By MYA SHONE and RALPH SCHOENMAN
(reprinted from December 2019 issue of The Organizer newspaper)
Donald Trump will be impeached by the time members of Congress recess for Christmas. The Democratic majority in the House makes this inevitable. Not one Republican will break rank, not even those who are relinquishing their seats in Congress rather than seek re-election.
After days of testimony from government staff and officials, House Democratic leaders concluded that Trump represents “a clear and present danger.” He threatened the fabric of the constitutional republic with a blatant scheme to solicit foreign interference for personal gain in the upcoming 2020 election and then, once caught, he obstructed the Congressional investigation of it.
With laser focus, the two Articles of Impeachment crafted by the House Judiciary Committee explain how Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
“If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage,” Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman testified to the House Judiciary Committee, “we no longer live in a democracy; we live in a monarchy, or we live under a dictatorship.” Feldman is not alone in his judgement. Hundreds of legal scholars and former federal prosecutors reached the same conclusion. In essence, they fear that bourgeois democracy — arising from the American Revolution — has reached a crossroad, that the foundational structure of nominal checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judiciary will be swept away.
For their part, Trump’s minions have avoided discussion of the facts and consequences. After only one week of public testimony, 70% of Americans —an overwhelming number — thought that, “President Donald Trump’s request to a foreign leader to investigate his political rival was wrong.” (ABC News/Ipsos poll)
Instead, they took to disrupting and diverting the proceedings. They returned time and again to the argument that for the Democratic Party, the impeachment of Donald Trump was never a question of if, but when. It has been his Sword of Damocles.
“The Democrats,” Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, bellowed repeatedly, “have never accepted the will of the American people.” He, like other Trump toadies claim Trump had an overwhelming victory. They point incessantly to 63 million people who voted for Trump.
The “will of the American people” in truth has been a resounding rejection of Trump. He lost by almost three million votes — a loss that would have been compounded if not for voter suppression and interference. Thus, Trump’s victory in the Electoral College is hardly a mandate from the voting public. This election exposed once again — as it had in Bush v. Gore —that the “founding fathers” made with the Electoral College an undemocratic concession to the slavocracy, which feared a direct election.
Nor was Donald Trump welcomed to the nation’s capital. Rather, on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after he took office, millions of people in villages, towns, and cities, as well as at the scientific research center in Antarctica, rose up for the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Estimates are 470,000 in Washington D.C., 3.2 to 5.2 million throughout the United States, and 7 million worldwide.
If one were to characterize “the will of the American people,” it is that major protests have erupted in one form or another ever since Trump took office.
This includes street actions, online petitions, strikes, Congressional and special investigations, city, state, and federal lawsuits against Trump personally, the Trump Organization, and the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Numerous members of his campaign and cabinet as well as participants in his corrupt schemes have been indicted. They are in the midst of preparing for trials, awaiting sentencing, or have been imprisoned already.
In addition, there are an unprecedented 47 multistate lawsuits against the federal government under Trump. Among them are those concerned with the Affordable Care Act, travel ban, child separations, ICE officers, DACA, the Census, and environmental concerns.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has asserted and enhanced his power in every way, shape and form. His defiance of Congressional action and contempt for the Courts is notorious. He surrounds himself with only those who prop him up; hurling insults, abuse, and threats at those who do not serve his interests. The way forward can be discerned in the actions of people throughout the U.S. as we organize in our own name to protect and advance our vital interests.
As working families across the country suffered from the Trump-imposed government shutdown — the longest in U.S. history — labor fought back. The inherent power of the working class was evinced when Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, issued a rousing call to labor leaders to prepare a general strike. That strike call was not tested. The bugle call was sufficient to compel Trump’s retreat.
Now, as impeachment heads to the Senate, where the Republican Party majority will exonerate Trump, labor and communities of the oppressed cannot depend upon the Democratic Party. We must seize the moment and take steps to build a party of our own — a labor-based working class party. When we do so, an important and necessary step will be taken toward driving Trump and the ruling class that maintains him in power through the exit door.