A newspaper in Pennsylvania has come up with possibly the most insulting rationale to endorse a Republican candidate over a Democrat imaginable: A Democratic House will impeach Trump and that's just bad for America for...reasons:
“If Mr. Lamb, 33, wins, it could well be the start of a Democratic wave,” the editorial read. “The prospect of a Democratic House may please partisans, but it might be bad for the country. The Democrats in the House have only one agenda item at the moment, and it isn’t health care or jobs. It is impeachment. Regardless of whether one likes this president or his policies, one must ask what the consequence for the country will be if we dive into so great a distraction.”
That is astonishing and requires an equally astonishing amount of willful blindness to take seriously. Trump is the single most corrupt and dangerously unfit president in American history but impeachment should be off the table because...why, exactly? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not say but we can make a few educated guesses:
- It will bring the government to a virtual standstill - So what? Republicans did that for 8 years as part of their plan to destroy Obama. There is little to no chance the Editorial Board would have shed a tear if Hillary Clinton had won and Republicans had continued to do the same.
- It undermines the people's faith in government - This is true. The almost-impeachment of Richard Nixon shook the country and made it much more cynical. On the other hand, Trump, Republicans, Fox News, AM Hate Radio, and right wing hate sites have been trying to shred the fabric of our democracy by attacking the basic premise of government for decades. Impeachment pales in comparison and might even restore some of that lost faith with the legitimate removal of an illegitimate president.
- It will enrage the right - Big deal. So does everything else. The right has been promising to become domestic terrorists if they don't get their way for years. America does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when they're white, Christian, and homegrown.
But what this really comes down to is whether or not you believe the rule of law still matters in America. Yes, the Democrats refused to impeach Bill Clinton for lying to Congress over a blow job because at the end of the day, the lie was about a blow job that was none of Congress' business in the first place. For context, the same people who were morally outraged about Bill's affairs are Trump's biggest boosters.
On the other hand, Trump has clearly violated the law repeatedly and not in small ways. His financial conflicts of interest are beyond anything seen in American history and the self-dealing alone is enough to remove him from office. The nepotism, the security breaches, the corruption, the cover ups, all would be more than enough to warrant impeachment separately. Together, they compel it. And that's not even including the sprawling Russia investigation which promises to reveal literal, not figurative, literal treason. A president that takes orders from Russia, due to bribes or blackmail, is a threat that must be removed, regardless of whatever "consequences" the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette frets about.
That they feel acknowledging the cancer that is Trump would be a "distraction" says far more about how little the Post-Gazette respect the rule of law (presumably only when a Republican is president) than it says about the vital role impeachment plays in our democracy.
Democratic candidate Conor Lamb may or may not win Tuesday's special election, although considering how poorly Republicans have been doing in special elections since Trump's illegitimate victory, I'm leaning towards Lamb. Republicans think so, too, which is why they've poured in over $9 million and outspent Lamb 17 to 1 just to keep the race almost tied (Lamb is still ahead by 4 points). But even if he loses, that's not going to slow down the momentum of the wave coming to wash the GOP out of power in November. And even if it did dampen enthusiasm a bit, Trump will simply do or say something cruel and horrible to enrage the Democratic base in a day or two anyway.
In the meantime, we have to remember that none of this is normal. That what the Post-Gazette would have us ignore is an existential threat to our democracy. This has nothing to do with "whether one likes this president or his policies" but whether one believe that our leaders should be held accountable to the same laws that we are and that past presidents have been. Republicans once threatened to impeach their own president over obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal. Today, they openly help Trump undermine the FBI to shield him from answering for crimes infinitely worse. The Post-Gazette says confronting this is a "distraction" that may hurt the country. We say ignoring it because it's easier than holding power accountable will be the death of the rule of law in America.
The Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette should be ashamed of itself for being so cowardly and putting party before country.