Impeach the whole damned crooked system!

Donald Trump delivers the 2019 State of the Union address as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi look on. PHOTO: Shealah Craighead / White House photo
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“The game is rigged,” Trump rants — and so it is! — though not against him and his billionaire buddies. Now the liar-in-chief has stepped so far over the bounds of “normal” politics that the Democrats have initiated the impeachment process. An investigation into Trump’s abuse of power? Great — bring it on!

The Donald should have been brought to justice long ago for high crimes against humanity: brutal suffering of migrants; aid and comfort to white supremacists; environmental destruction through global warming; and gutted lifelines like healthcare, to name a few. For that matter, his predecessors, Republican and Democrat alike, richly deserved the same fate, including Obama, who oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from workers to the rich in human history.

The actual impeachment charges seem to pale in comparison.

A reckoning long overdue. The process was triggered by a whistleblower’s report of a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. Trump blocked Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine, and then used this to pressure Ukraine to get dirt on rival presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

POTUS asking for a re-election favor in exchange for supplying U.S. missiles is straight-up extortion. His follow-through has been broad-scale witness intimidation and smear campaigns aimed at any who could testify to his wrongdoing.

The impeachment process serves as a means to remove federal officials from office. The Constitutional term “high crimes and misdemeanors” covers offenses based on abuse of public trust and political misconduct as well as overt crimes.

The first step is an inquiry conducted by the House of Representatives to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges, called articles of impeachment. If passed, a trial is held in the Senate, requiring a two-thirds vote to find the president guilty and remove him from office.

Impeachment is not about enforcing public will — as the power to recall a president would be. Nor has it anything to do with justice, given the locked-in partisanship of Congress. There is little chance the Republican-majority Senate will convict Trump in their sham trial.

Nor is impeachment a just solution for the administration’s horrendous and brutal policies. In any impeachment, the ultimate outcome would be simply replacing one advocate of exploitation and the status quo for another. In this case, ousting Trump means elevating Pence, a fundamentalist misogynist who orchestrated the administration’s ultra-conservative agenda.

A spotlight on systemic corruption. What impeachment can provide is an unparalleled chance to bring to light not only Trump’s misdeeds, but the layer-upon-layer of corruption, influence-peddling, deceit and profiteering that is part and parcel of the U.S. political system.

The 1974 impeachment of Richard Nixon for the Watergate break-in and cover-up had a profound effect. It drew back the curtain on some of the behind-the-scenes dirty dealings that go on in this supposedly democratic system. People no longer bought wholesale into the supposed nobility of public officials and sanctity of government institutions.

Ukraine-gate has the potential to expose the truth that corruption is hard-wired into the system.

A shell game dressed up as democracy. Capitalism is designed by and for the rich. The U.S. twin parties of Big Business pretend to represent all of us while they both collude with the ruling class to rob the working class blind.

Trump’s bullying and his use of executive power as a battering ram are not a break from past practice. His conduct is an extension of exactly how politics are conducted in city halls, in D.C., and internationally. Behind the scenes wheeling-and-dealing; demanding exchange of “favors” (aka quid pro quo); mixing personal, political and public rewards — all are everyday occurrences.

But the façade of rule by and for the people is supposed to be maintained! Corruption is kept behind the scenes; a veneer of civility exists between the camps; power passes peacefully between the parties through elections; three branches of government provide checks and balances. U.S. diplomacy masquerades as something other than gangland-style arm-twisting.

Trump tramples on these conventions. And the offense judged as impeachment-worthy? Breaking the rules to go after the Democrats. This they will not abide.

Yet in this highly polarized society, Trump continues to have support. He has a job description from his fellow capitalists: junk regulations against capitalist speculation and plunder; get rid of environment protections that infringe on profits; twist trade to protect U.S. companies; roll back gains made by workers, women, and people of color; and scapegoat immigrants for the problems caused by rapacious profiteering. As long as he keeps delivering, a sector of the ruling class — particularly in finance capital and heavy industry — will back him up. Thus Bonapartist Trump pretends to be a strongman above the political fray. He defies Congress, rebuffing subpoenas and spurning cooperation.

To be clear, as vile as his politics are, as much as he has smoothed the path for white supremacy, Trump is not a fascist. He has not built a movement dedicated and capable of destroying all capacity for working people to fight back. We still have important openings to squelch the far right before they can create fascism here in the U.S.

Indict the system! The Democrats hope their “Anyone but Trump” campaign will save them. But impeachment risks casting a spotlight on bipartisan corruption. Their party has colluded with Trump’s flouting of Congressional decisions, diversion of funds, and perverse stacking of the Cabinet and the judiciary with unqualified political hacks. The impeachment process provides incredible prospects for aiming a laser beam at capitalism’s dark nooks and crannies. The Democrats would surely not do this on their own, so we must demand a truly in-depth enquiry.

Impeachment presents the Left with a tremendous opportunity to bring people into the fight for a healthy alternative to the profit system.

We can contrast the existing quagmire with an anti-capitalist world that vanquishes war, racism, poverty, sexism, queer oppression, imperialism and exploitation of all kinds. We can infuse hope in the midst of cynicism. We can link up with growing protests across the globe and build the movement for socialist revolution. Let’s do it!

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