The lack of the Democrats ability to focus on a process and actuate the correct mechanism to gain removal of President Trump, and the ingenuous attitude of the Republicans to the serious matter, disturb the political environment. Were these elected representatives to the United States government, members of a congress dedicated to protecting the interests of the American people, which performed an impeachment process that ended in strengthening the impeached president and weakening the conventional candidates of the Democratic Party?
The Democrat case was not a slam-dunk, but it had merit, and with better attention could have succeeded. That attention included convincing sufficient members of the US Senate, which has a Republican majority, that the evidence proved the legitimacy of the impeachment of US President Donald Trump. Instead of demonstrating the constitutionality of the impeachment and addressing all members of the Senate with dignity, the Democrats turned the trial into a “We” versus “Them” issue – a sure loser. Republicans were addressed as “they,” or as “the other” in an insulting and disparaging manner, and not addressed as “maybe some of our esteemed Senators are not convinced.” The Dems turned their conversation to the citizens of the country, as if the public determined the outcome of the trial and not to those Senators who needed the facts as facts. Every time Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer reviewed the day, he castigated Republicans with invectives ─ polarization at its worst and an admission that the evidence cannot cross Party bounds – how inept!
During the impeachment hearings, Constitutional scholar Pamela Karlan of Stanford University, presented her testimony in a partial and undignified manner, filled with rage and scorn against President Trump. She even had the audacity to say, “While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.” Michael Gerhardt a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, acted the same, with his obviously prejudicial remark that “If Congress fails to impeach, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning,”
Republicans performed equally bad. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s’ uncomfortable remark that he is working in “total coordination” with the White House about President Donald Trump’s upcoming trial in January,” sounded like collusion.
The choice of Alan Dershowitz as part of Trumps’ legal team, a lawyer associated with the defense of controversial and deemed guilty subjects, including boxer Mike Tyson, convicted of rape; Patty Hearst, convicted of association with crimes committed by the Symbiotic Liberation Army; evangelist Jim Bakker, convicted of fraud and sexual misconduct charges; successful appeal of Claus von Bülow’s 1982 conviction for the attempted murder of his wife; and O. J. Simpson’s not guilty verdict in the murder trial of his wife, suggested that Dershowitz had been again solicited to defend a controversial and deemed guilty subject. In true form, Dershowitz, who is known for outrageous political and legal commentaries, tried to outdo Rudy Giuliani in harming the President Trump’s reputation. His argument that a president could engage in a quid pro quo for personal political benefit, as long as the president believes his or her re-election is in the public interest, received ridicule. Abundant scenarios can be created to show the inanity of the argument; an obvious example has the commander-in-chief refusing assistance to a stricken area, such as in the New Orleans flood, unless the state’s governor supports his/her in the next election. Would not that chief executive be impeached, if not lynched? Dershowitz cited Abraham Lincoln requesting Union troops be moved to an area so they could vote for him, for which he was not impeached, as an agreement to his remark. Is this constitutional thinking? Few probably knew of the arrangement, and if it were not during a Civil War, maybe Lincoln would have been impeached.
White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin said that statements from former National Security advisor, John Bolton, are not admissible evidence because they are only written, which means if sworn under oath, Bolton will prove Trump is guilty. This attitude is similar to a defense lawyer asking the judge to disallow testimony from someone who can prove a client guilty.
Senator Lamar Alexander waited until the house managers had exhausted the deliberations to say that the impeachment process had already proved Trump’s quid pro quo, and this was not sufficient to remove him from office. Why didn’t Alexander expose his views earlier and give the hearings time to respond to his supposition, and why didn’t the Democrats know his views earlier and provide a solution to refute Alexander’s claim?
Most problematic is why, knowing that the Republican Senate would never allow a conviction for high crimes and misdemeanors, did the democrats pursue the trial? What prosecutor brings to trial a case that cannot be won? The charges against President Trump could have benefitted the Democratic nominee in the next presidential election; instead, they are nullified, maybe even favoring Trump. Follow Dershowitz’s “constitutional” opinions, and President Donald Trump can do whatever he wants in the in the year before the next president takes office.
Congress’ inept and polarized behavior in the impeachment trial reflected the behavior of past Congresses and the political Parties, and showed what contributed to Trump’s election – a polarized government that offends the public. Once again, the congress and their political Parties have alienated the electorate from the conventional candidates and paved the path for the election of the maverick Donald Trump. The Dems hope is to also nominate a maverick, which leaves out Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg. Buttigieg is too young and inexperienced to be considered a political insider, but his agenda is not that of a unique maverick. This leaves considers Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, financier turned philanthropist Tom Steyer, and businessman Andrew Yang.
Sanders does not have support from centrist Democrats, who might stay home; Gabbard has no support from centrist Democrats who will definitely stay home, and Yang has no definite support. That leaves Warren, who is suffering from hypocrisy, and Steyer, who comes off as the most realistic progressive, the cleanest, and the candidate who shows support from almost all Democrats, progressive Independents, and moderate Republicans.
The Dems election possibility can go higher and higher by choosing philanthropist, Tom Steyer.
Dan Lieberman edits Alternative Insight, a commentary on foreign policy, economics, and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America, a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name). Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org