Impeachment Indicts Both Parties And Clarifies Our Tasks In 2020

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The Democratic Party’s electoral strategy of impeaching Donald Trump is backfiring. Before impeachment, Trump was losing to each of the leading Democrats, but the latest USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds for the first time Trump defeating all of the leading Democratic candidates. Gallup reports that Trump’s approval has risen by six points since the launch of the impeachment inquiry. A CNN poll found that support for impeachment fell by five percent over the past month.

Rather than focus on issues that impact people’s lives — like racism and bigotry, the unfair economy that results in low wages, growing inequality, major corporations and the wealthy not paying taxes, as well as expensive and inadequate healthcare coverage — Democrats are focusing on the issue of withholding military aid to Ukraine for a proxy war against Russia when voters are tired of never-ending wars.

The Democrats, while trying to wrap themselves in the Constitution, are using impeachment as a partisan election-year tool to defeat Trump in 2020. It is failing and is confusing people on the Left. As Ajamu Baraka clarifies:

Political Stunt Could Erupt in Dangerous Ways

The Democrats are not focusing on what makes Trump unpopular, his open racism and sexism, his anti-environment and climate denialism policies, and his antipathy for whistleblowers and constant false statements. In fact, Representative Al Green introduced resolutions for impeachment that focused on these issues in 2017 and they were voted down by the House.

Raising Ukraine reminds people that Obama-Biden conducted an open coup there that brought more corruption to that country. Trump demanded an investigation of Joe Biden for interfering with an investigation of the appointment of his son Hunter to a well-paid board seat on Ukraine’s largest gas company — a job for which he lacked expertise. Ukraine-gate reminds people of Democratic Party corruption and their unpopular interventionist foreign policy.

Both the Democrats and Republicans have a long history of corrupt activities from the statehouses to the White House. Unfortunately, many of these activities are done with the cover of domestic law. Governments have a responsibility to ensure that basic needs are met and provide security, but in the United States, the government is a wealth-building tool for the already rich. And the security state is designed to protect the elites from the people. This is causing real hardship for most people in their everyday lives. Impeachment, as it is being conducted, will not improve things and may actually make them worse.

As Chris Hedges wrote in September, impeachment will not restore the rule of law or bring democracy but it will allow President Trump to raise the outrage of his base, which is armed, and potentially increase right-wing violence. This may already be happening in Tazewell County in Southwestern Virginia, where 82% voted for Trump in 2016. They recently deemed themselves a second amendment sanctuary county and passed a resolution asserting their right to form a militia.

To quote Hedges:

Economic, social and political stagnation, coupled with a belief that our expectations for our lives and the lives of our children have been thwarted, breeds violence. Trump, fighting for his political life, will use rhetorical gasoline to set it alight. He will demonize his opponents as the embodiment of evil. He will seek to widen the divisions and antagonisms, especially around race. He will brand his political opponents as irredeemable enemies and traitors.”

The Democrat’s election-year stunt is also sucking time and activist energy away from working for solutions to the many crises we are facing. In this way, it is fueling insecurity and anger that could erupt in dangerous ways.

Protest at the DNC, Democratic Party Betrayal by John Zangas of the DC Media Group

Democrats Work Against The People’s Interests While Impeaching Trump

Throughout the impeachment process, Democrats lost opportunities to work for people and the planet and differentiate themselves from Trump. They demonstrated their complicity with policies that benefit the elites.

In 2016, Trump campaigned against corporate trade that sent jobs overseas and kept wages low in the US to win key Midwestern states. He railed on NAFTA, which hollowed out Rustbelt communities. During impeachment, the Democrats had the opportunity to show Trump does not represent the people but instead represents big business interests. NAFTA II, which Trump re-named the US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a replay of NAFTA. It continues the tradition of corporate trade agreements while shuffling which industries profit from it. Instead of pointing out Trump’s failure, the Democrats signed off on his agreement after some modest amendments. This bi-partisan approval was a victory for Trump and a defeat for those who want corporate trade remade for people and the planet.

Trump also campaigned against never-ending wars and foreign interventions. While focusing on impeachment Democrats failed to point out Trump is doing the opposite of what he promised. On December 12, 188 Democrats joined him and on December 17, 37 Democrats voted for the funding in the Senate when it passed the largest military budget since World War II, $738 billion for the Pentagon. Trump signed it before flying off to his Mar-a-lago resort for the holidays. The corrupt leadership of both parties is shown in the Afghan Papers that expose the fraud of the 19-year failed trillion-dollar war for which the military had no strategy, was incompetent and knew was unwinnable.

The Democrats provided funding for a new branch of the military, the Space Force, which will lead to the greatest arms race in the history of the planet. The military budget continued the trillion-dollar upgrade of nuclear weapons begun under Obama spurring a nuclear arms race when we should be banning nuclear weapons. The Democrats could have pointed to massive spending on an arms race when the US is already spending more than the next 10 countries in the world combined — all at a time of crumbling infrastructure, the need for a rapid transition to a clean energy economy and urgent needs for housing, healthcare, and more. This followed shortly after changes in the rules on food stamps that will create food insecurity for up to 700,000 more people.

Pelosi called for impeachment at the same time as Trump’s embarrassing trip to the 70th anniversary NATO meeting. At the meeting, Trump was mocked by world leaders including French Prime Minister Macron who called NATO ‘brain dead’ because of Trump’s poor leadership. NATO should be ended as it is a force for the expansion of wars and wasteful spending on militarism but Democrats were silent on that reality.

During impeachment, regime change continued causing suffering in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. The economic war against Venezuela escalated with continued efforts to put in place the failing puppet Guaido. Bolivia is suffering from US-supported regime change. US-funded protests in Hong Kong and false reports on the Muslim Uyghurs are escalating conflict with China. And, the US continues its efforts to topple the Iranian government with extreme sanctions and manipulation of protests in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Finally, during impeachment, the UN climate meeting, COP 25, was held. While Trump has committed climate crimes, the Democrats are also guilty of such crimes. The United States has played a negative role throughout this history of the COP meetings. This continued at the Spain meetings where despite the US withdrawing from the Paris agreement, it continued to play a negative role.

Screenshot of final impeachment vote on Article I from MSNBC.

The Popular Movement and Impeachment

There is no “progressive” side to the impeachment battle between the millionaire’s parties. On one side, Donald Trump was using his office to investigate a political opponent. On the other side, the Democrats are protecting the corruption of Joe Biden and using impeachment as an election tool. The reality is past presidents could have been impeached for numerous violations of law including serious war crimes, illegal wars, illegal unilateral coercive measures (sanctions), selling their office for donations to their billion-dollar campaigns and crimes against the environment that risk our future by not only ignoring climate change but making it worse. 

Impeachment may define the 2020 election. It is a perfect distraction to keep people from fighting for what we need. In 2020 the necessities of the people and protection of the planet will be silenced. Voters will be told to make no demands because we need to remove Trump and to unite around another corporatist Democratic presidential candidate.

The Democratic leadership and the corporate media are struggling to prevent the nomination of Senators Sanders or Warren because they oppose their progressive agenda. The media is not covering Howie Hawkins, a Green candidate who has put forward the most progressive agenda built around an Ecosocialist Green New Deal and economic equality.

We need to focus on issues in 2020 and fight for a People’s Agenda. Due to the misleadership of the corporate duopoly, the nation and planet are facing multiple crisis situations. Our job in 2020 is to focus on those issues, not on a candidate or on impeachment. We need to build popular support for confronting the climate crisis and changing laws and policies to shrink inequality and end systemic racism and militarism.

To win the People’s Agenda, we need a strong and organized Left in the United States. This requires political education so people understand what is happening around them and the role of government in it. It also requires building participatory democratic structures in our communities. We spoke with Leo Panitch about this in our latest episode of Clearing the FOG: “Corbyn’s Loss: What it means for Sanders and where the Left goes from here,” which you can hear or read the transcript.

When it comes to elections, the mirage democracy of the United States has very little room for the people in manipulated elections that create an illusion of democracy. We must build electoral structures that organize the people’s movements inside the electoral system. For us, this means building an effective independent left party outside of the corporate duopoly.

Impeachment is a partisan exercise. The Democrats had their partisan vote when they impeached Trump in the House. Pelosi is now preventing the Senate from its inevitable acquittal of Trump. No matter how impeachment turns out, it will not make a difference in advancing the people’s agenda. It is our job to focus on building the movement for enacting an agenda for people and planet, something both millionaire parties will fight to stop.

  • ThisOldMan

    I can’t quite agree altogether with this article, much as I love its authors. True, the wrong people are doing it and not for the best reasons, but the fact remains that Congress has a duty to impeach Trump just for what he tried to do in Ukraine. I for one am not about to gainsay that just because Congress has fucked up on so much else, even if it is the political disaster this article says it is (which I think is still open to debate, at least for now). Color me deluded, but I hate Trump and his ilk so much that I would actually be relieved to see Joe Biden win (although there’s no way I would ever vote for him, unless perhaps I lived in a swing state, which I don’t). Perhaps (probably) we are doomed anyway if that happens, but it would be some cold comfort to know we did at least a little better than the very worst we could possibly do. Wouldn’t it? Sigh …

  • billothinks

    “Color me deluded” Your words, not mine.

  • rgaura

    By international treaty, the president is required to cooperate with money laundering investigations with Ukraine. The issue is 7 Billion allegedly laundered by Burisima, illegal payments (under Ukranian law) to Hunter Biden, and others, and 3 Billion in USAID that was signed off by Sen Biden, and signed off by a Ukranian who had no governmental authority to receive said taxpayer dollars. This money was apparently stolen, laundered, and possibly used to buy weapons of mass destruction which were then smuggled to jihadis in Syria. The president has the right and responsibility to request investigation.
    We are watching 2 mafias battling for narrative control to protect their criminal behaviors. My response was to donate monthly to the Green Party candidate. When 2 bad options are presented, we must make a better, moral option.

  • jwreitter

    This article is exactly right. This is why I was against impeachment: It will not work unless it is bipartisan and focused on the real issues that matter to workers, students and seniors. Trump is already benefiting from it with increased popularity and fundraising. People are against the corrupt establishment and status quo because they are becoming more poor and deeper in debt every year, regardless of how hard and how long they work. People are angry because of Trump’s racism, lies and pollution. Not because of Ukraine.

  • ANTONIO

    WE NEED A NEW CONSTITUTION. Compare this old rag to modern Constitutions (I’m familiar with the Venezuelan) and it is a sad out of date affair. It only stands to reason- the Constitution was written when capitalism had defeated the monarchies, and the capitalist class was on the upswing. Those days are over, and the legal system we need to govern ourselves by must reflect a completely new scenario.

  • kevinzeese

    I’m not sure what your Venezuela comment means, but they have an excellent modern constitution that the US could learn from. Indeed, the US could learn a lot about democracy if it looked at Venezuela honestly and stopped the lie that Maduro is a tyrant and dictator.

  • chetdude

    They could have fulfilled their “duty” by passing Tulsi Gabbard’s censure resolution.

    But the other millionaire wing, the Democrats made the possibly fatal decision to “impeach” instead as part of their electoral ‘strategy’ for 2020…proving they didn’t learn a goddamn thing from 2016…

  • Werner Rhein

    It is in Canada the same, the Democrats depend with everything they do on a flawed, supremacist, colonial, commercial, capitalist document called the Constitution.
    The best example is the NDP government in BC where the oil and gas industry is ruling and green renewable energy is denied.

  • voza0db

    Just another good way for the scoundrels that work at the DNC & GOP LLC to entertain the Herd!

    And it seems that the Herd enjoys the show…

  • voza0db

    Hello… The FUN part is that this happens all around the world, since this sub-system (Democracy) depends on the Rules and Regulations of the Main System.

  • voza0db

    Old Man just Relax… The Jester in Office will always do what the OWNERS want and not what modern dumb voting slaves want, doesn’t matter the name of the Jester!

  • Russell J. Marcy

    I agree with This Old man IMPEACH!

  • Patrick_Walker

    Presumably, the Constitutional impeachment provision exists to protect the nation against dangerously irresponsible rulers, whether their insanely dangerous policies are statutory crimes or not. This point is CRUCIAL, and it protects us from silly, irrelevant legalism when national EMERGENCY is at stake.

    No policy by ANY U.S. president has ever been as dangerous as Trump’s ECOCIDAL climate policy amidst a climate emergency–effectively throwing gasoline on a raging climate fire. Democrats not impeaching Trump for THAT sets the worst imaginable precedent–even worse than not impeaching Dubya Bush for his war crimes. That’s a FAR graver matter than anything Trump allegedly did as regards the Ukraine.

    Just try a thought experiment: What if Trump based his national health policy on denying the germ theory of disease? Would anyone even be thinking of impeaching him for anything else? Big Pharma, as well as the whole medical profession, would be demanding Trump’s head over it. The climate science Trump is aggressively overriding is now as solid as the germ theory of disease. Only the power of the fossil fuel industry, as well as massive public disinformation campaigns by the likes of the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and Republican pols has made us doubt the word of climate science. But Trump’s climate denial–aggressively put into policy–is perhaps even more dangerous to our nation and planet than if he’d based health policy on denying the germ theory of disease. If such dangerous, self-serving lunacy isn’t impeachable, the Constitution’s impeachment provision is just plain nonsense–and POWERLESS to protect us from criminally insane tyrants.

  • Jon

    Impeachment is a good idea, and needed to rein in this megalomaniac, but the Dems failed miserably to raise the most important issues: the consistent lying, a gross violation of emoluments, which is staring us in the face form the Constitution, and blatant disregard for another Constitutional requirement, “Promote the general welfare.” Think of a healthy environment as necessary for “general welfare.”

  • Jon

    Kevin, the way I read his comment is that the reference to “out of date” refers to the US Constitution. Try reading it in that context.

  • Jon

    Agreed, See my new comment above.

  • Jon

    Bingo! Precisely put. Another way is asking, Would you rather be shot or poisoned? “We are watching 2 mafias battling for narrative control to protect their criminal behaviors.”

  • kevinzeese

    If the Dems emoluments, the Repubs will point out Dem corruption, e.g. insider stock trading which makes congressional investments grow ten times as fast as the rest of us, jobs and board seats for family members – Hunter Biden is one of many, high paying corporate jobs when they leave office. Dems are complicit in the worst of Trump’s policies. The Ukraine impeachment is not resonating. This is a failed impeachment.

  • Jon

    Not disagreeing with the complicity, but merely that there are sound grounds for impeachment OTHER than the Ukraine debacle, in which both Bidens are complicit anyway. We agree that the Dems have failed miserably; you just pointed out WHY.

  • Patrick_Walker

    Kevin, totally agree with you (and Jon) that this is a failed (and self-serving Dem establishment) impeachment, but I insist that Trump’s aggressive war on climate–amidst a internationally acknowledged climate emergency–“trumps” all other conceivable grounds for impeachment. Trump is BASING POLICY on denying science as well established as the germ theory of disease, and it’s pretty damn clear how quickly he’d be impeached if he based policy on denying the germ theory of disease. If the fossil fuel industry and its think tank and media minions hadn’t corrupted public discourse–and the pro-fracking Democratic Party leadership–it would be OBVIOUS to everyone that Trump should be impeached first and foremost for his ECOCIDAL climate policy: genocide on a scale that would make Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot ENVIOUS.

  • Alan MacDonald

    Yes, Kevin and Margaret, “Impeachment (Indeed) Indicts Both Parties” but it unfortunately doesn’t “Clarify Our Tasks In 2020” — because our hardest task in 2020 is to understand and allow Bernie, AOC, et. al. to, by ‘exposing’ Emperor Trump as an Emperor (which he clearly is), and by ‘exposing’ this damned Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire as the last Empire on earth — will allow Bernie and all serious and principled progressives to turn the ‘dollar-drenched’, entrenched, and currently corrupt DNC’s Democratic Party into a new Second American people’s peaceful and complete “Political/economic & social(ist) Revolution Against EMPIRE” and true new ‘democracy party’ of, by, and for the people.

    All the ‘Woke’ American; younger, younger-thinking, and inclusive people need to do when Bernie gives the signal the fire a; loud, public, sustained, ‘in-the-streets’, but totally Non-violent “Shout (NOT Shot) heard round the world” is to support Bernie and the new true “democracy party” which will replace both of these dual-party Vichy-facades of faux-Republic and faux-Democracy, in the following manner which I just wrote to the NYT regarding Bret Steven’s column, and why ‘we the American people’ are going past both the “rougher-talking” neocon ‘R’ Vichy Party of the Empire, as well as the “smoother-lying” neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy Party of the exact same Disguised Global Crony Capitalist EMPIRE:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/26/opinion/trump-2020.html#commentsContainer&permid=104317372:104317372