US Lawmakers Ponder: “To Impeach?” or “To Run?”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, made headlines by declaring that it ‘Wasn’t Worth’ impeaching President Trump. Analysts explained this was because if an impeachment brought by the opposition party doesn’t get enough votes, that party fails to make gains in the following election. However, her decision not to put impeachment on the table, at least until the Mueller report on possible collusion with Russia is released, has encountered considerable opposition, bolstered by the months-long campaign ‘Need to Impeach’ funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, who recently accused Pelosi of caving to political expediency rather than defending basic American principles.
Never mind that pundits have been saying almost since he walked in the White House door that President Trump is unfit for office, and that he is being investigated (at enormous cost to the budget) for not one, but a plethora of crimes (real crimes, not so-called ‘collusion’ with Russia), the seventy-some democratic leader is risk averse. Perhaps all the more so that she feels threatened by the never-before-seen influx of young, progressive representatives, led by a Latino-American from the Bronx who waited tables while running for office as a Democratic Socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already known by her initials, AOC. Recent publicity around 85 year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and the brash new ruler of Saudi Arabia (MBH) who is accused of having a Saudi journalist who wrote for the Washington Post assassinated, set the stage for the 30 year-old to become an icon even before being sworn in. She lost no time in presenting a plan for a Green New Deal that would bring jobs while fighting climate change, and her prominence has encouraged many who probably would not otherwise have considered it, to run for the presidency.
In an unusual situation, the two front-runners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are both in their late seventies, Obamas former VP not yet having declared that he is running, while making speeches to tried and true allies such as the fireman’s union. Sanders was literally prevented from becoming the Democratic candidate in 2016 by scarcely hidden sculduggery in the party’s backroom in favor of Hillary, considered unbeatable. Since then, his following has only grown, forcing a 100 year-late public debate on socialism. The woman with the most chance of becoming the democratic candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, has an impressive record of campaigning for changes that would bring the US closer to Social Democracy, explaining that capitalism is great as long as it has ‘cops on the beat’ to enforce rules. The only other female candidate worthy of consideration by the left is the pretty, soft-spoken Tulsi Gabbard, a representative from Hawaii whose mother is Hindu, and who has met with Bashar-al-Assad while touting her military credentials.
The most talked about outlier is the attractive young former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, who raised a ton of money while losing a Senate race to the widely despised Ted Cruz. He comes in third behind the two septuagenarians, however, at a considerable distance, perhaps because no one really knows which side of the left-right divide he represents: he talks like a progressive, but was a member of a center-right House caucus.
There are currently some twenty contenders for the Democratic nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020, and it’s an open questions whether Pelosi can stave off impeachment once the Mueller Report is issued. The near certainty of it being damning for the president suggests that the real reason for her reluctance lies elsewhere: in his recent public testimony to Congress, the President’s former lawyer and ‘fixer’, Michael Cohen warned that if Trump is defeated, there will be an uprising of his gun-toting supporters: how to imagine that a successful impeachment would not provoke the same reaction?
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years. She can be reached at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.