BuzzFlash Wrote Commentaries Vigorously Advocating for Impeachment: Yes, Trump and the GOP Are Trying to Destroy Democracy: What If Nancy Pelosi's Anti-Impeachment Policy Leads to Trump's Re-Election?
September 24, 2019
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH
If the Democrats Do Not Protect Whistleblowers, Democracy Is Severely Imperiled
Paul Krugman wrote a column last week entitled, "Republicans Don’t Believe in Democracy: Do Democrats Understand What They’re Facing?"
Given the last three decades of thuggish, ruthless and unscrupulous GOP efforts to undermine democracy, it has been a formidable task to try and ensure the survival of norms of majority rule. With the arrival of Trump as president, that task has become increasingly difficult as Trump gaslights America and the media as he oversees a reign of lawlessness and corruption.
Yesterday, BuzzFlash wrote a commentary entitled, " Nancy Pelosi Can Either Uphold the Rule of Law or Enable Trump's Lawlessness and Corruption. Her Intractable Opposition to Impeachment May Actually Endanger the Dem House Majority in 2020."
To impeach Trump or not to impeach Trump is certainly the Hamlet dilemma of Democrats -- and creates discord among those who have the common goal of defeating Trump in 2020.
A standard assumption of the opponents of impeachment is that Nancy Pelosi is being strategic in not initiating impeachment proceedings because doing so might help Trump win and Republicans retake the majority in the House of Representatives and maintain control of the Senate.
But what if Pelosi's premise is flat out wrong? What if her narrow focus on saving the seats of 20 Democratic Reps (who won in 2018 districts carried by Trump in 2016) -- and her maintaining power as Speaker of the House -- leads to a disastrous rout of the Democrats, not to a blue wave victory. Add to that the GOP's attempt to taint the Democrats as "socialists" (as in "UnAmerican") and unseemly attacks on the "Squad" (as the "face" of the Democratic Party) and the Dems are going to have their hands full.
As we discussed in yesterday's BuzzFlash commentary, Pelosi's unmoveable position is based on the premise that Democrats can control the narrative -- and that impeachment would only get in the way of campaigning on bread and butter issues.
However, there is good cause to believe that Trump will be controlling the narrative up to the 2020 election, and that the Democrats will end up looking weak, powerless and unproductive. Pelosi can avow that the Dems couldn't fulfill their 2018 promises because of a Republican Senate and Trump as president, but in the end Trump and McConnell will turn that around into a talking point that proves the failure of Dems, not their promises.
Furthermore, failure to expose Trump's violation of the law and threat to national security in an impeachment process will leave Trump with the wind at his back. He is enormously successful at being a ringmaster of the media and turning his high crimes and misdemeanors into an attack on Democrats that allows him to move on to his next crime. He is doing this right now by turning an "urgent" whistleblower report into an "appropriate" phone call about Joe Biden's disproved "corruption."
The issues at hand in regards to Trump's violation of the law in relation to Ukraine are three-fold. First, did he violate the law by seeking foreign aid, as he did in 2016, by seeking shady campaign assistance from a foreign power? Two, did he attempt to subtly extort the Ukranian president by holding back $250 million dollars in US government military funding to ensure that Ukraine would dig up dirt on Biden? Three, is he violating the law by not allowing Congress to receive the "urgent" whistleblower alert as required by law.?
The answers to one and three are yes. We don't know for certain the answer to number two because he is not complying with the law on number three. It appears from Trump and Giuliani's preemptive slow-leaking and reshaping of the whistleblower's report that Trump will be found to have engaged in bribery and extortion, but only if Congress will be brass-knuckled relentless in obtaining the report. (BuzzFlash posted a detailed requirement of the whistleblower law in an article posted yesterday.)
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Trump is, thus far, successfully steering the question of what he did to focus on the phone call rather than his obligation to send the whistleblower "alert" to oversight committees in Congress. The House Dems must not fall for Trump’s diversion to the phone call, a transcript of which will likely not directly make the connection to the extortion by withholding funds. The House Dems, as noted above, must force release of the whistleblower’s “urgent” report, which one can speculate ties the withholding of funds to the phone call. Otherwise, Trump will do what he always does, claim that the phone call was inconclusive. He will also continue to throw shade at Joe Biden.
This represents treason. The main potential disastrous blowback in Pelosi's policy of non-impeachment is that she is tolerating a reign of lawlessness that is dismantling democracy. This appears to voters as weak and ineffectual, and ultimately it corrodes the standards, values and justice system upon which our nation is built.
Furthermore, in tolerating Trump's lawlessness and corruption -- while openly charging that he is guilty of them -- Pelosi represents a powerless leader, not one who takes a stand on behalf of ensuring the framework of our democracy.
In addition, Pelosi is abandoning all those who would expose Trump as he tramples on whistleblowers in the executive branch agencies. She specifically is abandoning the current Ukraine whistleblower by not coming to his/her defense and by still not committing to the impeachment process. In short, she is serving as an example of enabling Trump's lawlessness and, as Elizabeth Warren said, being "complicit."
What does Pelosi say to the person who goes to jail for kiting checks or any non-violent crime when she refuses to hold a man who is treasonous, a threat to national security, commits repeated obstructions of justice and is a con artist and grifter -- at taxpayer expense -- accountable?
Tolerance of a lawless president may indeed lead not to a Demcoratic Party landslide but to a Republican victory , because Trump will tout the failure to initiate an impeachment process as vindication. Furthermore, the Dems have always been weak at national messaging (with the exception of the 2008 Obama campaign and some of the current Dem presidential contenders). Trump didn't invest much in the 2018 election because it wasn't directly about him. However, he will be pulling out all the stops, including, ironically as we see in the Ukraine incident, again seeking help from foreign powers, which is a betrayal of the nation.
On Sunday, we ran an article that transcribed a lecture that Hillary Clinton recently gave entitled, " Hillary Clinton: Trump 'Asked a Foreign Power to Help Him Win an Election, Again' -- And Four Other Ways He's Ready to Mug Democracy." In the talk, she detailed four methods the Republicans will use to try and steal the 2020 election. As Krugman asked, "Do Democrats understand what they’re facing?" Does Pelosi realize that she is putting democracy in peril by not holding Trump accountable and by not leading a national campaign to oppose the Republican methods of stealing elections?
As BuzzFlash pointed out yesterday, the Democrats have a very weak messaging machine. Schumer and Pelosi are strictly inside-the-beltway party apparatchiks. Pelosi will lament that the public is not ready for impeachment. Okay, so then take a page from the GOP playbook and lead the public. So many of the "alternative facts" that many Americans believe are because the Republicans and their media amplifiers have shaped the overriding narrative.
Schumer and Pelosi don't seem to have a clue about how to influence public opinion and are generally content to talk to the media in the Capitol. This is not student council; this is the fate of democracy at stake.
The basic premise of Pelosi's strategy is that impeachment will not allow the Dems to get their message out. Guess what, Trump won't let you get any message out without chewing it up and spitting it out unless you initiate the impeachment process. Again, those who side with Pelosi's hands-off-holding Trump accountable for his lawlessness and corruption are sending the wrong message to the American public. They are de facto justifying that if a person holds a high-enough office they can break any law they want.
When Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he could shoot a person on Fifth Avenue and his voters would still back him, he probably didn't think that Nancy Pelosi would be one of the people letting him get away with it.
Finally, to those who argue that impeachment would be useless because the Republican Senate would not convict him, remember that what is invaluable here is the lawlessness, venality and treason that the impeachment process would expose. This would position the Dems as the party of upholding the rule of law and expose and severely tarnish Trump. What's more, it would show the Dems have the backs of whistleblowers and those -- such as climate scientists, environments, and advocates for racial and immigrant justice -- who seek to reveal Trump for the con man that he is.
For Pelosi to continue her feckless and transparent slow-walk on impeachment any longer makes her an enabler to lawlessness, and as Elizabeth Warren (and AOC) have said, "complicit" in the crimes of Donald J. Trump.
That is a stance that is more than likely to backfire on the Dems and lead to Trump's re-election than any short-sighted notion of "protecting" 20 Dem Reps. What Pelosi is not doing is more likely to not only lose the House but give a Trump a second term, which would be the end of our Republic.
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