Over the last two weeks, the Democrats have held impeachment hearings that have illustrated beyond a reasonable doubt that Donald Trump abused his office and acted — in coordination with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr — to influence the 2020 election by pressuring a foreign country to investigate a political rival. The actions of Trump and his cabinet members were also clearly influenced by Russian propaganda.
If the impeachment hearings were an actual trial designed to determine if Trump abused his office and established a quid pro quo with the Ukrainians, he would be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt by a reasonable jury. It is not, however, a reasonable jury, and he will not be convicted of these crimes because Republicans — and the majority of the people who elected those Republicans — do not believe a crime was committed, or at least, not a crime worthy of impeachment.
Honestly, the Democrats could not have made a better case. They did everything right, and Republicans like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan did everything wrong, making asses of themselves in the process. In fact, we learned over the weekend that Devin Nunes himself was probably involved in efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden from the Ukrainians.
It doesn’t matter. Democrats haven’t budged in their beliefs, and Republicans haven’t budged in theirs. But independents have apparently softened somewhat on the idea of impeachment, not because they believe Trump and the Republicans, but because some no longer believe that Trump’s offenses were impeachable. (I should note here that Trump’s actions are far, far more impeachable than what Bill Clinton and even Richard Nixon did).
What a lot of independents have seen here is an impeachment hearing that was politically motivated, that the media — with which they have lost trust — tried to weaponize a bunch of typical political bullsh*t and turn it into a bigger thing than it is. With the election less than a year away, they’re less interested in impeachment and more interested in, I don’t know, whatever independents say they are interested in? Healthcare? The economy?
Barring more major revelations, more damaging bombshells, or a world-class meltdown from Donald Trump, the President is not going to be removed from office over this. If the House Democrats do decide to file Articles of Impeachment, it might even damage them politically. It’s unjust. It’s not fair. The Democrats have mostly done everything right, and the Republicans have mostly done everything wrong, and at the end of the day, it still doesn’t matter.
We are all awfully fond of saying that Trump is a symptom of a bigger disease, and that is absolutely true. Our problem is not just with Trump, but with the politicians who protect him, but also, the millions of people who put Trump and those politicians who protect him into office, and who will do it again.
Before he was revealed to be a total scumbag, John Edwards used to deliver this really powerful speech about Two Americas, referring to “the America of the privileged and the wealthy, and the America of those who lived from paycheck to paycheck.” Those two Americas still exist, but we also live in another iteration of two Americas: The America that believes in the rule of law, that believes that the Russians interfered in our election, that believes that Donald Trump is a threat to our Democracy, and the other America, Trump’s America, which believes Donald Trump’s lies, which believes that the Ukrainians were behind the 2016 election interference, which believes that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a truthful person.
It’s the other America that’s the real problem here because it doesn’t matter what we do or how badly Donald Trump f**ks up, the other America is gonna keep voting for guys like him. What is the solution? Well, we could yell, and berate, and shame the other America, but that’s what we’ve been doing for the last three years, and it hasn’t changed their minds. Or we could try and get along with the other America, but why would we reach out to Nazis and racists and people who shrug their shoulders when brown and black children are separated from their families but who move heaven and earth if a white girl goes missing?
It seems to me that we are at an impasse. They have bought into the delusion, and we have not, and it is impossible to speak reason to delusion. And yet, these two Americas are forced to co-exist in movie theaters screening Frozen 2. What’re you going to do? How do you argue with someone who literally believes that Donald Trump is the “chosen one, sent by God”? Well, you can’t. All you can do is hope that when the next election rolls around we can convince more of the people in a small sliver of the country’s electoral battlegrounds of our reason than they can convince of their delusion.
Or more likely, we are going to have to offer a better delusion, one built on free healthcare, free college tuition, affordable childcare, no more student debt, and green energy, goals that are not likely to be fully achieved in this generation because we live in two Americas, but at least, those are the goals for which we can aspire and inch ever closer with each subsequent election. If we want this America to dictate the future of our country, maybe we just have to stop trying to convince unpersuadable people that their President is terrible and, instead, offer a better, more enticing vision of the future than their vision, which is apparently a wall, a corporate monoculture, environmental calamity, and access to education and healthcare for only the wealthiest of Americans.
It really shouldn’t be that hard, should it?
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