I’ve yet to invest in any one candidate for 2020. I’m only holding myself responsible for doing whatever it takes to vote Trump out of office. My only hope is that the Democratic Party will crunch the numbers and put forth a candidate who can beat Trump. Putting an end to the Trump Presidency is my #1 political issue.
I, like many other Americans am certain that in addition to his glaring incompetence, Trump is a criminal. I’ve spent much of the past three years imagining ways to get rid of him, but have been forced to admit to myself that a dramatically disgraceful end to Trump’s presidency is just a self-indulgent fantasy. As impeachment becomes an increasingly realistic possibility, I have realized that jumping into impeachment is a bad idea.
Only if the Mueller report already shows incontrovertible proof that can boot Trump from office, we must impeach immediately. However, so far, calls for impeachment have been made merely to grant congress the power to do more investigation and that’s just not enough. The stakes are too high to start impeachment proceedings without knowing what the investigation will yield. It’s been said that the FBI doesn’t ask questions it doesn’t already know the answer to. That strategy is one that the Democrats would be wise to apply to the impeachment of Donald Trump. Robert Mueller seems to have done everything but construct a flashing neon sign pointing to impeachable offenses in his report, but it’s not helpful until it’s made public because Mueller cannot do anything more.
Technically, when we look at the duties of Congress as defined by the constitution, they should probably begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. But nothing makes me sicker than when people get all misty-eyed about what the founding fathers intended. Those same founding fathers would have considered me a piece of livestock, so what they intended is the least of my concerns , as the whole system was designed to preserve the dominance of the white male landowner ruling class. As such, removing Trump from office through impeachment will not be a true end to his regime.
In the best case scenario of a successful Trump impeachment, all we’ll end up getting out of it will be an abundance of headlines featuring ‘orange is the new black’ puns, and a few weeks smugly outraged. Ultimately we will be too busy mobilizing fresh activism against President Pence and the enraged deplorables backing him, who will believe Trump’s claims of innocence over any hard facts. Worse yet, Trump is too rich and too white to serve any hard time. At most he’ll be cordoned off to a Mar-a-lago light club Fed type of facility until he’s pardoned by President Pence. If we really do get rid of Trump the man, the rest of the executive branch will preserve Trump’s freedom and agenda of undoing the progress of the 20th century. Except, I fear that Mike Pence is significantly more competent and regressive than Donald Trump.
The other certainty is that impeachment will suck up the news cycle leading up to 2020, leaving less bandwidth for the Democratic candidate who can bring people to the polls and beat Trump in the election. Even if, as I think we all expect, impeachment digs up plenty of shady behavior, unless we’re lucky enough to secure hard evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, Trump’s base will see impeachment as being about what was NOT found in the investigation. Remember, these are voters who see no current disqualifying issues with Trump’s character. So evidence of more underhandedness will only rally his base and whip them into a 2020 frenzy.
Another possible outcome is that impeachment finds lots of facts to strengthen our disgust but nothing that results in a strong guilty verdict. There is a vast difference between the inability to convict and innocence. I’m pretty sure a lot of Trump supporters who had no problem understanding the difference between legal guilt and actual guilt when it came to OJ Simpson will declare Trump as clean as a whistle if impeachment doesn’t turn up a smoking gun. Worse yet, the people whose vote could go to either party will probably find him more attractive after a lukewarm impeachment, boosting his chance of 2020 re-election. I don’t understand or know these people who need encouragement to get to the polls and vote against Trump, but a lukewarm impeachment gives them less of a reason to do so. Don’t forget that Hilary won the popular vote in 2016. If the Democratic party plays it right, the votes are there and we can really get the fool out of here.
Thembi Ford is a writer living in Los Angeles.