Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Jeet Heer of The New Republic thinks it might be time for Democrats to show congressional Republicans no mercy -- or, well, maybe some mercy, in fact, quite a bit of mercy, just not the usual mercy overabundance:
Should [Democrats] make the Republican Party, especially its leadership in Congress, complicit in Trump’s ever-widening Russia scandal?
Excellent question! For the love of God, yes, they should!

No, wait -- I'm taking this out of context. Heer believes Democrats can't possibly just leap in and do this:
... if the path toward impeachment is becoming easier to imagine, there still remain formidable political hurdles to such an outcome because of the Republican Party’s grip on the legislative branch. The revelations about Donald Jr. may force Democrats to answer a question they have long avoided: Should they make the Republican Party, especially its leadership in Congress, complicit in Trump’s ever-widening Russia scandal?

The Democrats, as the minority party, need the Republicans’ help in investigating Trump and keeping him in check. Taking down Trump would require even more, and unrealistic, cooperation. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House of Representatives, after which two-thirds of the Senate must vote him guilty. So let’s assume that won’t happen before next fall’s midterm elections. Even if the Democrats won the House of Representatives, which is by no means a sure thing, they are unlikely to accomplish the same in the Senate, where the 2018 map heavily favors Republicans. So Senate Democrats would still need to secure roughly 20 Republican votes for a guilty verdict.

On the other hand, the Democrats could choose not to work with the Republicans on removing Trump, and instead tarnish the party for enabling the president. The Russia scandal implicates not just Trump but the GOP itself, which has been guilty of aiding and abetting the president by undermining the Russia investigation and offering post-facto justifications.
So, okay, let's be typical Democrats. Let's weigh everything and dither. Should we make nice with the GOP and hope they make nice in return and help us impeach their president? Or should we give up on making nice and just hang their terrible president around their necks?

It seems to me that if the parties were reversed -- if Democrats had an incompetent, corrupt, ignorant, unqualified, TV-addicted president with an inner circle full of equally unfit advisers, many of whom gave aid and comfort to an enemy government that subverted our electoral system, Republicans would be hammering Democratic members of Congress relentlessly for sharing a party with the corrupt administration and loudly impugning the patriotism of any Democrats who refused to help impeach their own president.

But Heer isn't ready to propose that Democrats act that way -- heaven knows we don't want to be rash, do we? Instead, he writes this:
Trump Jr.’s highly damaging emails have handed Democrats the leverage they’ve long sought in the Russia scandal. They should take advantage of it by making a final offer to the Republicans to abandon their support for Trump, or suffer the consequences. If the GOP steps up their investigation, they might damage their short-term political prospects—assuming they can pass any major legislation, which is not a given. But they’ll be acting in their own long-term interest, by distancing themselves from an increasingly unpopular president, and they’ll finally be doing the right thing to preserve what’s left of America’s democratic norms. But if the Republicans continue to drag their feet, then they must be treated no better than Trump’s other unsavory accomplices, and suffer the electoral consequences.
We're giving you one last chance! We're going after you -- unless you stop obstructing justice quite as much, in which case we'll take a dive in the midterms the way we usually do! C'mon, guys -- we're asking you nicely!

Please. Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they place party over country. And it's long past time for Democrats to start nationalizing midterm elections, something Republicans do every cycle.

The only reason Democrats should hesitate to link congressional Republicans to Trump is that in many districts that's considered a positive attribute, given the number of Fox-addled GOP voters. But if Trump's standing erodes further -- or if linking these clowns to Trump drives non-Republican voter turnout -- then give them what they've got coming.

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