There has never been a single moment before, during and now, especially after, the election of Trump, that the call for his impeachment hasn’t been loudly screamed. The impeachment talk thermometer now blazes hotter with the allegations that Trump badgered former FBI Director James Comey to scrap the Trump-Russia ties investigation (only to summarily fire him), and to lay off investigating former national security advisor, Mike Flynn; he has obstructed justice at every turn.
This charge is almost certainly the charge that would have been brought against Nixon in the Watergate saga, and was brought against Clinton in the House impeachment charges against him. It can’t be broached yet with Trump.
One, because there’s no smoking gun proof ― a document, memo, tape, something ― that can nail Trump on the charge. Two, the GOP-controlled Congress, barring smoking gun proof, would never bring an impeachment count against him.
Despite the endless chatter about impeachment, and the obsessive yearning by millions to get the guy out of the White House, it’s a good thing that Trump isn’t likely to go anywhere for now. You’d get Mike Pence.
There are terrifying reasons why this would be a catastrophe of epic proportions.
Pence is practically the made-in-heaven poster boy for turning the clock back a half century or more. His primitive record on gay rights, civil rights, civil liberties and education is well-known. His anti position on same-sex marriage, public school reform, union protections, hate crime laws, corporate checks, equitable corporate taxing and separation of church and state during his stint as Indiana governor are equally well-known.
Every major liberal and progressive activist group on these issues has consistently given him straight Fs on their report cards for elected officials. While every conservative and ultra-conservative group has given him straight As on their legislative report card. A President Pence would move quickly, adeptly and expertly at trying to ram legislation and initiatives through Congress and via executive order fiat to gut or eliminate every one of these protections.
The key word here is expertly. He knows the legislative process through and through. He is part and parcel of the GOP establishment. GOP senators and congresspersons are comfortable with him. He would smile affably, make no bombastic, outrageous statements or tweets, and work quietly and businesslike behind the scenes to implement his agenda.
His quiet, businesslike manner, was on full display when he cast the deciding vote as VP and President of the Senate on the confirmation of the hotly disputed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the vote to defund Planned Parenthood. He did it without fanfare, despite attacks from the Democrats and the handful of Republicans who opposed her. There were no tweets. This paid double dividends for him, Trump, the GOP and ultra-conservatives. He got DeVos in, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and he did it without drawing any real media or public fire for his vote.
On the issues, such as building a border wall, immigrant restrictions, eliminating the Affordable Care Act and launching a full-scale assault on public education, Pence would not do or say anything inflammatory to stir tens of thousands to immediately sprint to the streets in anger, or have Hollywood celebrities thundering at him from nationally televised film awards ceremonies, or have legions of advocacy groups furiously taking out ads and sending out action alerts on something outrageous that came of his mouth.
However, the result would be the same.
He’d figure out a way to get the money and the congressional support to build a border barrier. He’d institute tighter immigration controls with the full support of Congress. He’d come up with a plan that the GOP, and maybe even some Democrats, could agree on to dump Obamacare. He’d gradually increase funding and resources and shape policy directives for vouchers, religious schools and charter schools. He’d get rid of the Common Core requirement along the way.
Maybe the most compelling reason of all, though, for keeping Trump in the White House—no matter what—is that he could have colossal PR and political shelf value for the Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
There are roughly 25 to 30 congressional seats that are considered in play for the Democrats. Winning those seats would effectively give the Democrats the much-needed legislative breathing space to hector, slow down and even stymie much, if not all, of Trump and the GOP’s right wing agenda for the remaining two years of his term. The caveat, though, is that Trump’s bumbles, stumbles, BS, poll unpopularity and impeachment talk alone won’t deliver those seats to the Democrats. It’s going to take hard work, a real ground game, boots on the ground and a full-throated voter mobilization campaign to win those seats.
The impeachment clamor won’t go away. It will likely dog number 45 every second of his White House tenure. But thank goodness talk of impeachment is one thing, action is another. That’s why I again ask, do you want Pence?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of the new ebook How the Democrats Can Win in The Trump Era (Amazon Kindle). He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.