Will impeachment stop Trump’s war…on us?
Two presidents: one awaiting impeachment, one who resigned to escape impeachment. Presidents Donald Trump and Richard Nixon. | Photos: AP / Illustration: PW

Will congressional impeachment of President Donald Trump, even if the cowed and cowardly GOP Senate majority doesn’t convict him, stop his war…on all of us?

At the very least, doing so could throw a big monkey wrench into Trump’s ravages.

There has been a long and justified argument over whether the president committed impeachable offenses in his schemes to derail or destroy the investigations of his cooperation with the Russians’ successful 2016 election manipulation.

It’s now been succeeded by comprehensive coverage of both Democratic dithering about impeaching Trump —which appears to be receding—and Republicans acting like lemmings following their leader over a cliff.

But both the impeachment debates and the latest developments have let Trump successfully cover up his war on everyone but the rich, not just in policies but in putting personnel, particularly judges, in place to sustain and expand his pro-corporate, racist, and imperial agenda far into the future.

After all, as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told the large pro-reproductive rights crowd in D.C. on May 21, Trump tells the Senate to “give me judges who’ll repeal” Roe v. Wade.

And Trump’s judges, whom Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., is elated to approve, won’t just repeal reproductive rights. They’ll repeal anything else the radical right doesn’t like.

And those judges will also uphold Trump’s repeals of other rights, freedoms, and programs important to workers and to the country.

Trump’s war on women and reproductive rights has been obvious from Day One. “These are unethical and unjust attacks on women’s health and rights,” says Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and president of Planned Parenthood.

But Trump’s other actions have by and large flown under the radar. Here’s just a sample:

  • Trump opposes raising the minimum wage. His Labor Department has stripped job safety and health protections from workers, dumped a plan to make more workers eligible for overtime pay, and even tried to let bosses grab restaurant servers’ tips. Congress put a stop to the tip robbery, but most other Trump actions snuck through.
  • Trump thoroughly decimated environmental protections, not just by repealing Obama-era carbon control and clean air plans, but by dismantling the EPA and its enforcement.
  • Trump militarily intervened on the side of a murderous Saudi monarchy in Yemen’s civil war. Congress tried to stop him, but Trump vetoed it. And he and followers corral so many Senate Republicans that there weren’t enough votes to override the veto. The war goes on, with Trump on the Saudis’ side. Meanwhile, Trump schemes to invade Iran and/or Venezuela.
  • Trump’s tax cut for the rich keeps yielding ever more penalties on the rest of us. Besides leaving major corporations with no federal tax liability at all, it also raised taxes on anyone living in a “blue state.”
  • And, to top it off, Trump’s tax cut repealed the Affordable Care Act’s small penalty against people who don’t get health insurance through their employers or through ACA’s exchanges.
  • Trump’s Justice Department promptly seized on that repeal to tell a federal appeals court in New Orleans that the entire ACA is unconstitutional. If the ACA goes, millions of people would be left without health care, or thrown on the “mercy”—or lack of it—of corporate insurance companies and big pharma.
  • Trump’s federal agents not only rip little kids from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also violates the internationally guaranteed right of political asylum in doing so. The U.S. agreed to that right a long time ago.
  • Now Trump’s gone one step further in his targeting of Latinos, decreeing that if a family living in public housing has even one undocumented member, the whole family gets tossed out onto the street. Some 25,000 families, at least, could be homeless.
  • Trump’s prejudice against LGBTQ people appeared in his edicts to ban transgender individuals from the military. The Defense Department resisted, but the courts have given green lights. Now, he’s extended the ban to transgender people living in public housing and, on May 23, to receiving health care under the ACA.
  • Trump’s fervent championing of Nazis and white nationalists has unleashed a record storm of hate crimes nationwide, against Muslims (a mosque burned in Wisconsin), against Jews (the Pittsburgh synagogue slaughter), and against anyone who’s “different.”

But all of those Trump actions have more or less flown under the radar, except in People’s World and a few other pro-labor publications, like the Press Associates Union News Service.

Most progressives, including Democrats, agree that Trump has committed more than enough impeachable offenses. Many of them worry, however, that the political calculus for impeachment is not yet right. When we consider the horrors of Trump’s agenda, however, and the fact that impeachment could slow down that agenda, the arguments for it grow stronger.

Anything that slows down Trump’s ability to push his attack on workers, and anything that slows down the Senate’s ability to continue stacking the courts who are legislating that agenda into existence with their rulings, is more than worthwhile. Impeachment, then, is both a fight to preserve constitutional democracy and a powerful weapon against the implementation of the entire right-wing agenda.

When bad people are in power, getting them to do nothing is sometimes a good thing. As the late Rep. Hamilton Fish, Jr., R-N.Y., who helped impeach Richard Nixon in 1974, once said, “The most important thing we often do up here” on Capitol Hill “is to do nothing.” Because doing “something” often made conditions worse, Fish added.

Impeachment could easily apply that conclusion to Trump.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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