This is a weird post. But it needs to be said, publicly:
Republican leaders need to challenge President Trump, and if necessary, impeach him and remove him from office.
In order to restore some credibility for the Republican party for future generations.
The Unites States needs at least two credible political parties to struggle publicly over policies, and give the population at least some choice during elections. Since the Gingrich-led House in 1994, Republican political leaders have been behaving as what political scientists call “disloyal opposition.” A loyal opposition is one which sincerely and substantially disagrees with the party in power, but expects that it gets voted in, it will continue some policies while changing others that it really prefers. A disloyal opposition vandalizes the government by recklessly and cynically dismissing people and policies.
Perhaps this began with Ronald Reagan’s inaugural phrase: “government is the problem.” Since then, Republican leaders have behaved in the strangely contradictory way of attempting to trash modern American government when they are the government. George W. Bush (unlike his father) behaved like a member of the disloyal opposition through his eight years of tenure as president, including when both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court favored him. If daddy gives you a mansion, and then you trash it, how should you be remembered?
But the current situation is even worse. Trump has alienated the vast majority of Latinos, African-Americans, and the majority of women. Asian-Americans have been quiet about this (they were subjected to extraordinary discrimination and violence in both the 19th and 20th centuries), but his treatment of China cannot be helpful.
In California, that leaves only about 15% of the population (white men) whom he has not attacked as a category. But even if he could recruit 2/3 of white men to support him, that is only 10% of the population. Which means California is extremely likely to vote for whomever the DNC selects as the Democratic candidate.
The demographics of California are a preview of what the rest of the United States will be in one generation. If Republicans remain associated with Trump’s toxic bigotry, they will be unelectable across the majority of the country, and the Republican party will wither, leaving only one significant political party, and no significant choice for voters. Would Americans voluntarily give up democracy to become a one-party government? I may agree with more Democrat policies than Republican policies at this time; but I don’t want to see ANY party become the sole credible party of the country.
Right now, we have a billionaire president who has convinced himself that he is a victim. I think Republicans may expect Democrats to seek impeachment of the president, so that Republicans can say he is a martyr and call themselves victims. For the moment, that wins elections in a country where a lot of privileged people regard themselves as victims. I don’t think that will last. I don’t think that truly pious Christians will continue to unquestioningly support such a publicly immoral man, despite what their televangelist leaders preach at the moment. White men? Victims? I just worked for half a year in Afghanistan. Consider what I have witnessed, and then try to look me in the eye and tell me you are a victim. There are Americans who can—and they are precisely the peoples whom the president and the Republican party sneer at and seek to marginalize.
A reversal of policy is possible.
In the 1920s it was the Democrats, including President Wilson, who supported the intensification of Jim Crow laws and practices against Blacks. It was Roosevelt who interned Japanese-Americans. Between 1948 and 1964, there was a “Great Flip.” It started with Truman’s de-segregation of the military, and granting of citizenship to Chinese and Native Americans after WWII. It ended with the racist Dixiecrat senators like Strom Thurmond switching to the Republican Party in 1964. In 1920, the Democratic President Woodrow Wilson segregated Federal offices. In 2008, a completely different Democratic Party put forward an African-American as presidential candidate. We should not forget where the two parties were in the 1920s (or especially the 1860s and 1870s), but that does not mean we can ignore where they are now.
Taking Responsibility Earns Respect
Republicans control all three branches of government now, and have had dominating power almost continuously since Reagan. For six years out of the last 38, Democrats have had majority power: 1992-1994, and 2008-2012. To try to blame any political consequences at present on the Democrats or “the Far Left” will be remembered as the whining irresponsibility and attempted impunity of spoiled children. Is that how 21st-century Republicans want to be remembered? Is that whom they want to recruit to their party? And what kind of a platform is “trash the other guys’ work and send people back to coal-mining?” Republicans chose to eliminate the Voting Rights Act; Republicans are openly working to deny voting to African-Americans. How can this be reconciled with a commitment to liberty and democracy?
There are real policy problems we need to struggle over. How do we grow the well-being of American families into the 21st century? What policies will enable us to live better, by whatever measure we care about? Republicans seem to be fixated on how they are offended by the behavior of others who disagree with them. “Those are distractions,” as President Obama cautioned. While distracted with their own sense of self-righteous offense and the self-pity of Trumped-up victimhood, Republicans look increasingly unattractive to American conservatives. By aligning themselves with white supremacists and overt racists, the Republican Party is sacrificing its long-term future electability for very short-term electoral gains.
To restore their own credibility—to restore and sustain their own electability—Republicans need to challenge president Trump and remove him from office, if necessary. They should not wait for Democratic leaders to be in a position to do this. If Dems challenge the president, there will be Americans who regard him as a martyr, just as many Southerners still regard Confederate President Jefferson Davis as a martyr. But I think—I hope—that self-pity will lose out to a “We can do this” attitude among American voters and political mobilizers. America needs a party that argues for fiscal responsibility; argues for individual rights and duties; promotes meritocracy over nepotism; and enforces regulations that maintain market competitiveness, rather than corporate consolidation and market domination. In other words, a Republican party more like the one in 1954, when unionization and top-bracket income taxes were both at their highest. I do not agree with many parts of the Republican platform of 64 years ago, but at least I can respect it and understand the logic behind most of those positions.
Right now, a party which seems devoted to sneering at whole populations based on their gender or skin color is a party with no future in a country where women outvote men, and where whites will soon be one of many minorities—as it is now already in California. Republicans, please work towards the future of American democracy. Please depart from Trump’s policies and cultural politics; please seek to serve the whole population. Please promote voting, and recruit immigrants to become citizens. Above all else, do not let Russian social-media operatives sucker you into “being offended.” Patriotism means opposing Russian political malice, and opposing Americans who have profited from that malice. You can do this.