Finally, we are there. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled the trigger, and we are at an impeachment inquiry. We know the founders meant this process as a way to remove a rogue president from office. They also did not make it as severe as the British counterpart. The latter involved the removal of rights to serve in offices of public trust, and the removal of titles and lands. The constitution does not call for the confiscation of lands and titles, and that was for good reason. The founders knew the crown abused that, as well as charges of treason. So they wanted to avoid that.
What are we facing though is very different from previous situations when we have had impeachment. However, no president has ever been removed by conviction in the Senate. This matters, because we never have removed a president. Before you say it, but Nixon! Yes, Richard Nixon resigned the office, after a delegation of party elders met with him and pointed to him the votes were there. Nixon preferred to resign than the humiliation that removal from office would be.
What we have though is the result of that process. Republicans wanted revenge over Nixon for decades, and partly that was what the Bill Clinton impeachment was about. It did not help that he tried to cover it up. This was the heart of the impeachment probe, and it cost Republicans, to a point. The country thought it was silly, and voted Clinton back onto office. Also, he was a popular president, serving in the midst of a growing economy, and the deficit was going down. In fact, Clinton turned the presidency to George W Bush with a surplus.
Republicans have argued in many ways that Democrats have no right to hold the reins of power. Why they have done all they can to block Democrats when they hold the presidency. Why Leader Mitch McConnell stated that he wanted to make Barack Obama a one-term president, and has already said that if Democrats retake the White House in 2020, he will oppose anything and everything that Democrats try to pass. This is well beyond a loyal opposition and goes into the realm of a cold civil war looking for excuses to go hot. Republicans simply put, perceive Democrats as enemies of the United States.
Until now we have seen a level of loyalty to Donald Trump that defies any kind of normalcy. Perhaps part of this is fear from Donald Trump and their far-right base. Republicans have known that Trump was a problem. They also knew that some of their members were in the pocket of the Russian state. We know this because Leader McCarthy was caught on tape among other things.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.
These days the party is busy distracting by screaming “SOCIALISM” at every turn. They also are attempting to redirect the attention of the country to Joe Biden and his actions as Vice President of the United States and his son Hunter regarding Ukraine.
The reason is not whether Biden was corrupt or not. Or whether he was trying to protect his son. No. This is about whataboutism and trying to distract the country from the present and the damning memo of the call, or the whistleblower complaint. We saw it starkly with Devin Nuñez statement at the beginning of the hearing the other day. It was a screed about the Steele Dossier, and an information warfare campaign from the democrats and the media (let me translate this, elites.)
Nuñez is not out of line for his party, which pushes all kinds of conspiracy theories, including the deep state and its role, all the time. You just need to go to any conservative online community where there are already calls for armed insurrection to protect Trump from the evils of liberalism. The emerging storyline is that this is another attempt to remove Trump because Democrats cannot defeat him in a fair elation.
To those of us who have paid attention to this for years, decades even, this was not surprising in the least. The division in the country is deep and Democrats are seen as nothing less than traitors to the country.
Yes, the impeachment inquiry needs to happen. What the president did looks like an abuse of power. It looks like maladministration and more. It may be criminal. However, we have to be aware that in this divided country it will increase the passions.
As much as Democrats do not understand it, Trump is in some ways a very charismatic man. He is also fulfilling the wishes of a conservative base, which seems to do whatever it needs to maintain power. He has also deftly activated the fear a significant part of his base has of a diversifying country. He is reveling on that status loss fear. We should not underestimate that.
So what to expect?
If you think things are weird and dangerous, they will get even more so. Twitter is a good place to watch that decent into madness. So are the armpits of the internet. If you believe we have had some violence from the far right, grab on to your horses, because more will come. In fact, Trump is encouraging this with his very dangerous words. He already encouraged the murder of the whistleblower, for example. That was not accidental.
His list of enemies will only grow, and his base will lap it. Some will take action, as best they understand it. Some of these will jump from just words into violence.
Democrats are now committed to this Constitutional path. It is a good thing to do so, but there will be consequences for the nation. We can only hope that as more of this self-dealing is uncovered, most of the nation (including enough Republicans, and there are some small cracks showing) will decide that its time. The changes that are coming will, but the question is whether this will be a preview to a lot more violence or a very noisy storm?
Time will tell. But polling is already showing a change.
But the process is finally underway, and ultimately this will should be good for the country. On the short term, things will surely get crazier than they already are.