Joe Lockhart, who was press secretary to Bill Clinton in his second term, tells us in The New York Times that impeaching Donald Trump would be a bad idea because Trump should be allowed to go on killing the GOP:
For Democrats, leaving Donald Trump in office is not only good politics — it is the best chance for fundamental realignment of American politics in more than a generation. Mr. Trump is three years into destroying what we know as the Republican Party. Another two years just might finish it off. Trumpism has become Republicanism, and that spells electoral doom for the party.
Mr. Trump has abandoned most of the core principles that have defined Republicans for the past century. Free trade abandoned for protectionism. Challenging our adversaries and promoting democracy replaced by coddling Russia and cozying up to dictators near and far. Fiscal conservatism replaced by reckless spending and exploding deficits.
What’s left of the party is a rigid adherence to tax cuts, a social agenda that repels most younger Americans and rampant xenophobia and race-based politics that regularly interfere with the basic functioning of the federal government.
Republicans today are the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson — a coalition that, in the face of every demographic trend in America, will mean the long-term realignment of the federal government behind the Democrats....
Allowing Mr. Trump to lead the Republican Party, filled with sycophants and weak-willed leaders, into the next election is the greater prize. Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realign American politics along progressive lines, very much like Ronald Reagan did for Republicans in the 1980s.
Where to begin? First, the choice isn't between impeachment and "leaving Donald Trump in office." Trump won't be removed by an impeachment -- there would need to be 20 Republican votes to convict in the Senate to go along with the 47 Democrats (assuming all Democrats vote to convict, and I have strong doubts about Joe Manchin).
But Lockhart's big mistake -- a mistake made by many mainstream politicos of his generation -- is believing that Trumpism is a significant break from pre-Trump Republicanism, and his parallel belief that the Republican party is doomed. Neither of these assertions is true, and it's tiresome to have to recount yet again why they're untrue.
A rigid adherence to tax cuts? A repellently conservative social agenda? Did Lockhart sleep through the Reagan and George W. Bush presidencies? Both presidents and Bush's father flirted with openness to a multi-racial society, in their fashion (Nancy Reagan on Mr. T's lap), but for the most part they rejected government efforts meant to include rather than exclude, as they sent racial signals to angry white voters (Willie Horton).
The Trump GOP says the quiet parts out loud. That's supposed to be suicide for the party, and maybe it will hurt Republicans in the long term -- but even as Democrats creep into contention in Texas, Georgia, and Arizona (though they always seem to be a few perecentage points shy of a win), states such as Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa seem to have slipped out of their grasp, while Indiana and North Carolina, which Barack Obama won in 2008, appear to be largely Republican for the foreseeable future. White tribalism is working in many states, particularly those that aren't thriving.
As long as financially comfortable white retirees continue to live long lives and vote at much higher rates than the young; as long as gerrymandering at the congressional and state legislative levels continues to be permitted; as long as Republican court packing protects GOP efforts at vote suppression in red and purple states; as long as Democrats continue to be a party with moderate and progressive wings that regularly bicker with one another, while the GOP remains a party united by Fox News-driven hatred for Democrats; as long as the Electoral College exists; as long as campaign finance laws advantage the party that enthusiastically delivers for the rich whenever it's in power; as long as struggling whites are encouraged to hate poor and working people of other races, rather than the 1%; and as long as the best minds in the Republican Party continue to devise new ways to keep Democratic vote totals low -- ballots with no paper trails, "exact match" voter-roll purges -- the GOP will be just fine.
If Lockhart were right, it would make sense for Democrats to throw the 2020 election -- let Trump rule for eight years, because that would really destroy the GOP! But that's insane. Every day Trump is in office puts the republic at greater risk. If he could be removed from office tomorrow, it would be a good thing. It has to happen as soon as possible.
Republished with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog