Democrats need to find other ways to grapple with this shambling mess of presidency

click to enlarge CALEB WALSH ILLUSTRATION
Caleb Walsh illustration

This column comes as fair warning to all Democrats who seek to impeach President Trump. Nancy Pelosi, the most serious professional politician left standing in her party, has it figured out: TRUMP WANTS TO BE IMPEACHED!

And why? Because he knows that between now and the 2020 election, so long as the insufferable Mitch McConnell runs the Senate, there is zero chance that an impeachment indictment coming out of the Democratically dominated House will be affirmed by the Senate.

Remember the Ali/Foreman fight? Rope-a-dope? That's what Trump is trying to pull off. He's counting on the Democrats, as Foreman did against Ali, to think they are landing body blows, while, in the end, they punch themselves out from exhaustion. Then Trump will claim to have knocked out the Democrats — that the charges against him did not result in an impeachment that passed the Senate. You know, just more "fake news" — and so on, and so forth.

What should the Dems do? First off, they might want to remember why they dominated the midterm elections. They won by running on issues such as health care, taxes, climate change, education and women's rights, and against racism and nativism. They won because the hypocrisy of the Republican Congress was so obvious. And they won because they associated all this with Trump.

Well all those issues and more are still out there — as is Trump. So what to do? Here's a proposed to-do list:

  • Where, oh where is Sen. Chuck Schumer? Wake him up; he needs to get in the fight.
  • Draw sharper attention to the Mueller Report, especially the parts about Russian involvement in Trump's election.
  • Stop using the word "meddling." Vladimir Putin was attempting, with success, to "rig" the election in Trump's favor.
  • Trump's "buddy-buddy" routine with Putin should be looked at more carefully — especially now.
  • Immediately take any and all contempt of Congress charges directly to court.
  • To understand Trump better, spend some time reading up on Roy Cohn, who worked for Joe McCarthy then Trump. Trump learned at the feet of Cohn, who spent the early part of his career with McCarthy, driving analysts out of government at the exact time the nation needed them most. Cohn was nasty, self-serving and hypocritical to the end.
  • Draw more attention to what the House, under Democratic leadership, is trying to accomplish. Explain both the challenges and preferred ways of addressing them. The people's business needs to come first.
  • Underline the growing economic inequality throughout the country during this time of high employment.
  • Address the mounting burden of student loan debt.
  • Call more attention to Trump's taxes and his many failed business dealings.
  • Decry how Trump keeps undermining our international alliances that have kept the peace for generations.
  • Regarding agricultural problems created by Trump's tariffs, recall the Harry Truman quote that any farmer who votes against his best interests, that is who votes Republican, "ought to have his head examined."
  • Continue to call attention to and denounce Trump's racism and bigotry.
  • Pound away about climate change, its impacts to national security, the environment and the economy, citing all the evidence in front of our eyes that Trump has called a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
  • Recall the Obama presidency — what he faced, how he dealt with it, along with the class he brought to the White House. Class matters to national reputation and morale.
  • Remind the country, and most importantly the Republicans in the Senate, how their party conducted themselves during the Watergate hearings compared with today. That generation of Republicans put the nation ahead of their party.
And while they're working on all that, they should forget about impeachment. Unless, of course, there lurks somewhere a version of the Watergate tapes. ♦

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University.

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About The Author

Robert Herold

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. Robert Herold's collection of Inlander columns dating back to 1995, Robert's Rules, is available at Auntie's.