Conservative presidential candidate Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) is making an important point about impeachment. Sanford’s fear is that the impeachment of Donald J. Trump (R-New York) will become the only issue in American politics.
“It becomes the giant elephant in the room and all political discussion, if you will, stops,” Sanford said of impeachment on CNN’s New Day. In addition, Sanford thinks impeachment efforts will strengthen Trump’s position by causing Republicans to rally around the President.
“They circle the wagons that much harder and makes it that much more difficult to get your word out if you’re a challenger,” Sanford says of Republicans and impeachment.
How Impeachment Threatens Political Debate
I think Sanford is right, impeachment will stop the discussion of other issues. In addition, Republicans who could listen to Trump’s primary opponents will back the president they might hate.
Sanford also fears impeachment will distract the media from talking about what he calls a “fairly robust Democratic debate” over issues real people care about. I agree.
I think impeachment will turn off voters who want to hear candidates talk about income inequality, technological unemployment, China, Saudi Arabia, racism, poverty, education, healthcare, and other real issues. Those people will go to the news and only see and hear impeachment talk.
If the impeachers cannot find something real bad about Trump they can prove, they will drive many people away from the political process. For example, what is a single mother with no job and no health insurance supposed to think of impeachment? Removing Trump will not will help that woman and her children.
What does Flyover Man Really Think?
New York Times pundit supreme David Brooks makes a similar point in a fascinating column. The October 3, 2019 column is an imaginary conversation between Flyover Man (FM) and Urban Guy (UG).
Apparently, Urban Guy is a city liberal and Flyover Man a Trump supporter. To clarify, “Flyover” refers to regions of the country rich Americans “flyover” as they travel between New York and California.
Here’s a revealing excerpt:
FM: “One, mass immigration is changing my town, region and state. Two, the cultural liberalism you preach but don’t practice is leading to the breakdown of families up and down my block. Children out of wedlock. Young men with no dad when they’re young and no wife in their life when they’re grown. Third, an Ivy League elite running government; and the economy for itself, and shutting out those of us who actually make things with our hands. Fourth, China is replacing us.”
UG: “I’m happy to talk about these big problems.”
FM: “Like hell you are. The media fixates on scandals because they’re easier to talk about than complex issues like why urban and rural America are drifting further apart. You wasted billions of hours speculating about the Mueller report, and now news about Adam Schiff overshadows everything else while my world burns. Let’s face it: Bashing Trump is the media’s business model. That’s what drives eyeballs and profit.”
Interestingly, I think a conservation between a Bernie Bro from Ohio and a moderate New York Democrat could sound the same. Unfortunately, in Brooks’ fantasy world the only choices Flyover Man has are moderate Democrats like Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and Trump.
In the real Flyover Country; where I live, Flyover Man is just as likely to have a Bernie bumper sticker on his truck as a Trump sticker. How I wonder would Brooks, or his alter ego Urban Guy, respond to that Flyover Man?
Socialism is more popular than Trump
I think Brooks’ Flyover Man is right about one thing; we would not be having a healthy conversation about America’s big problems if there were no Donald J. Trump. If there were no Trump, I think the chattering classes would find another excuse not to discuss America’s problems.
Brook’s Flyover Man is a mindless Trump zombie. Trump himself; however, has little faith in Flyover Man’s loyalty.
Trump privately tells confidantes he thinks socialism will be hard to beat in 2020, Daily Beast White House reporter Asawin Suebsaeng claims. Interestingly, polls show socialism could be more popular than Trump among average Americans.
Therefore, Flyover Man could surprise elitists like David Brooks by electing leftists. Moreover, Gallup’s numbers show the real issue in the election could be the economy – not Trump. To explain, America’s economy is so terrible, many people are losing faith in capitalism. I think this political environment favors the left.
Only the Left Wins from Trump Impeachment
The only winners from Trump Impeachment are leftists like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Andrew Yang (D-New York).
Yang, Sanders, and Warren are listening to average people and proposing solutions for the big problems. Like Trump claimed to do in 2016. In addition, Sanders, Yang, and Warren can make themselves appear to be the people’s champions; and the only adult leaders in the room, by refusing to discuss impeachment.
Hence, Bernie’s absence from the campaign trail because of heart surgery could boost his poll numbers. To explain, if Bernie is out of the news cycle during the impeachment debacle, voters will not associate him with impeachment.
Yang has gone farther and come out against prosecuting Trump after he leaves office. Thus, Yang sounds reasonable while the moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the Newsrooms look like a lynch mob.
Meanwhile, Warren claims the moral high ground by issuing dozens of position papers about all things she plans to do for average Americans. For example, Warren wants to increase all Social Security payments by $200 a month.
Unfortunately, Warren has not figured out how to get her position paper messages to the voters yet. When Liz gets her message out, I predict there will be many vehicles on main street sporting Warren bumper stickers.
How Impeachment could Suppress Votes
Sadly, I believe many leftists; and average Americans, will conclude that Trump impeachment is a charade the elite is using to distract voters from leftist candidates like Yang, Sanders, and Warren. Hence, I think Trump impeachment will increase cynicism and disillusionment with Democracy.
In the worst-case scenario, impeachment will suppress votes. To explain, both Trump voters and leftists could look at the political class’s obsession with impeachment and conclude: “they don’t care about us.”
Consequently, some people will drop out of the political process and not vote. Worse, a minority will conclude it is time to stockpile guns and ammo for the revolution.
In the final analysis, Sanford is right. I think Trump impeachment is a needless distraction from the real political debate that will do nothing but harm to our political culture.