Monday, November 20, 2017


Tom Steyer is throwing good money after bad:
Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and Democratic mega donor, said he’s heading to the heart of New York City for the next step of his $20 million ad campaign urging the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

“We’re putting a couple of large billboards in Times Square calling for the impeachment of the president,” Steyer said Monday in an interview. “We legitimately feel that this is the huge issue in front of the American people that no one is standing up for what the overwhelming number of Americans think.”
It pains me that Donald Trump is president, and he certainly deserves impeachment and removal from office. But it's not true that impeachment is what "the overwhelming number of Americans" want. In the poll showing the greatest support for impeachment, an October Public Policy Polling survey, 49% of respondents favored it, while 41% opposed it. That's a plurality, but not a majority, and certainly not an "overwhelming" majority. In an August Harvard/Harris poll, 43% of respondents favored impeachment, while 42% backed no action and 12% backed censure. Also in August, the Public Religion Research Institute found 40% support for impeachment.

So Congress isn't failing to do what the public wants. It's failing to do what not quite half of the public wants. More to the point, it's failing to do what Tom Steyer wants. Steyer is another billionaire who's so used to getting his way on everything that he thinks it's a monstrous injustice when he's rebuffed. He's just like a Koch brother, except on the side of good. I'm sorry he's being rebuffed, but if he were a non-billionaire, he might have a better understanding of disappointment.

Trump won't be impeached as long as there's a Republican House, and he can't be convicted in the Senate unless 67 senators vote to convict. Currently, there are 46 Democratic senators and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. So unless you can name 19 Republican senators who'd vote to convict, why are we even having this conversation now?

I'm not the first person to say this, but $20 million could be put to much better use supporting Democratic candidates and funding voter registration drives and turnout efforts. Every dime devoted to this crusade could be better spent.

And Times Square? Really? I arrived in New York City as a college freshman in 1976, and even by then Times Square had long since ceased to be the symbolic center of America. It gets attention on New Year's Eve, but it's meaningless every other day of the year. It's become a crowded pedestrian mall, and I'm sure I'd visit if I were an out-of-towner on vacation (although no local thinks there's any good reason to go there). It's not America's agora. It's a ridiculous tourist trap. Steyer's ads will be one more bit of sensory overload families from Iowa will see fleetingly on their way to The Lion King.

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