This Joe Lockhart op-ed was published in the Times (of course) a couple of weeks ago, but I only saw it yesterday as part of Dahlia Lithwick’s excellent piece about impeachment. Here’s Lockhart’s main argument against impeachment:
Allowing Mr. Trump to lead the Republican Party, filled with sycophants and weak-willed leaders, into the next election is the greater prize. Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realign American politics along progressive lines, very much like Ronald Reagan did for Republicans in the 1980s.
Trumpism equals Republicanism as long as Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket. And a real shift to progressivism in America will be delivered by a devastating rebuke of the president and his party, a rebuke that will return control of the Senate and state houses across the nation. Politics is always a gamble — and this is the best bet we’ve had in a long time.
I happened to come across this piece right after looking at the Ballotopedia Senate map. Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the politics of the current millenium has to look at that map to see that winning back the Senate will be, at best, a nail-biter. We need to flip Arizona, Colorado and Maine – all do-able with the right candidate – if we are just going to have a 50/50 Senate. Then what? Texas? Beto ran away from Big John Cornyn. Georgia? Stacey Abrams, the best candidate in Georgia in a generation, is not going to challenge Perdue. We might flip Iowa, but that’s doubtful. The rest of the states are looking pretty safe to me.
Assuming that the residents of the red states on the Senate map will be disgusted by Trump and Trumpism, and therefore vote for a party that doesn’t even have the strength to pursue impeachment of the most impeachable President in history, is probably the most insular and stupid thing that I’ve heard come out of DC in a long time. While Joe Lockhart was busy collecting a salary in DC and spinning wank tales, Republicans were busy gerrymandering, vote suppressing and propagandizing in those red states. There will not be a Progressive wave until there’s a Democratic state legislature and governor in most of those states, so the vote suppression can be rolled back. Almost everyone who still calls themselves a Republican is at least OK with Trump being in office (at least he isn’t Clinton!) for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their moral compass, and a lot to do with whatever lies Fox is dishing out today.
This has gotten too long but in case it isn’t obvious, my take isn’t that Democrats should avoid impeachment, but rather that they should investigate the shit out of this Presidency until it’s bloody obvious that Trump ought to be impeached. Then, throw it at the Senate and let Mitch McConnell decide how he wants to obstruct justice.