The political calculus on impeachment goes something like this: if Democrats do it, they may suffer politically, possibly in the House, possibly in the Senate, and possibly because Trump is more likely to be reelected. Let’s unpack this.
For ANY of this to be true, ALL of the following must be true.
First of all, it is important to stipulate that NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING, and, as always, all this prognostication is total bullshit.
There are voters who WILL NOT change their vote, or their choice to vote, regardless of impeachment. By definition, these voters are irrelevant to the impeachment political calculus. There is every reason to believe that this represents the vast majority of the American electorate.
By contrast, there are some voters who MAY vote on the basis of impeachment. There is every reason to believe that this represents a small minority of the American electorate.
Of these, there are voters who will be more likely to vote for Trump if he is impeached. We’ll call these voters the OLD FOOLS.
There are also new voters who will be more likely to vote for Trump if he is impeached, as opposed to not voting at all. We’ll call these voters the NEW FOOLS.
Contrast these with voters who will be more likely to vote against Trump if he is impeached. We’ll call these voters the OLD TOOLS.
There are also new voters who will be more likely to vote against Trump if he is impeached. We’ll call these voters the NEW TOOLS.
Rejecting impeachment as a political calculus means that you believe there are likely to be more FOOLS than TOOLS.
Rejecting impeachment also means that you believe that the numerical difference between the FOOLS and the TOOLS is large enough to swing the election.
Finally, rejecting impeachment implies that you’d rather have non-voters than NEW FOOLS, which is fundamentally undemocratic and indefensible.
By now it should be obvious that this political calculus is utter nonsense. First of all, it’s quite clear that Congress and the media believe that there are FOOLS and TOOLS, both OLD and NEW. Perhaps this is true, but I see no reason to believe that the FOOLS outnumber the TOOLS, and in any event I know for a fact that in a democratic society, the vast majority of the American electorate, who are neither, are far more important as a matter of responsible governance.
The point is that the gravity and seriousness of impeaching the President of the United States should not be a matter of political calculus, and especially not when the crimes on display are so vast and egregious. Yes, impeachment is a political process, but that is only because the party system in the United States—a system which was NOT contemplated by the founding fathers—has managed to strip our elected representatives of their conscience and their ability to rise above parochial interests and govern on behalf of the entire nation. Witness Mitch McConnell, and Devin Nunes, and Lindsay Graham, and Steve King, and any number of other chowderheads who by virtue of their public behavior are undeserving to hold public office of any kind. The citizens of this nation must expect and require more than this, and there is no better forum for such a demand than impeachment. It's more—far more—than a statement about where we are. It's a statement about who we wish to be.
Nancy Pelosi, for her part, is slow-rolling the impeachment process. I don’t disagree with the approach in principle, so long as we get there. But this president* MUST be impeached forthwith, for reasons which are now so obvious, and so voluminous, that it requires a level of moronic impenetrability worthy of a swastika-tatted red-state skinhead to disregard them. We are either a nation of laws, or we are not. It’s really that simple. This president is a criminal, and a stupid criminal at that, and everyone with a working brain knows it.
Impeachment isn’t just about charging and convicting a half-wit man-child with no impulse control and a sixth-grade vocabulary, it’s about recovering and restoring some dignity to the office. It’s about punishing the neofacsists who have tolerated, supported, and promulgated his ignorance in service to party power, and in opposition to long-established democratic norms and ideals. It’s about doing what is necessary, and what is right, and what is unavoidable if we are to once again become an honorable people, free of the yoke of demagogery. It’s about leadership, and integrity, and courage, and conscience. That’s it.
If Donald Trump is reelected for any reason, regardless of impeachment, then it is entirely fair to state that the United States of our youth—the fabled land of our dreams and aspirations—has ceased to exist, and the time has come to make other arrangements.
Screw the political calculus. Take a stand. Do what's right.