We’re All Boiling Frogs Now

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I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters.”

Long before he was elected President, on January 23, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump put his finger on the most defining aspect of his power: He can do anything he wants, and the voters and elected officials who support him will never waiver in their support.

As if to test the theory, almost every week President Trump devises a new outrage. Just this last week he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would welcome a foreign power help with reelection. In other words, Trump would be happy to collude with the Russians if they offered. And then he brushed off calls from within his own administration for his senior aide Kellyanne Conway to resign because of her repeated violations of the Hatch Act, an actual law that requires federal employees (of which she is one) to refrain from making overtly political attacks.

But President Trump’s lawlessness pales in comparison to his cruelty against migrant children as this past week his administration ordered the refurbishment of a former WWII Japanese-American internment camp outside Oklahoma City to detain a flood of migrant children trying to escape gang wars in Central America. Meanwhile the Trump Administration is also pushing plans to evict 55,000 migrant children from federally-subsidized housing as part of an effort to block illegal immigrants from receiving federal assistance.

All of this is on top of President Trump’s efforts to eliminate health care for millions who benefit from the Affordable Care Act, his plan to ban transgendered troops, a backdoor move to stop African-American hero (and all-around badass) Harriet Tubman from gracing the $20 bill, a massive tax cut that only benefited the rich, and…and…it just goes on.

At what point is it all too much?

We Americans have become the proverbial frog in a slowly boiling pot. The temperature keeps getting hotter but we may not notice until it’s too late.

Almost every day Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office he either commits more impeachable actions, or slightly less bad, Trump does things that demonstrate him to be just plain dumb..

How is it that our President is so shameless, that a week later, he hasn’t deleted this undeniably stupid tweet?

By almost every standard, President Trump proves himself unprepared, unable and unfit for office. Hundreds of former federal prosecutors say the House of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings. Late President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean drew parallels between Trump and Watergate-stained Nixon. In his maddeningly understated way, former Special Counsel Robert Muller has broadly hinted that President Trump’s actions justify impeachment.

Unfortunately the obvious must be stated: The basic moral compass of any good American demands for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings. We must officially state for the world that President Trump’s behavior is un-American and give the Senate an opportunity to remove him from office.

And so there’s the rub: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team has telegraphed that the Republican-controlled Senate will shoot down any impeachment proceedings against President Trump, no matter what.

Putting Majority Leader McConnell’s embargo on decency aside, the moral demand for action on President Trump’s impeachment is critical for our nation’s sense of self, and the example we set for the world. America’s commitment to truth and the rule of law is a beacon for the world. It is not an overstatement to say that the light of American liberty and justice shines in places where the darkness of tyranny crushes men’s souls.

But America is not guided by moral example, as President Trump and his Republican followers have proven. We live in a world of realpolitik, where politics is directed by ambition and fabulist pronouncements made by Republican leaders holding fast to consequentialist victories. Tax cuts and more conservative judges justifies the daily buckets of lies told to ensure fatter wallets and right-wing jurisprudence.

Speaker Pelosi, knowing this, hews to the line of “investigate, but do not impeach”, because a House impeachment would inevitably lead to a Senate trial run by the morally bankrupt GOP. A junior Congresswoman in the Clinton years, Pelosi remembers well how the Republican Contract With America was derailed by the GOP’s fixation on Clinton’s impeachment. Voters decided that Republicans were the real partisans, handed them a giant loss and effectively ended the Republican policy agenda.

While it is a certainty the Democratic-controlled House would impeach President Trump if put to a vote, the Republican-controlled Senate would just as likely fail to convict him, allowing Trump to declare victory and giving him a boost among his base just in time for the 2020 elections.

We must wait, Pelosi tells Democrats and a restive America. The 2020 election will give voters an opportunity to remove Trump, and the ballot box is the only sure way to remove him. There might even be a massive surge in voter participation, and when voters turn out, Democrats win, Trump opponents say.

But how many more crimes can President Trump commit in the middle of Fifth Avenue? How could we have been maneuvered into mutely accepting criminality in the highest office in the land?

It seems like Team Trump is openly preparing an array of dirty tricks. Last week President Trump invited foreigners to assist his reelection. Majority Leader McConnell has resisted deploying federal resources to stop foreign intervention. Do we think the Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese and whoever else will keep their hands off the 2020 election?

And thus the vile filth of realpolitik – nobody comes out unscathed. Let’s hope we make it through with enough moral strength to heal our wounded nation properly.