I have no problem with impeaching Trump (provided that Dems win the House in 2018, not a sure thing at all) knowing full well he can’t be convicted in the Senate. He has already done things that are precedent as impeachable offenses and it’s not like wasting a few months on impeachment proceedings takes attention away from useful things. Still, this is not a substitute for strategy, and even if Dems manage the federal trifecta by 2021 (and take back most statehouses too), I’m still not really sure what happens “next.” One assumes a bit more regulation and social spending, sure. Perhaps some voting rights measures too. But actual legislation aside, if history is any guide, Republicans will raise holy hell again in a very recognizable way, perform a quick rebrand to convince people that Trump was never a thing, and grab a chamber of Congress at the first midterm. At which point they’re going to burn it all down. If their brand is so tarnished (or if Democrats are able to write new maps that gerrymander the other way) that they can’t win one back, I think paramilitary stuff starts happening. The basic problem is that the Madisonian Constitution is essentially dead without anyone really wanting to say so–you can say Mitch McConnell hacked it but in an alternate universe where Bill Frist runs for another term in 2006 and remains in charge of the GOP Senate caucus in 2009, I don’t think things turn out all that differently. McConnell put it in the crass party/ideology first terms that the GOP understands so well but ultimately GOPers under Clinton and Dems under Dubya both significantly escalated the obstruction status quo. McConnell escalated it by a factor of a hundred thousand, sure, and gave it a sleazy intellectual underpinning, but now Democrats are escalating it a bit more, which I can’t really fault them for because unilateral disarmament is for suckers. But eventually this escalation leads to one side not being able to supply the votes for a must-pass bill and shit will blow up. I doubt Democrats do this because they actually give a damn about people, but you never know! Most likely it’s when President Booker can’t make a deal with Senate Majority Leader Ted Cruz in 2023. (Also true: John Boehner was a bombthrowing Gingrich intimate in the 1990s and was a voice of reason in the 2010s. It’s hardly impossible that Cruz is positioned more to the reasonable center of the GOP by then. Fun prospect!) Barack Obama was right to see that renewed bipartisanship to some degree is essential to making the government work, but the impossibility of that bipartisanship given polarization was something he never could deal with, since the only real conclusions are ones that it’s safe to say he would reject out of hand.

The issue is that I don’t really see anyone in positions of power even thinking about this. It’s as though people simply are pushing the long-term out of their minds to resist Trump. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t be resisting to the max! But you have to have a vision about where it goes, and I would not put one goddamn dime on “the fever breaking” after one-term Trump.

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  1. lumpkin says:

    It’s hard for me to decide who is potentially worse in the long run -- Trump or Pence. By many reports, Pence is not much brighter than Trump and he is a true RWXtian nutcase, but seems to have better self control than Trump.

    Trump in office will hinder the domestic agenda of the right but risks further destroying both internal norms and global relations, even perhaps leading to even more immoral, catastrophic wars than W started. But the longer he sticks around stinking up the place the better it is for dems in future elections.

    If Pence succeeds Trump, then he will undoubtedly be hailed as the great healer and reuniter of a wounded nation -- he kinda looks the part if you are a gullible beltway press type, although he really needs a better tailor. Looks like he’s wearing dad’s JC Penney suit. If he’s smart enough or has good handlers he can ride that villager wave of liquid pigshit to huge policy success, to the great detriment of the nation in the long run.

    Also, if Trump is removed from office, there is a large contingency of armed and crazy people who will completely freak the fuck out and though I don’t think they would have any chance of overthrowing the government or anything close to that, they could still hurt a lot of people. I’m fairly certain of this as an expected outcome of a Trump impeachment/conviction.

    So -- if Trump stays there’s more risk of near term catastrophe but politically it’s better for dems because he is the flaming garbage in the dumpster fire of gop self immolation. But if he goes Pence will be more effective policy-wise and may continue gop domination thru to 2020 and beyond.

    If I was Schumer, this would be my approach: Wait and see. Meet with Mattis, McMaster, Kelly and Dunford and get their assurance that if the dems don’t push impeachment they will keep Trump from pushing the nuke button or something similarly disastrous. That’s clearly way out of the chain of command and nominally only the president has the authority to launch nukes or not but surely these are reasonable people that would balk at carrying out a world-destroying order from a demented fool.

    Or maybe not ¯_(ツ)_/¯. In the long run we’re all dead anyway.

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