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What Independent News Media is saying about Impeaching Trump

October 1, 2019

Now that the Democratic Party leadership has finally decided to beginning impeachment proceedings, it might be useful to see what independent news sources and journalists are saying.

We are choosing to look exclusively a independent media sources, especially since the mainstream, corporate media is not likely to challenge any official narratives, even during impeachment proceedings.

From a more liberal end of the spectrum, John Nichols, writing for The Nation, takes a more Democrat vs Republican view of the impeachment proceedings, stating: If the 2020 choice is between Democrats who say they need to win in order to finally put an end to Trump’s abuses and to finish the miserable tenures of those senators who aid and abet his abuses, impeachment will not be a “third-rail” issue for the party. Democrats need to have the confidence of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she says that “the ground has shifted,” and that Democrats have the “ability to organize the public, to educate the public, to talk to the public” about the necessity of impeachment.

Nichols frames the issue of impeachment primarily within he electoral arena. Ryan Grim, the political reporter for The Intercept, also leans towards the electoral framework, but with a more critical assessment. Grim is suggesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the decision to begin impeachment proceedings, in part, because the Democratic Party-base was becoming so frustrated with the party’s failure to move forward on impeachment, which was leading to grassroots challenges to Democratic Party incumbents. 

That grassroots anger was translating into primary challenges, he noted, and needlessly furious constituents. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and a champion of doing nothing when it came to Trump, had recently counted as many as 111 primaries, far more than a typical cycle. The members without official primary challenges were by no means safe, either, as they might soon draw a challenge unless the trajectory of the politics changed. Freshman representative Lori Trahan, from Massachusetts, for instance, came out for impeachment after Dan Koh, whom she beat in a primary by 147 votes in 2018, called on her to do so, with the clear threat that he may run again. The seats of upward of 200 Democrats were being put at risk to protect a handful of loud front-liners, Raskin argued, and it wasn’t obvious that the strategy was actually protecting them from anything. Grassroots activists were demobilizing, Democrats across the board were facing primary challenges, and somehow, someway, Democrats seemed to be losing, again, to Trump. Something had to give.

Mehdi Hasan, also a contributor to The Intercept, also takes a critical look at the impeachment, raising important questions about the possibility that it will fail. Hasan states: 

So how then might this end up as a defeat, and not a victory? Think about it. For House Democrats to wait this long and then impeach a reckless, lawless, racist, tax-dodging president only over his interactions with the president of Ukraine would be to effectively give Trump a clean bill of health on everything else. Going into an election year, Democrats would be unilaterally disarming — unable to offer further substantive criticisms of Trump’s crimes and abuses of power across the board. “Why didn’t you impeach him for it?” Republicans will ask.

Anthony DiMaggio, writing for the online indy news source, CounterPunch, also looks at how the impeachment proceedings could stifle more progressive discourse and policies before the 2020 election. DiMaggio states: 

There are, of course, dangers that impeachment brings. One is that the 2020 election becomes merely a mandate on Trump, rather than about establishing a progressive vision for policy change. I have no doubt that Biden and Pelosi would love to make the 2020 election into nothing more than a mandate on Trump, which would allow them to divert public attention from the growing support within the Democratic Party for the progressive, New Deal-style reforms promoted by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. These policies are strongly opposed by neoliberal establishment types like Pelosi and Biden, so there is a real risk in allowing the impeachment agenda to hijack political discourse in the run-up to 2020.

Lastly, there are two writers who question the whole impeachment proceeding, since they both believe it will undermine the possibility of more systemic and revolutionary changes necessary, even if Trump is impeached. Chris Hedges, writing for Truthdig, states: 

Impeachment is about cosmetics. It is about replacing the public face of empire with a political mandarin such as Joe Biden, himself steeped in corruption and obsequious service to the rich and corporate power, who will carry out the same suicidal policies with appropriate regal decorum. The ruling elites have had enough of Trump’s vulgarity, stupidity and staggering ineptitude. They turned on him not over an egregious impeachable offense—there have been numerous impeachable offenses including the use of the presidency for personal enrichment, inciting violence and racism, passing on classified intelligence to foreign officials, obstruction of justice and a pathological inability to tell the truth—but because he made the fatal mistake of trying to take down a fellow member of the ruling elite.

Paul Street, also writing in CounterPunch, makes the point that like Nixon, Trump could get impeached without ever being held accountable for war crimes or violence done to people right here in the US. Nixon, was not facing impeachment for his war crimes in Cambodia, Vietnam or Chile and he was not facing war crimes for giving the FBI the green light to attack members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the American Indian Movement or the Brown Berets, it was because he was spying on the Democrats. Trump will not be impeached for war crimes or eco-cide or all the harm ICE has done to the immigrant community, he will be impeached because election tampering. What we need to do, Street suggests, is learn from what other people have done across the globe: 

The best way to remove Trump is not merely through elite procedures designed by wealthy 18th Century slaveholders, merchant capitalists, and publicists for whom democracy was the ultimate nightmare. It is through a sustained mass rebellion by and for those the U.S. Founders and the American ruling class today fears most: We the People, the working-class majority. We should mobilize to bring this regime down in the same way the people of Puerto Rico recently forced out their corrupt and racist-sexist governor Ricky Rosello, the same way the people of Hong Kong won the repeal of an authoritarian extradition law, and the same way the masses of Algeria overthrew an authoritarian regime last year.

Personally, I would advocate for what Street is saying.

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