Impeachment: is it a solution?

Trump more than deserves it. But what would it change?

Donald Trump and Mike Pence at a post-convention campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: Carlo Allegri / Reuters
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Calls to impeach began before President Trump was installed and are gaining steam. Online petitions proliferate, sponsored by billionaire Tom Steyer and liberal advocacy groups. Media heavies at The New York Times and Washington Post added their op-ed voices.

Certainly, there are plenty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to choose from. The Russia intrigue, firing of FBI director James Comey, and the president’s questionable foreign investments all could provide grounds.

But for those considering impeachment, there is a lesson in the legend of the Hydra. The odious monster of Greek mythology had many heads and when one was chopped off, two more-noxious ones replaced it. The travesties emanating from Washington today are not created by POTUS alone; remove him and more capable players stand ready to implement the same policies.

Trump is just the latest representative of a far-right agenda pushed by corporate magnates for the last 70 years. They are trying to take us back to the early 20th Century before the progressive movement won labor, women’s, civil rights and other reforms. What these new robber barons have wrought cannot be undone by eliminating one figurehead at the top. Working people are in a fight for our rights and our lives.

How did we get here? The impeachment process begins when the House of Representatives votes to level charges, which then go to the Senate for trial. In December, an impeachment resolution charging “associating the Presidency with White Nationalism,” made it to the floor of the House, where it was soundly defeated — by both parties. Even if Congress were willing, chopping from the top wouldn’t uproot an entire establishment that is rapidly heading far right.

In one year, an arch-conservative dream team has taken charge of the administration. This was only possible after years of work by the hard right to dominate state governments and much of Congress.

It is the work of the notorious Koch brothers and the network of billionaires who hide behind them. Owners of the second largest private company in the U.S., the Kochs have for decades poured buckets of dollars into efforts to gut social services, deny climate change, and enable unrestrained profiteering. They bankroll the Tea Party, the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and innumerable rightwing electoral candidates.

One third of Trump’s cabinet has ties to them, notably the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, the CIA, and the Department of Education, as well as the White House Counsel.

The engineer of this incursion is the man in line to replace a deposed Trump — V.P. Mike Pence, a virulent anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ fundamentalist Christian and defender of unfettered capitalism.

Pence’s association with the Kochs is long. In 2009 he carried their ball to stop ‘cap and trade,’ a bill to theoretically lower carbon emissions. Koch money fueled Pence’s successful campaign for governor of Indiana in 2013. His chief of staff, Marc Short, became a top Koch operative and is now White House Director of Legislative Affairs.

Named head of Trump’s transition team, Pence went from appointing Koch buddies to putting big pharma cronies into key healthcare positions, such as Secretary of Health and Human services. As vice president, Pence has cast decisive ballots against Planned Parenthood and for privatization of education. He also voted to remove contraception services from Obamacare, and to challenge the Affordable Care Act. He famously staged a walkout when footballers took a knee against racism.

Complicity of the Democrats. The right-wing onslaught has been met with barely a whimper from Congressional Democrats. The party’s strategy is focused on maneuvering for the 2018 elections. As the outcry for impeachment grows, party leadership stands against it only because they hope that presidential outrages will drive voters to them.

The 2016 electoral defeat has Democrat officials moving rightward. They play political football with the lives of immigrants and refugees. The tax scam passed in December was worthy of all-out war if the party represented working people as it claims, but nary a shot was fired from across the aisle. They continue to support perpetual wars in the Middle East.

Bipartisan representatives introduced a bankers’ relief bill to the Senate which would loosen the already weak regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act, a measure passed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 recession.

In January, House Democrat leaders refused to support limits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requiring warrants for domestic spying, causing the provision to fail by only 26 votes. The Democrats continue to reveal themselves as the other party of capital.

For a labor party. Grassroots horror at naked bigotry and the blatant rule of the 1 percent is fueling the impeachment drive. It is a desperate plea to Congressional Democrats to do something.

Similarly, horror at tolerance for sexual harassment and bigotry in high places fired up Black women to canvass Alabama neighborhoods to defeat pedophile Roy Moore, turning out 96 percent of the community — a moral victory, but no fundamental change.

In Oakland, Calif., angry city workers staged a seven-day strike to recoup some of the pay they gave up to help the city after the 2008 economic crash. But union leaders sabotaged these brave efforts. Instead of creating a strike fund, they held money in reserve for Democrat electoral campaigns.

It is not a lack of resistance that is the problem in the effort to mount a fightback, but rather the straightjacket of the Democratic Party. Working-class rebellion needs better if it is to fight for working people. It needs a party run by and representing workers.

A labor party, independent of the two parties of corporate rule, could be a base for meaningful struggle. It could unify the voices of rebellion and inspire those suffering under this repressive regime. The goal must be to slay the beast and all its toxic heads. A labor party can be a powerful sword in this effort.

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The U.S. Constitution on impeachment: “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

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