Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Warning to Democrats. Impeachment is a trap.

Donald Trump is goading Democrats and the media, hoping they fall for it.


Trump is waving a red flag: "Impeach me!"

Trump does not want the 2018 election to be a referendum on his performance. He wants it to be a referendum on his impeachment.

Trump tweeted "I have an absolute right to PARDON myself." Rudolph Giuliani went out on a media tour of all the networks speculating aloud that Trump could have shot FBI Director James Comey, instead of merely firing him, and have been free from indictment, because he is president.

They aren't being subtle.  

They want to be sure Democrats and the media take the bait. Giuliani asserts the strongest form of the proposition that a president is above the law: Trump can murder. Trump goes back to schoolboy history lessons about monarchs and their Divine Right to rule without regard to law, and used the word "absolute."

That cannot be an accident. 

The word "absolute" is familiar, but it has a very special meaning relating to governance. It is used to describe a special form of monarchy, one in which the king's authority is not constrained by written laws or even his prior decisions. At the time the Constitution was written, even God was understood to have constrained himself, having created a "covenant" with believers, promising protection in exchange for obedience to laws that endure. "Absolute" goes beyond that as it relates to Kings and presidents. They are unconstrained, and can change the rules at will, being above the law.

This blog has likened Trump to Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, because Trump's overwhelming influence on media attention and therefore political discussion. Trump and Louis XIV were the center of political gravity. Trump is now actively inviting the comparison, using the word "absolute" to describe his power.

"L'├ętat, c'est moi." Those are fighting words.

Trump understands Democratic candidates are under pressure by voters to talk about impeachment of Trump. Cable news and talk radio loves the topic. Thoughtful media people also feel required to discuss the implications of what Trump and Giuliani assert. The only constraint would be impeachment. He wants every Democratic candidate to need to address the question, "Will you vote for impeachment if elected?" 

Impeach. Impeach. Impeach. The more it is discussed, the better for Trump.

If the 2018 election is a referendum on Trump's performance then the public's discomfort with the ongoing chaos and messiness of Trump's behavior and administration works against him. Trump is overall unpopular with voters. The public wants checks and balances. Even Republican voters understand that Trump is undisciplined and a majority of voters wish he were more careful. 

They would prefer to focus on something good and stable: an improving economy. That is the winning message for Trump. "It's the economy, stupid" is not a demand for chaos. It expresses the public desire for a secure economic present and future. More money, less chaos.
NPR/Marist. Click.

Impeachment increases chaos. It polls badly.

Impeachment would undermine the Democrats' message. If Trump drama is excessive now, think what it would be if we have a House that impeaches. It conflicts with the Democratic message to vote Democratic and get a stronger safety net and prosperity, a better deal for working people, and to put some checks and balances on Trump.

Impeachment creates a constitutional crisis. More drama. Who knows what new things Trump would do? It would look like Democrats "playing politics." It makes it look like they are still sore about losing the 2016 election.

It might ruin the economic recovery.

Polling confirms this. The public is uncomfortable with Trump but it doesn't favor Impeachment. 

Loser issue: April, 2018. Click
Trump understands that he wins by getting people talking about impeachment. He isn't waiting for Democrats to bring it up. He is doing it himself, with taunts. 

1 comment:

Rick Millward said...

Impeachment is a political tool.

Though no articles were ever drawn there were at least 10 rationales put forward for impeaching Barack Obama from Republicans, including being Kenyan, and throughout his term most Republicans favored it. Political opponents use impeachment talk to delegitimize a president and in a general sense it seems to me to be something that has become more prevalent with the abdication of congress from many of their constitutional responsibilities to the Executive.

Now the tables are turned and though the reasons are different, and arguably more justified, the same tactic is being used by Democrats. It will be hard to stick unless a significant bipartisan group in congress comes together when there is irrefutable proof of corruption.

"High Crimes and Misdemeanors" has become a low bar.