Scotties Toy Box

June 8, 2019

Why 2020 Is Starting to Feel Like 2004

Filed under: News, Political, Questions — Scottie @ 20:41

Sixteen years later, the situation is not precisely the same, but it has some important parallels. That same fear—that if Democrats make their beliefs fully known or act too forcefully in opposing a Republican president, then the public will react against them—survives, even if it doesn’t dominate the party’s upper reaches the way it did in 2003. As they were back then, they are desperate to unseat the president, but divided on how best to do it. And on the question that dominates their internal debates, they seem to be concerned mostly with whether it’s too politically risky to do the right thing. Back then it was Iraq, and today it’s the potential impeachment of Donald Trump

And Trump adds to the grounds for impeachment on a near-daily basis. When the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment for Richard Nixon in July 1974, one of the articles cited the fact that he had “failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas” issued by Congress. Trump has not only done that multiple times, he has declaredthat he will simply refuse to comply with any and all congressional investigations of him and his administration.

There are no Democrats saying his actions don’t warrant impeachment. The ones who oppose it, or at least oppose it for now, argue that it would be politically disadvantageous for Democrats. You might or might not find their arguments persuasive (I don’t, though I’m willing to grant that no one knows for sure), but it’s hard to imagine that when the history of the Trump era is written, declining to impeach him will look like some kind of profile in courage. As I’ve argued before, the simplest moral calculus says that if Donald Trump deserves to be impeached, then Donald Trump should be impeached.

he latest California party convention happened this past weekend, and there was no one who broke out with the kind of striking criticism of their party that Howard Dean managed in 2003. That’s because there are already plenty of Democrats running for president who are not only ready to impeach Trump but are also advocating sweeping policy change. “When I lead the Democratic Party, we will not be a party that nibbles around the edges,” said Elizabeth Warren. “Our Democratic Party will be a party of bold, structural change.” In a similar vein, Pete Buttigieg said of President Trump, “He wins if we look like more of the same. Which means, surprisingly, that the riskiest thing we could do is try to play it safe.”

There was a figure they and others were not-too-subtly referencing: Joe Biden, who not only advocates a more moderate set of policy solutions but recently said that when Trump is out of the White House, “You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends,” and they’ll be ready for bipartisan governing. Biden’s friend Mitch McConnell no doubt had a good laugh at that one.

While Biden is leading the polls at the moment, you can bet that his circa-2002 approach to the Trump presidency will become an issue as the primary race goes on. The question is whether the party is fundamentally different now than it was then, and whether they’re looking for something else in their next leader.



  1. Unfortunately, Joe Biden must think that beneath it all, Republicans are still the Republicans of old (when some of them still had a soul). Any soul they may have once had, they have sold to the devil (Donald Trump by name), and they will fight like the devil to keep the Dems from accomplishing anything that isn’t in the GOP’s soulless interests. Still, if ten or so months from now, polls of voters as a whole (not just Dems) show that Biden still has the best chance of beating Trump, I think it will be time to swallow our preferences and unite behind Biden. As has been often said, we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by mistermuse — June 8, 2019 @ 22:45

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