam, thus delaying that case until the “president-elect” was hit with a $25 million fine and ordered to cease operations of that clearly fraudulent “educational” operation. Oh – and that doesn’t even take into account the $25,000 contribution Trump made to Bondi’s campaign. As a reward for her loyalty to Trump over country, Bondi is now making six figures as a lobbyist for Qatar, a constitutional monarchy whose people are expected to follow Sharia Law. Actually, that’s unfair, since we don’t know if she got that job through Trump, or anyone else in his regime. After all, we have to be fairer to her than she was to the Bidens in her portion of the “Opening Statement.”
Bondi’s version of a “defense” was to complain constantly about the Bidens’ “nepotism,” of all things. Imagine accusing Joe Biden of nepotism when you’re working for Trump, whose daughter and son-in-law pretend they work for the US government because “daddy” asked them to. There is not now, nor has their ever been, any suggestion by anyone that Joe Biden intervened to get Hunter Biden a job with Burisma, anyway, so the accusation falls flat in every way. Yet, more concerning was Bondi’s lionization of the incredibly corrupt Victor Shokin, whom Vice President Joe Biden had helped take down. Shokin, not Biden, had started an investigation into corruption at Burisma and then shelved it. Instead, Bondi, who could perhaps relate to Shokin, given her role in burying Trump;’s civilian corruption, asked everyone listening to sympathize with Shokin and pretend Biden was the corrupt one, despite – ironically – a serious lack of evidence, which is what she was supposed to be offering as a “defense” of Trump.
As bad as Bondi fucked up, though, Mar-a-Lago’s attorney, Eric Herschmann, was even worse. He, too, tried to offer up a suggestion, sans evidence, of Biden nepotism. He also tried to engender sympathy for a “president” who doesn’t actually exist. Consider this part of his testimony, apparently under oath:
“Think about the managers’ position. That our president decided with corrupt intent to shake down in their words another foreign leader and he decided to do it in front of everyone in a documented conversation in the presence of people he did not even know just who he could get this personal benefit and was not in our country’s interests. The logic is flawed, it is completely illogical because that is not what happened. And that is why manager Schiff ran away from the actual threat. That is why he created his own fake conversation…
“The reporter wrote that when I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they did raise the concern with the vice president, several of them said they had been too intimidated to do so. Everyone who works for him has been screamed that, a former advisor told a reporter. I don’t know whether anyone has been intimidated by by Vice President Biden or has been screamed at by him about Burisma or his son’s involvement. We want the type of government where questions about suspect conduct are suppressed or dismissed as illegitimate because someone is intimidating or screams at or is just too important? No. That is precisely when an investigation is most important.”
Imagine thinking this “president” doing anything “corrupt.” A man who rarely paid his debts and managed to lose everything on a casino could never think of doing anything with “corrupt intent,” right?
The vast majority of Americans want this shit show over precisely because everything is so corrupt and immensely abnormal.
The fact that most Americans want him out of there and can’t wait to see the federal government resume something resembling normalcy is something Senate Republicans really don’t want to think about much. After all, 24 of them are up for reelection this year, as opposed to just a dozen Democrats. And when you look at the polls closely, the American public is more attuned to impeachment the more they learn about what happened. This makes for a lethal combination of factors for the Republican Party, especially since “Moscow Mitch” McConnell’s scheme to limit the scope of the impeachment trial has gone by the wayside. Yesterday, he announced that he no longer has the votes to stop the calling of witnesses and the submission of documents as evidence.
This is treacherous terrain for the Grand Old Party (GOP). They still have a majority in the Senate, but the likelihood is that they won’t after this year. Further, nearly half their caucus is up for reelection this year and impeachment is becoming increasingly more acceptable and even desired by the electorate. Since Democrats only have to win four seats to take the Senate majority, out of 24 GOP seats, every one of those 24 Senators is feeling pressure right now. That is why I am one of the few who refuse to believe it’s guaranteed that Trump will be acquitted. Oh, he probably will be, since there doesn’t seem to be a Republican with an uncle of either courage or conscience. However, it is possible that 20 of those 24 who are running will feel so much pressure, they may vote to acquit. The chance is slim, but it does exist.
However, the potential damage to the Republican Party is potentially lethal this time. They can’t deny that Donald Trump is the worst president in US history, with the worst overall record. They also can’t deny that he shouldn’t have been elected in the first place. However, worse is the fact that the entire party has spent his entire term looking the other way at his massive corruption and even assisting him with it when they were able. Trump likes to call the House leaders “Do-Nothing Democrats,” even though they have passed about 400 bills in the first half of the current session of Congress and “Moscow Mitch” McConnell is holding them up in the Senate, not allowing either debate or a vote on any of them. And unlike the recent past, voters actually seem engaged and they’re seeing this happen. Look at the polls; a majority is in favor of impeachment these days, and a plurality now thinks he should be convicted and remove. In the meantime, the only defense the GOP offers is “the Democrats are poopyheads,” which is only a winning strategy for the 15% of the electorate who buys Trump’s bullshit.
I suppose I should feel sorry for rank-and-file Republicans, who are watching their entire party self-destruct, but really, all I can say is, it’s about time. If liberals were more effective, they should have been gone a long time ago. They have had an inordinate amount of power for the past 40 years or more now, and their governance has led to the destruction of the social safety net we helped champion and they have also given the most power to those with the most money. However, the “progressive movement” has largely ceded the politics to them and allowed it all to happen. This is our chance. All any of us has to do to oust the GOP from government at all levels is to embrace the Democratic Party and support Democrats at every level. Not just perfect Democrats, who don’t exist anyway, but ALL Democrats, even those you deride as “centrist,” as if that’s an actual insult. It’s actually easy, since most of the people “progressives” claim to advocate for, like the poor and minorities, already advocate for Democrats, without exception.
This is the most important election of our lives. Unlike other elections in which we falsely claimed that, our democracy really is at stake this time. And the GOP has never been more vulnerable. Trump is so bad, he should take down his entire party with him, especially since they seem to sanction and encourage his awfulness and corruption. However, it all depends on what we do. If you’re one of those idiots who won’t vote Democrat unless your favorite candidate wins the nomination, you’re too stupid to take seriously. You will also be blamed if Trump wins and/or the GOP doesn’t go away in an electoral bloodbath at every level of government.
Republicans should be screwed this year, but only if we do our job as progressives. Be pragmatic; it’s time to put the GOP out of our misery. Let’s do this…
Also published on Medium.