If you do a daily web search for “impeachment,” here’s what you’ll get used to seeing. Most use of impeachment is outside the United States. Most use of impeachment within the United States is outside of Washington, D.C. Most media mention of impeachment in relation to Trump is strongly opposed to it and to the small-d democratic threat it holds for those in power. And the very worst members of both major parties (yes, including the “resistance”) are leading the charge against any such challenge to the establishment.
From the pardoning of Nixon and whitewashing of Watergate on through the failure to punish anyone for Iran-Contra and dozens of such outrages, and the refusal to impeach any recent president for any of their major abusive policies (while impeaching one for sex), a bipartisan swarm of swamp creatures has consistently closed ranks against any serious change in the systems of legalized bribery, war profiteering, and wealth concentration. Trump’s unprecedented financial corruption, one of numerous indisputable grounds for impeachment, is so far off limits as to be effectively erased by virtually all media discussions of impeachment, which instead focus on Russiagate conspiracy theories (in the dubious use of that phrase to refer to allegations that are dubious, not just activities that involve two or more people).
When you want to know what threatens those who have normalized permawar, concentrated wealth and power beyond medieval levels, and ravaged this poor planet possibly beyond the point of recovery, one reliable approach is to listen to what they say threatens them. Nothing has elicited as many warnings from powerful political players since the Occupy movement as has the possibility of the impeachment of Donald Trump. To take one typical example of thousands, a column in The Hill recently warned:
“Democratic voters overwhelmingly want to impeach Trump. A Quinnipiac poll last month found that the vast majority, 71 percent, of Democratic voters want the party to begin the impeachment process if they win control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Moreover, Democratic voters are willing to prove their desire for a Trump impeachment come Election Day by favoring candidates that would make it a reality. . . . Yet, if the Democrats do win back the House and pursue impeachment against the president, there is little on the record to suggest House Democrats have enough evidence to get a conviction in the Senate.”
The above ridiculous claim is based on two factors. First, the author, like some other authors, seems to mean by “evidence” the slightly different concept of “Senate seats held by Democrats.” Second, the author, like virtually all other authors, clearly means by “evidence” the limited concept of “evidence of working with Vladimir Putin to steal a U.S. election.”
Russiagate has not simply been a boon to weapons dealers and a sort of pseudo-therapy for establishment and non-establishment fans of Hillary Clinton. And it has not merely distracted from numerous factors that actually decided the 2016 U.S. presidential election (the Electoral College, the media, voter ID laws, racist removal of names from rolls, disastrously bad candidates, dubious vote counts, rigged primaries, etc.). Russiagate has also served to distract from proven Trump offenses requiring no investigations whatsoever, much less years of media and government obsession.
Various polls do fall short of overall majorities now in favor of a Trump impeachment. That would be very unlikely to remain the case were Congress to move forward on documented impeachable offenses.
Impeach Trump efforts launched on Trump’s inauguration day in part by RootsAction.org, which I work for, have long since provided drafts of several articles of impeachment, a non-Russiagate strategy, and a FAQ answering the most popular concerns. I say concerns, plural, to be super-inclusive, as 99% of the concern out there consists of one word only: Pence. In other words, while the U.S media is overflowing with the idea that a Trump impeachment would harm bipartisan consensus and establishment effectiveness, members of the U.S. public are, in contrast, focused on the idea that impeaching Trump would make them look like chumps who lack the basic awareness that Mike Pence is an anti-democratic authoritarian religious fanatic and war monger.
If a nuclear war were to soon put an end to all of us, I’m convinced that many a last word, interspersed with goodbyes to loved ones, would consist of essentially this: “What? Would you rather have had Mike Pence?” For fear of Pence, even a Pence as president in a revolutionized system of government capable of proper use of the power of impeachment, people are allowing a certifiable madman to accelerate the U.S. and global race toward a military and ecological cliff.
The U.S. Congress has held hearings in which every voice in the room has claimed that Congress has no power to prevent a presidential nuclear war. In reality, should it choose to act, Congress has the power of law, the power of the purse, and the power of impeachment. People diverted from demanding such actions, derailed into partisan Cold War paranoia, or knowingly warning of the Pence danger, do not of course deserve apocalypse — but they very well may bring it on in the name of challenging the very powerful players who are openly telling them what an actual challenge would look like.
And if the world ends, and a media outlet or two survive momentarily on cruise control, we’re sure to see this headline: “Destruction of earth said to be a major victory for Russia, sources say.”