“18th of December in the year 2019 and President Donald Trump is impeached”

Dec 19th, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief

It is a kind of Rachel Maddow moment. The best beginning may just be to quote her : “This is really happening. This is your life. This is our country in our time … It is Wednesday, the 18th of December in the year 2019 and President Donald Trump is impeached.”

Like my counterweights colleague Citizen X, my mind has gone back and forth on the impeachment inquiry launched by the Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives early this fall. Now the deed has been done, there remain good reasons for continuing uneasiness.

See, eg : “Warning lights are flashing for Democrats as they prepare to impeach Trump” ; “Americans split on impeachment in new polls” ; and “Trump Approval Inches Up, While Support for Impeachment Dips.”

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) as they walk to the chamber where the House begins debate on the impeachment[s] charges against President Trump. J. Scott Applewhite/AP.”

At the same time, not all the latest polling is all bad. Unlike polls made public December 16 and 17 – which showed Trump beating all the major Democratic presidential contenders in 2020 — an Emerson College poll on December 18 at least showed Biden, Sanders, and Warren beating Trump (while Buttigieg managed a tie).

For me personally, at some point on the evening of December 18 I settled into a quiet confidence that, whatever the future may bring, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and (almost) all the other Democrats in the House have unquestionably done the right thing. And it will give them new strength in the long run.

President Trump’s December 17 letter to Nancy Pelosi — his ultimate defence (drafted by Stephen Miller some say) — shows some low cunning. But it also leaves itself open to rejoinders like Bess Levin’s in Vanity Fair : “Trump pens deranged six-page impeachment letter, mails it to Nancy Pelosi … It’s the sort of document that itself makes the case that Trump is unfit for office.”

The next step is a trial in the Senate, the Republican majority in which will almost certainly not remove President Trump from office. The worst scenario here for my side of the argument is that the Senate will acquit the president in a way that bolsters his chances in the 2020 election.

At the same time again, plots are afoot to contain possible damage of this sort. See, eg : “Some House Democrats push Pelosi to withhold impeachment articles, delaying Senate trial” ; “House Democrats Weigh A Move To Delay Senate Impeachment Trial” ; and “Pelosi Signals Possible Delay To Senate Impeachment Trial.” (And we may be excused for wondering : could the delay last all the way to the 2020 election next fall? Well, probably not, but …)

Two final notes : First, around 4:30 on the afternoon of December 18 Robert Benzie at the Toronto Star re-tweeted a quite remarkable old Wolf Blitzer CNN interview with Donald Trump, long before he somehow became president of the USA.

Benzie explained : “On an extraordinary day, an extraordinary video. Trump on CNN hailing Pelosi, denouncing the Clinton impeachment as ‘nonsense,’ and saying W should have been impeached for the Iraq war. Astonishing.” (Or as the original tweeter Josh Jordan put it : “This video of Trump praising Pelosi and saying W Bush should’ve been impeached for lying is so great I can’t stand it.”)

Second, and finally, so much of the fight against Trump and what he wants to do with and to America has to do with women. Generally, it seems, the majority of men are for Trump, and the majority of women are against him.

This underlines just how, as it were, almost evenly divided American voters are right now on Donald Trump’s political future. It would be wrong to underestimate this side of an inevitably sad story. But it also draws my attention to the counterweight editors’ recent approving comments on the pro-impeachment calculations of the American historian Jill Lepore :

“The abuses of office of which the President now stands accused are the very definition of impeachable … The madness lies in … how many people had to give up on the idea of democracy for things to come to this. The sadness lies in …. the unlikelihood of anything getting much better anytime soon … A farmer walks across a field, bracing against the wind. Hardness is what’s required to get through a political winter: determination, forbearance, sacrifice, not bitterness but a certain sternness.”

To which I can only add my own obscure grass-roots Amen, from the friendly much less populous country in the true north, strong and free, just next door.

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