… Adam Reilly filling in for Braude. Talking Lewandowski, impeachment, and Markey/Kennedy.
Update: Here it is. Wish I could be as succinct as my co-panelists Michael Curry and Shannon O’Brien.
There are two separate concerns: The duty of our elected leaders to uphold the Constitution, and a winning political strategy. On the substance, there’s not much more to say: Of course Trump should be impeached and removed. He is wildly corrupt and very likely disloyal. As I said in the segment, this is not news.
On the politics: We can all agree that the Republican senate, in thrall to a hard-right base, is unlikely to convict Trump. The question is whether they will be made to defend Trump, and own his corruption, as the Democrats make a compelling list of his corrupt acts. When Democrats like Steve Lynch and Nancy Pelosi fear impeachment as something that will “rile up Trump’s base”, they hand over their own power and agency to that far-right rump — while abandoning their own base. They send the signal — as Pelosi has said explicitly — that “he’s not worth it.” This is discouraging and de-motivating for both core Democrats — who give money, make calls, and take bus rides to distant congressional districts to canvass — and it sends a signal to swing voters that actually Trump’s corruption is No Big Deal.
Well, it is. There is, and has been, strong circumstantial evidence that he’s committing espionage on behalf of foreign dictators right now. It simply won’t do to let it slide and run on health care next year (though of course, we must run on health care as well.)
By analogy, minority parties in the British parliament have a long tradition of using question time to score political points, even as they enjoy no actual power. House Republicans did this with endless Benghazi hearings, with basically no substantive justification — but it appealed to their base. There is plainly a mountain of justification for proceedings versus Trump. If impeachment must be essentially a public political act, with accountability delivered in the 2020 elections, rather than in removal by the Senate — so be it.
Our Democratic leaders are telling us there is simply nothing to do. This is learned helplessness — a casting aside of agency due to past traumas — in spite of the very real power and opportunity one does possess:
Learned helplessness, in psychology, a mental state in which an organism forced to bear aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are “escapable,” presumably because it has learned that it cannot control the situation.
There will be no reward for passivity.