What do you guys make of the impeachment inquiry and the hearings?

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liquiddragon

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#1  Edited By liquiddragon  Online

Idk what to make of it all. I’ve been catching some of the hearings this week and tbh, they made for some compelling television. Everyone seems so theatrical and it’s kinda engaging and I actually got some laughs out of it but I’m not sure how much of it is about getting to the truth.

At the end of day, what are we gonna get out of it? The math doesn’t add up in congress for anything to actually happen. All it’s gonna do is continue to divide us. I hate to say it but it’s a huge distracting.

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SilverSaint

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Theres a lot of Republican grandstanding, as they don't want a Republican president impeached and really don't care about the truth. With the how its going presumably the House will vote for Impeachment and the Senate with either vote against or not vote at all as the Dems control the House and Republicans the Senate.

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qrdl

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#3  Edited By qrdl

You have a genuine crime syndicate at the highest level of your executive branch and you're worried that investigation into their criminal behaviour furthers the divisions? Maybe let's talk about what ignoring it does to a society.

It's not really about getting any new bombshells, the investigation attempts to establish a clear timeline and who knew what was going on. The fact that Trump attemted to blackmail/extort Ukraine was obvious from the release of the memo.

All the theatrical doubts from the R's since then are purely for the benefit of Fox-addled masses, to ease their cognitive dissonance.

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BisonHero

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The track record of federal level impeachment proceedings seems kinda hopeless in the U.S. The hearings are great to get the testimony/information out there to the public, but that's about all they're good for because I have no faith in the process. Like, maybe a conviction is possible if it's some low level judge that clearly and repeatedly fucked up. But for any more powerful official high up in a political party, it seems like it's shaping up to be everybody in the upper and lower house probably just voting in line with their party. Almost regardless of the level of wrongdoing, it seems like you would need a House and Senate absolutely stacked with the opposing party to ever convict a sitting president of anything.

Anyway, setting that aside, I'm kind of amazed it took this long for the impeachment to happen. Every day seems like it consists of Trump callously disregarding the responsibility and duty that should be demonstrated by a head of state, so I find it easy to believe that this is hardly the first time he has misused his presidential powers.

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shorap

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@liquiddragon: sorry you feel that way but it is important. Hell, there should’ve been impeachment hearings for his breaking of the emoluments clause and obstruction of justice but the dem leadership is so weak that they had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into this impeachment process.

No one wants to be impeached, even if it’s only gonna be in the House, especially someone as insecure and short tempered as trump. The guy had to have an impromptu doctor visit this past weekend which was more than likely caused by his stressing out over the impeachment.

It also forces everyone in the House and Senate to vote and get put on record. This gives the opponents of those who vote not to impeach some significant ammunition during the midterms.

As for dividing us more, I disagree. The majority of Americans want this impeachment process. No nation is a monolith and there will always be division. We’ve also been more divided at numerous times in the past compared to today (the civil war, the red scare, civil rights era).

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liquiddragon

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#6 liquiddragon  Online

@qrdl: The whole thing is theatrical, not just the Republicans.

We can establish all the timelines we want but the numbers aren't there to impeach.

At the end of the day, I think this will help Trump's chances of getting re-elected.

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liquiddragon

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#7 liquiddragon  Online

@shorap: Well, this is not about me. Just wanted to hear others thoughts.

The polls are moving constantly. I don't think we can say majority wants this. I think ppl are conflicted about it.

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Efesell

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At least it's serving to uphold some manner of vague pretense that we care about his abuses of his office beyond saying mean things on twitter. Will it result in anything actionable? I don't really see it, to be honest. But this will reach some people, it will drag things out further into the public.

You can't just do nothing, despite how hard we have tried until now.

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dudeglove

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Impeachment did nothing to stop Nixon or Clinton from being horrible.

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qrdl

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@liquiddragon:

He will be impeached 100%, but he won't be removed during the trial in the Senate unless something big happens in the interim. Althrough the biggest thing on the horizon is the publication of Barr's bullshit investigation into the origins of the Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. He is completely partisan (maybe even more than the AG in my country at the moment) and is willing to say anything with the authority of the DoJ behind him.

As far as Trump's reelection chances, I'm going to say the effect will probably even out. The danger I see is that he will be emboldened after the acquital in the Senate.

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shorap

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@dudeglove: except impending impeachment forced Nixon to resign.

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shorap

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@qrdl: honestly, I think trump’s re-election chances mainly depend on who the democratic nominee will be and like usual, the dem establishment is trying it’s best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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qrdl

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@shorap: I agree. I like how Tom Nichols (a very anti-Trump former Republican) in a recent interview bemoaned the Democratic tendency for ideological purity tests for candidates. Liberal-leaning people who won't vote for the Domecratic candidate because they are not "engergized" by the primary choice will deserve all they get if Trump is reelected.

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Onemanarmyy

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#14  Edited By Onemanarmyy

To me it shows how Trump effectively keeps himself out of shot by not sharing too much information with people outside of his closest circle . I can totally believe that the ambassadors that had to arrange the public announcement of the investigations into the company Burisma, have never heard the name Biden attached to it from their interactions with Giuliani & the president. Rudy Giuliani would know about it, given that he was doing his own investigations in Ukraine already. (or according to him, the information about the Biden - Burisma link was handed to him) Anyway, in both cases, he knew about the link between Biden & Burisma. Why raise concerns with a bunch of ambassadors that don't need to know about this link? They don't need to know why the optics of an investigation into this business was of importance, they just needed to know that it was a thing that president Zelensky should do. And perhaps that would lead to the release of the military aid and an invitation to the White House meeting for President Zelensky. After all, why else is this congress-approved aid not getting through even when the US keeps confirming to them that it should go through? It's worth a shot at least right? Using this uncertainty + time pressure to make ambassadors make a presumption of which actions lets the aid go through is making this case quite difficult.

An announcement from the ukranian president that Burisma, a company that had corruption issues in the past, needs to be investigated. That's the desire from the higher-ups and that could technically be in line with the official US-Ukraine relationship from the vantage point of these ambassadors. After all, that relationship does see the reduction of corruption as an objective to drag Ukraine away from their Soviet past. Ambassadors Sondland & Volker had already agreed to work with Giuliani in the hope to achieve their goals of getting the aid resumed & the white house meeting for the ukranian president, this Burisma investigation announcement was just one extra requirement to attain that ultimate goal. They might not realize why this is important, but again, they already agreed to work with Giuliani despite their concerns, so this wasn't something they were going to spend time questioning neither. The aid needed to get through ASAP, The White House meeting needed to happen. That's what mattered to these ambassadors.

I do think it's rich for Sondland to act like he felt like his channel through Giuliani was the 'centerlane' and a regular channel when he admits that it all having to go through Giuliani is something he didn't feel comfortable with at all. With the benefit of hindsight, now he agrees that it was improper to work with Giuliani, yet he still holds on to the belief that his 'three amigo's' channel was regular. And clearly there was a 2nd channel, the one William Taylor (replacement for the ousted Marie Yovanovitch) used when he arrived in Ukraine before knowing about the Giuliani-led channel. So Sondland feels uncomfortable using the channel with Giuliani attached to it, but reveals that he kind of had to use it to get things done, given that Trump told Volker that they needed to talk to Giuliani about Ukrainian matters. Yet, he won't agree that the original Giuliani-less channel is more centerlane than his Three Amigos channel that he 'proudly' is a part of? Even now with 20/20 hindsight and knowledge that Biden's son was on that board & Giuliani knew about this link between Burisma & Biden? Buuuullll-shiitttt. The official channel might have been seen as less effective perhaps, but that's not what Sondland said. In my opinion, this is where he tries to cover his own ass. Naturally the other channel was more official & regular, he just felt like if he wanted to get anything done, that channel would not be of any use. Trump said he needed to talk to Giuliani, so he did.

I also think it's very strange that after the military aid is held up for apparently no reason & Sondland phones Trump in an act of desperation to find out what the fuck Ukraine has to do, that Trump responds by says Nothing! I DONT WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! Like why would you bring up a this for that-type of arrangement if Sondland doesn't even suggest that there should be one? He just wants to know why the aid is not getting through. The more logical response would be like 'I want nothing from Ukraine. Why are you even asking me? That's not my job. Is the aid not coming through? It should, congress approved of it. I'll speak to ... and .. about that.' It should at least try to figure out why this ambassador is directly calling the president in full desperation-mode when the president is not the one that gets to put secret conditions on aid-packages. If i received that call, i'd wonder why this ambassador is casting suspicions on me in the first place.

Funds being conditioned (as a quid pro quo) is not a bad thing in itself. The thing here is that these funds were approved by congress already so anything Ukraine had to do to get these funds (like fighting corruption, ousting corrupt officials or such) had been done. It's also possible that there were no specific requirements for this aid package. the problem here, it seems like the aid & the meeting were conditioned on a objective that was not assigned by congress, but by the president himself. Conditions solely meant for the benefit of his presidential re-election campaign. Again, if Trump's inner circle truly didn't block the aid from coming through and wanted no secret conditions to be met, he should be surprised to get this phone call and wonder why he's even being contacted about this. He shouldn't whip out the latin phrase that he has on hand. The one that now is THE PHRASE attached to this whole case, when it's also a phrase that is conveniently not a crime at all. It's exactly the phrase that you would want this to be about as a defendant. Especially given that a 'do this to get that' type of deal is not unusual regarding to aid. As long as it is all out in the open & goes through congress.

The correct way this should have gone was to announce the condition that Burisma needs to be investigated by the Ukranian President. Congress asks why it's in US interest that this company gets investigated and whether it's fair to ask another president to do an internal investigation on the behalf of the US. A case has to be made why this is of US importance and if that's important enough to with-hold military aid to help the ukranian allies from defending themselves against the russian threat. If that case is able to be made, and the investigation showcases that Hunter Biden is a corrupt bad person working against US interests, that's fair game. But that's not what happened here.

Anyway, i see these proceedings as mostly going through the motions and at least taking away some of the shade around this whole ordeal. I don't see it leading to an removal of the president or anything, but mostly something that had to be done because otherwise the power to impeach would lose it's strength in the future. A time when they try to figure out when it's suitable to use this power and stare at this 2019 occassion that was apparently still not enough to use those powers. At least it lifts up the fog about this one operation to those that care about it and perhaps provides some ammunition on figures that have done shady things in this matter. Senators will also be on record with their decisions.

It's pretty crazy how a personal lawyer can effectively spearhead policy in Ukraine. He knew about the biden-link with burisma (either through own investigations or because he was handed this information) & he let the ambassadors know that they should tell President Zelensky to announce an investigation into Burisma afterwards. Personally i think that's a pretty clear cut case that Giuliani was not acting in the US interests. Also, the dude is a personal lawyer. He should not even be in this position! Sondland might get booted from his post, And i could see Pompeo & Mulvaney have to resign but i think that's pretty much the extent of this. Or they could just laugh this whole thing off and do nothing i guess.

Oh on a lighter note, as an European i'm sort of annoyed how i see all these ambassadors that are all taking notes about their workdays, yet we get assigned this affable guy that mostly relies on other parties to take the notes :D. Like i can totally see how a guy like Sondland is more easy-going and laid back in conversation with allies than say a William Taylor type, but it would still be nice to know that this ambassador keeps track of important stuff himself. Like at one point during the hearings he was like UGH, I HAVE TO DEAL WITH SO MANY IMPORTANT PEOPLE, THERE ARE SO MANY COUNTRIES IM INVOLVED IN, ITS HARD TO KEEP TRACK OF ALL THE CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT ANY DOCUMENTS TO JOG MY MEMORY. Like dude, maybe don't rely on everyone around you forthe transcripts, maybe start taking notes for yourself to make this easier? Other ambassadors are doing that. Surely this hearing isn't the first time that this bit you in the ass. Perhaps it is even convienient that you are known to be someone that doesn't keep notes. Helps to keep the light away from shady practices & conversations.

Also, it's pretty funny how that whole thing with Aesop Rocky keeps popping up in these proceedings. Sondland had no recollections of that day until someone mentioned that it was about Aesop Rocky & then it came all back to him :D

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shorap

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@qrdl: well part of it is the electorate, part of it is the party leadership. The electorate needs to realize how important voting is, from national all the way down to local levels and that voting for a lesser evil is necessary if that’s the only option because it is still less evil than the alternative. And the electorate hopefully has learned how important the supreme and circuit courts are both of which are lifetime appointments. Almost 1/4 of the circuit court judges in this country are now trump appointed.

But it’s also the party leadership. The move towards the center, and in some cases center-right over the decades has resulted in austerity and a party focus geared more towards the pmc class and away from the working class.

That lead to the dem’s last nominee being someone who mainly spoke in platitudes, not giving people something to vote for but only to vote against (which only goes so far), and whose big plan was to win over suburban republicans while ignoring working class people. And it looks like they’re rolling out the same playbook again with the dem establishment’s preferred candidates.

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shorap

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@onemanarmyy: Sondland doesn’t takes notes cause he’s a rich asshole who bought himself that ambassadorship by donating 1 million to trump’s inauguration. He probably hasn’t had to do any real work in his life that made him realize that note taking is effective.

Sondland thought that he got this like Lamar Jackson but in reality he’s been more like Baker Mayfield.

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Onemanarmyy

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#17  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@shorap

I am aware of that donation, but it would still be in his interest to keep notes about his interactions. Now he's an easy target to wipe out if European diplomats or leaders wanted to see him gone as an ambassador. I.E. releasing a transcript with him opposing Trump or being in undisclosed meetings with trump-opposers would put him in an annoying position when he has nothing to show for himself.

But yes, i agree with you that he has probably not even thought about this and just didn't feel like putting the effort in being a note-writer. As long as he was not doing anything to get a target on his back, he would not have to face the consequences of this neglect after all. Also, as i said before, having access to a US diplomat that is not recording his interactions might be a nice feature.

Edit: Man, ambassador to the EU only cost Sondland a million dollars. Like that's the price i could see to be ambassador to Portugal or Argentina or something. But that being the price for the EU is dissapointing :D

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mellotronrules

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don't mean to be expressly dooom and gloom, buuut since this is the post-facts world we're living in- i don't think trump will be made to answer for his derelictions, no matter the political process.

the american electorate fully knows who he is- and enough can live with it for him to be absolved of accountability.

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Onemanarmyy

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#19  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Oh i wanted to talk about the role of language in this case. As i said before, the term quid pro quo being the main phrase in all this is unfortunate for a number of reasons. Its latin, hard to understand for the common people. Its not a crime (as long as it goes through the right channels & congress agrees that it benefits the US) and it is not unusual for aid to require certain conditions to be met. (Again, it cant be a secret condition that the president hides from congress). Also if you take it at face value, Trump said no quid pro quo in the phonecall with Sondland. So when the other side says they want to impeach because there is a quid pro quo happening, people would be like... Wtf he said no quid pro quo!

Schiff is therefore trying to make '2+2=4' stick with the people. This to point out that there wont be a message in which Trump orders directly that he wants to see burisma investigated because he wants to be able to have dirt on his political opponent Biden. Instead, taking all the facts in account, we can only arrive to the logical conclusion (2+2=4) that that's the reason Burisma is involved. There is no direct message from Trump to the ukranian president (a newcomer on the worldstage) in which he says he needs this investigation into Burisma to have dirt on his political opponent Biden. There is no direct message from Trump to Ambassador Volker & Sondland (people outside trumps inner circle) that this investigation is all about Biden. That's just the only logical conclusion we can come to (2+2=4)

Also 2+2=4 is what the ambassadors in Ukraine had to do when the aid kept being halted despite it being approved by congress. They had to make the logical conclusion that the desired announcement of an investigation into Burisma was a hidden condition from the Giuliani / Trump camp that needed to be met before the aid would be released.

I understand why Schiff tries to get away from quid pro quo but personally don't think 2+2=4 will be a more enlightening phrase for a random Joe to figure out what happened and if its worth impeaching Trump over.

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TheRealTurk

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I'm reminded of the line from Space Balls - "Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

I want Trump out of office as much as anyone, but I'm struggling to see what exactly the Democrats hope to accomplish. What exactly is the end goal here?

-- If it's to remove Trump from office, then this is a big waste of time, because they don't have, and will never have, the votes in the Senate to do it.

-- If it's to set up removing Trump from office via election, then I don't see how it's going to do that. Most people have already made up their mind. To Democrats, he'll always be Worse Than Hitler(TM). To Republicans, all this will always be Democrats unwilling to accept they lost the election. Everyone in the middle just wants both sides to shut the fuck up and try governing for once. The only thing this might accomplish is riling up Trump's base and making it more likely he wins re-election, not less.

-- If it's some holier-than-thou "it's important he face justice" crap, see point number 1. I'd actually argue it's worse for him to go on trial and be acquitted than not charging him in the first place. When the Senate refuses to vote him out of office, all of his behavior will just have been "legitimized" by the process.

Even to the extent that there might be enough persuadable voters out there who are paying enough attention to have their minds changed, the Democrats aren't going about this whole thing very well. I think they've done an OK job laying out what happened, but they've done a shit job of explaining to people why that's important and why that should matter. This is part of a larger more systemic flaw in a lot of Democratic party thinking - they assume (a) people are much, much smarter than they actually are and (b) what's obvious to Democrats is going to be obvious to everyone else.

Unfortunately for them, that's just not the way it works. I doubt that most Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, much less describe it's fraught history with Russia or why it might feel like it has to comply with a US request to investigate the President's political rival. Even if you could get them across that hump, like @onemanarmyy said, using terms like "quid pro quo" isn't helping matters. Like, sure, that's technically what happened, but (a) most American's don't understand the term and (b) it's also a term that could describe basically every legitimate diplomatic deal ever, so using it just makes it harder to underline that what happened was unusual and wrong.

Schiff should be using a term like "extortion," which also accurately (probably more accurately) describes what happened, except that most people have an understanding what that means and that it's a criminal act.

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nutter

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#21  Edited By nutter

It’s a circus that’s probably a huge waste of time and taxpayer money.

I say this as, regardless of any wrongdoing, or lack thereof, it probably won’t remove Trump from the Whitehouse. I also think democrats have burned A LOT of legitimacy capitol in this Looney Tunes pursuit of Trump; Russians, dossiers, porn stars, whatever else...who can even remember?

I think it’s galvanizing people who are already galvanized and alienating people who are already alienated. It’s a massive exercise in waste. But I guess it wouldn’t be a government, otherwise.

Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not about to debate politics here (those days are behind me)...just my two cents.

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Efesell

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I think it's important to understand that there is no Victory here. Catharsis is the only possible positive outcome and it's a remote chance at that and doesn't actually solve very many problems.

But I can't just get behind watching the crime president just do crimes and saying "Well what are you gonna do that's just How He Is."

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hermes

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At this point is just adding noise to the campaign, and not in a good way. I would say no one doubts it happened (even republicans admit it), but the whole thing is merely a political circus. The most democrats can get is a slap in the hand, and it is hardening Trump's side. Even republicans that are not in favor of Trump won't jump ship and denounce him, and democrats can't stop the show as a precedent. They are fully aware they will sooner get rid of him with an election than an impeachment, but if they just drop it or let it win, he won't shut up about it for years to come.

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notnert427

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I'm reminded of the line from Space Balls - "Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

I want Trump out of office as much as anyone, but I'm struggling to see what exactly the Democrats hope to accomplish. What exactly is the end goal here?

-- If it's to remove Trump from office, then this is a big waste of time, because they don't have, and will never have, the votes in the Senate to do it.

-- If it's to set up removing Trump from office via election, then I don't see how it's going to do that. Most people have already made up their mind. To Democrats, he'll always be Worse Than Hitler(TM). To Republicans, all this will always be Democrats unwilling to accept they lost the election. Everyone in the middle just wants both sides to shut the fuck up and try governing for once. The only thing this might accomplish is riling up Trump's base and making it more likely he wins re-election, not less.

-- If it's some holier-than-thou "it's important he face justice" crap, see point number 1. I'd actually argue it's worse for him to go on trial and be acquitted than not charging him in the first place. When the Senate refuses to vote him out of office, all of his behavior will just have been "legitimized" by the process.

Well put, and count me among those wanting both sides to shut the fuck up and govern for once. Democrats super-love being anti-Trump and expressing that in every imaginable way. I'm no fan of the guy, either, but at a certain point it's just redundant. I'm not sure there is a specific or attainable "goal" here. It's readily apparent who Trump is by now, but Democrats seem to think it's their greatest duty to "expose" Trump, as if his followers will convert if they could only just see the light. Negative. Trump supporters love that their favorite asshole riles up Democrats as much as he does, so this whole thing likely serves as proof that Democrats are whiny and petty in their minds. Frankly, the Democrats should be concerned that such a perception may creep into the minds of folks who may lean Republican but don't care for Trump. This is how to potentially create a 2020 Trump voter who may not even really be a Trump supporter, which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing.

IMO, the Democratic party should really just focus on the election. The pedantry of the impeachment hearing simply doesn't resonate with your average citizen, and even in the best case scenario doesn't actually get Trump out of office much earlier than an election potentially could anyway. I imagine a great many people are very open to voting for anyone but Trump in 2020, but it's like the Democratic party doesn't even care about spotlighting their own alternatives. Which is a goddamn shame, because I'm actually really impressed with Buttigieg in particular and would like to see some more support for him as a candidate from his own fucking party. Or any candidate, really. Just pick one and roll with them, as they're likely preferable to Trump in the minds of most. However, the Democratic party is clearly too busy blasting Trump and trying to prove he's the bad guy people already know he is. It's all rather tiresome and a disappointing reminder that our representatives would rather yell at each other than do their job and serve the people.

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TheRealTurk

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@notnert427: Another Buttigieg bro! I thought I was the only one.

As far as the Democrats go, I was watching the debate last night and it struck me that there's a ton of talent on that stage, it just needs to start rowing in the same direction, which is probably the most frustrating part of it. You have enough smart people who are passionate about specific issues to form most of a cabinet. For example, Kamala Harris isn't going to win a primary, much less an the election, but she's tough as nails and has a lot of legal experience, so she would be a good choice for Attorney General.

The field is full of people who I don't necessarily want to be President, but who are nonetheless really passionate about certain issues and would thrive in smaller roles. Like, I think Bernie is too old and slightly crazy to be President, but he'd be a good advocate as Secretary of Labor. Tom Steyer isn't adding much as a candidate, but he's donated millions to environmental causes, so let him run the Department of the Interior, etc.

Basically, I think the Democrats would be smart to settle on a candidate now, but offer most of the others some upper-position in the government, and then campaign specifically on that point. It lets Democratic voters feel like they're still voting for "their" choice, even if that person doesn't end up being the nominee, and they can pitch the neutrals on the idea that "Look, we've got an entire government ready to go Day 1." Because those people would still need to be confirmed, it's also a way of jazzing up the base to try to win a few Senate seats.

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extintor

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I'm a British ex-pat here so all my politics news bandwidth is taken up with the (unusually compelling) Brexit/UK election at the moment.

Everyone knows by now what they think about Trump and I think most people are just waiting on the next election to express it. To a large extent I think new developments/facts/criminal accusations etc aren't going to impact public opinion about him.

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shorap

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#27  Edited By shorap

He’ll be impeached in the House but not in the Senate. There could be a video of him naked and chasing around a little kid and the republicans would still go to bat for him.

I’ll reiterate, the real benefit will be the actual voting. No republican politician (and some conservative dems) wants to vote on impeachment. Any who vote against impeachment would marry themselves to trump and against an electorate that’s been activated since trump took office.

The 2018 midterms prove this out. Both parties had record turnout, there’s just more democrats in the country and they came out because they were motivated to come out.

This impeachment won’t be the reason trump gets re-elected. Democrats and left leaning independents support it, republicans and right leaning independents are against it, and the independents who don’t lean to either party go back and forth because they mostly aren’t as politically engaged and are swayed by whatever headline they happen across.

What’s going to be the main reason trump gets re-elected or not is the dem nominee. A centrist didn’t work last time and that will likely be the same result this time if the nominee is any of the myriad of centrists still in this race because again, giving people something to vote for will energize your party much more than just giving them something to vote against.

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Onemanarmyy

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#28  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I see a lot of mentions of this all being a circus & this whole impeachment thing being something that the democrats want to engage in to finally expose Trump. But is that truly the case? If we on this forum can (mostly?) all agree that this won't end with Trump getting removed, this won't end with the republicans in the senate turning on Trump (As they haven't done in all these years) and that even if this all miraculously ends with a removal, it doesn't matter all that much because the elections are around the corner, wouldn't the democrats stumble on the same train of thought at some point? Don't you think they rather would've looked away from all this & focused on getting a good opponent for Trump in the upcoming election? Wouldn't they want their senators to be able to campaign instead of being tied down in the senate while they know that the republican majority will not turn on Trump? Wouldn't they rather campaign against an opponent that is known & they have a ton of material on rather than removing him right at the end of his term and going up against a fresh opponent? Isn't all this media attention focused on the impeachment hearings incredibly detrimental for Trump's potential challengers? Those that need the airtime the most to gain recognition & support ?

The convenient politically beneficial action for the democrats would be to look away from all this and build their own candidates up as great leaders that will push America forward. Let people hear about the different policies that they want to enact. There's pretty much nothing to gain for them in this impeachment sessions apart from maybe getting rid of some ambassador no one cares about and perhaps ending up with a resignment or two from folk that Trump couldn't care less about. Most people are tired of the constant allegations & investigations and just want some peace & quiet. They just want both sides to do their normal jobs & let the next elections decide how the people feel about Trump as president. These impeachment hearings will probably only be cheered on by people that would never vote for Trump in the first place, while the people in the middle are mostly being turned off by yet another investigation, with election time around the corner. No matter the outcome, this is not a win for the democrats and i think they are aware of that as well.

But they got elected to do their job as house members and they have to use their power to impeach if the information they gather is substantial enough that they come to the conclusion that they should use that power. To not do that because it's politically inconvenient would be rediculous. That would mean that the last few months of every presidency would be the primetime to commit blatant crimes because it's always politically incovenient to go through investigations near election time. If they don't use the impeachment power when the information calls for it, that power will lose its strength in the future as future house members see that even a president placing hidden conditions on military aid and blocking aid that is approved by congress for his political benefit isn't enough to use these powers. If stuff like that gets looked away from, in other words, politicians not doing their job because it costs them votes, then you could just as well let the president be the ultimate decision maker on all issues and get rid of senates and congresses and supreme courts to save a buck in taxes. Investigations costs money, this is true. Improper conduct & crimes not being investigated at all will be far more costly in the long run.

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We are talking about a country where the last two presidents could have rightfully been brought before the ICC for war crimes. There is so much corruption in US politics nobody is even surprised by it anymore. The two partisan parties like to claim moral superiority but have maintained the status quo for 200 years and will maintain the status quo for another 200 years. All this dog and pony show will do is allow 24 hour propagandists to further galvanize their followers against each other and nothing will change but the weather.

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But they got elected to do their job as house members and they have to use their power to impeach if the information they gather is substantial enough that they come to the conclusion that they should use that power. To not do that because it's politically inconvenient would be rediculous. That would mean that the last few months of every presidency would be the primetime to commit blatant crimes because it's always politically incovenient to go through investigations near election time. If they don't use the impeachment power when the information calls for it, that power will lose its strength in the future as future house members see that even a president placing hidden conditions on military aid and blocking aid that is approved by congress for his political benefit isn't enough to use these powers. If stuff like that gets looked away from, in other words, politicians not doing their job because it costs them votes, then you could just as well let the president be the ultimate decision maker on all issues and get rid of senates and congresses and supreme courts to save a buck in taxes. Investigations costs money, this is true. Improper conduct & crimes not being investigated at all will be far more costly in the long run.

I disagree with your conclusion there. It's the type of sweeping statement that might be true like 95% of the time, but as always, the reality is far more complicated than that.

I'll diverge a little bit here for a bit of a history lesson that I think is relevant to the situation. Most people probably remember Brown v. Board of Education from back during the Civil Rights Era. That case was argued on behalf of the NAACP by Thurgood Marshall, who later became a justice on the Supreme Court. Everyone remembers that case for being the one that overturned school segregation and the "separate but equal" doctrine that had existed before that.

Why do I bring this up? Because what most people probably don't know is the level of calculation that Marshall put into preparing for that case. He knew that he was only going to get one shot at what he was doing. If he lost the case, all he would have succeeded in doing would be to establish hostile precedent that would have entrenched segregation further. And given racial attitudes at the time, he knew his case would need to be basically perfect to stand a chance.

Therefore, he was exceptionally careful about his case. He could have brought the case years earlier than he did - there were plenty of people suffering discrimination he could have taken on as a client. Instead, Marshall was patient. He rejected dozens, if not hundreds, of potential clients before settling on Brown. Each one of those passed over clients suffered discrimination at least as bad as, if not much worse than Brown. Each one of them was at least as deserving of justice. However, Marshall chose Brown for very specific reasons:

  • He chose Brown because the family was much more solidly middle class than other potential African American clients. The family was active in church. And where other families tended to have prior police run-ins with racist cops, the Brown family had clean records.
  • Most of the clients approaching Marshall were the mothers of the children, but Brown was the father of the central plaintiff. This allowed him to avoid any gender discrimination by putting a man at the top of the case.
  • Unlike other cases, the school facilities between the black and white children were roughly equal. The only variable in the case was that the children in the case were black, while the other kids were white.

Framing the case in this way allowed him to concisely demonstrate that segregation itself was harmful and discriminatory. Marshall was able to win the case because he was patient. He could have let righteous fury cloud his judgment and taken the first case that came along. Instead, he waited for the perfect set of circumstances precisely because the issue was so important.

Which brings us back to impeachment. Look, I get it. Fighting corruption is important. Doubly so when it's happening at the highest levels of government. The natural instinct is to fight it when it happens. But like Brown, impeachment is a once in a generation kind of thing. It's as much about societal line setting as anything else, and like Brown, what happens is going to set precedent going forward. And similarly to the racial attitudes of the Brown era, the current political polarization means that the Democrats needed to wait for the perfect, easy-to-follow case to stand a chance of winning. Unfortunately, unlike Marshall, the Democrats allowed their self-righteousness to cloud their judgment and they rushed in with a set of circumstances that is confusing to the average voter, in a political environment where they can't possibly hope to win.

This is why impeachment is such a self-defeating thing. While the Democrats might actually believe they're fighting the good fight, when Trump is inevitably acquitted in the Senate, the only lesson that is going to be learned is that "what happened was OK." And if that's going to be the lesson, I think it would have been better to never have started the process in the first place.

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Onemanarmyy

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#31  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@therealturk: I thank you for sharing the Brown v. Board of Education case. I was definitly not familiar with that at all and probably think a bit too light about impeachment compared to how you feel about it.

You look at it as a power that has to be wielded with the upmost care and should only be used when you can nearly guarantee that it will be a complete success or else it will look as a failure & bolster the belief that what happened was completely okay.

i look at it from the perspective that when this power is not used at all despite what we know went down, it will set a precedent that what happened in this Ukrainian case was still not illegal / improper enough for the House to invoke this power. Which means that in the future an offense has to be even more egregious than this one is before impeachment gets brought to the table. While the main reason that this won't be a successful impeachment is the unwavering support the Republicans give to Trump & the make up of the senate in this point in time. Elements that don't necessarily have much to do with the nitty gritty facts regarding the announcement of an investigation into Burisma / Biden & the pending Military Aid shenanigans at all. If people look into this case 100 years later, it would still be easily apparent that the political environment & partisan support was a major factor in how the house & senate voted. More so than the information that was revealed during impeachment. I don't think they would come away with the impression that the conduct that was revealed through testimony was completely above board & lawful. Especially when you have guys like Sondland and Taylor straight up say that they they feel it was completely improper to make Zelensky announce an investigation into Burisma , congressional decisions get unofficially overruled to be used for extortion & you have an non-elected attorney-as-a-microphone spearhead Ukraine policy.

Honestly, i don't know how this will be looked upon in the future but you definitly seem more versed in US history than i am so i'm willing to go with you on this. I just foresee that as the political climate polarizes further and further, removal of a president will become less & less likely as no one from the other side would be willing to provide a 2/3rd majority no matter what happened. Therefore impeachment would become a less powerful tool already . Future house members reading up about an alternative 2019 in which no impeachment took place at all, to me that seems like something that makes them not even consider impeachment as long as both sides won't find agreement on it. Instead just waiting for a time where the republicans & democrats are able to meet eachother in the middle. Or see one party completely dominate US politics i guess. Until that happens, it's open season, no worthwhile investigations & no accountability?

No offense, but US politics seems rotten to the core to me if what we learned the last weeks was not enough to warrant the hearings. I kind of had that impression already on other aspects of the system, but this one is new to me. These hearings are politically inconvenient & toothless against Trump for sure, but still worth bringing to light if you want people to still believe in a trias politica worth voting in. That seems like a bigger issue than wondering whether folk decades later will look at this all as a win or a loss and whether they take in account the political environment & partisan support when they figure out where the societal line for misconduct has to be drawn. I feel like you need to be able to give heat through investigations & hearings or else the unlawful conduct gets normalized and the lack of pushback sets a new precedent in which corruption only gets fought if you can catch the biggest of big fishes with it. The president might be safe from all of this as long as the senate is polarized, but not everyone will be able to walk away unscathed.

Perhaps we're getting rid of some dubious individuals that don't enjoy the support a president has. Perhaps we identify glaring holes in the system through testimony that inspire presidential candidates to plug them up. At the very least, voters might think twice to vote for someone that has previously been wrapped up in shady business of which the key figures have openly told their stories in front of a camera. Surely these impeachment hearings are not as black/ white as either the president gets removed or it was all a waste. It was refreshing to see how open & widely available the impeachment hearings seemed to be and the amount of interesting & useful information that emerged out of it. Not enough to sway the republicans naturally, and therefore not a complete success, but generally a process that citizens should want to be part of the political toolbelt if you care about a seperation of powers balancing eachother. But if all that matters is the amount of same-coloured seats in the senate, impeachment can pretty much get thrown in the garbage because no 2/3th from here on out is going to agree on anything. And that 2/3rd being available + the case being clear enough in today's very complex world to make sense to the common man that only catches 5 min of politics news during the day seems nigh impossible. The executive branch is completely unchecked by the legislative branch in a polarized senate.

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notnert427

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@shorap said:

This impeachment won’t be the reason trump gets re-elected. Democrats and left leaning independents support it, republicans and right leaning independents are against it, and the independents who don’t lean to either party go back and forth because they mostly aren’t as politically engaged and are swayed by whatever headline they happen across.

What’s going to be the main reason trump gets re-elected or not is the dem nominee. A centrist didn’t work last time and that will likely be the same result this time if the nominee is any of the myriad of centrists still in this race because again, giving people something to vote for will energize your party much more than just giving them something to vote against.

I disagree with virtually all of this. Claiming independents are swayed by whatever headline they come across is reductive at best. Frankly, the highly partisan folks inherently tend to just parrot their party talking points and refuse to consider, much less be swayed by anythingelse, so insulting the group that's actually doing research through which to form their own opinions is significantly missing the mark, IMO. I would also contend that independents aren't likely to be particularly "for" or "against" impeachment and are rather considering it a waste of time that's representative of the worst of partisan politics.

Hillary "didn't work" because she was basically the poster child for detached political aristocracy, not because her policies were too centrist (they weren't all that centrist, BTW). I also think people (myself included) vastly underestimated Trump's chances of actually winning. So Democrats didn't turn out as they should have because they assumed they had it in the bag, Independents weren't sold enough on Hillary to really see her (or Trump) as someone they were comfortable voting for, blue-collar America turned out in droves because Trump was the first politician to pretend to care about them, and Trump surprisingly managed to win the electoral college.

The 2020 election should theoretically be a layup for the Democratic party. The vast majority of Democrats decided to straight-up vote "not Trump" long ago. Who the nominee turns out to be is irrelevant there, and turnout from the left is very likely to be significant this time. I'm not even throwing shade at the idea of voting "not Trump", as many in the middle are leaning that way as well based on Trump being generally detestable. However, the Democratic party should, as you said, give people something to vote for. Specifically, the centrists who aren't entrenched in a party and are thus open to getting on board with a Democratic nominee. And yet, this is presently not the focus, and it risks having the centrists simply throw their hands up and not vote if the Democrats just continue bitching about Trump and then hastily toss someone out there on election day who they haven't promoted.

You've unintentionally highlighted the Democratic party's current biggest failure, and that is how insular it is. The dismissive, erroneous assumptions about Independents and the idea that there's a need for a far left candidate to "energize the party" are reflective of how zero thought is given to the world that exists outside of the Democratic party. The Republican party is much the same, and so we have all the impeachment grandstanding. Instead of thinking beyond the far left contingent who are already voting with the party regardless to ask the very important question of which Democratic candidate for 2020 might have external appeal and rallying behind said candidate (or any candidate), the Democratic party is largely busy competing to be the one who hates Trump the most and expects everyone else to be amazed and impressed by that.

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@notnert427: Clinton also had Trump-level negative polling, and still does. She’s super fucking divisive and unliked by a majority of the country (like Trump).

She had problems a lot greater than being a centrist, that lead to her loss.

To beat someone statistically unlikable, DON’T ALSO RUN SOMEONE STATISTICALLY UNLIKABLE.

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@qrdl: That's looking at one half of the problem thought isn't it? If you vote for whatever candidate the party dumps in front of you, you'll end up with an endless line of lame-duck candidates who stand for nothing. At least if you don't give them your vote they might need to exercise some change.

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#35  Edited By shorap

@notnert427: Trump was not the first politician to pretend to care about blue collar people. That has been going on now for a while from both parties to varying degrees.

The Democratic Party used to actually be for the working class but since Bill Clinton and the introduction of third way politics, the Dems have shifted more towards courting the pmc class. Add in the gop, which is even worse, and workers haven’t had a seat at the political table for decades.

”The dismissive, erroneous assumptions about Independents”. This is from a recent pew research study.

https://www.people-press.org/2019/03/14/political-independents-who-they-are-what-they-think/

“An overwhelming majority of independents (81%) continue to “lean” toward either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party.”

“In their political attitudes and views of most issues, independents who lean toward a party are in general agreement with those who affiliate with the same party. For example, Republican-leaning independents are less supportive of Donald Trump than are Republican identifiers. Still, about 70% of GOP leaners approved of his job performance during his first two years in office. Democratic leaners, like Democrats, overwhelmingly disapprove of the president.”

“Yet independents who lean toward one of the two parties have a strong partisan imprint. Majorities of Republican and Democratic leaners have a favorable opinion of their own party, and they are almost as likely as Republican and Democratic identifiers to have an unfavorable opinion of the opposing party.”

”Independents stand out from partisans in several important ways. They are less politically engaged than Republicans or Democrats – and this is especially the case among independents who do not lean to a party.”

I will take back what I said about headlines swaying independents. They sway people across the whole political spectrum.

The reason why a “far left” candidate (only in America) will energize not just the democratic party but the almost half of the population that doesn’t vote is because of policy. Progressive policies travel well across the political divide because they would help the working and middle class, which makes up most of the country.

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The problem here is that Trump absolutely deserves to be impeached for any number of things, but the process exposes how our two party system has caved to politicians over statesmen. It was always going to happen, we just get to watch it in disgusting real time and see just how sycophantic people are.

It simultaneously makes impeachment a necessity and a pointless endeavor. Honestly, it is proof that the Senate is a bigger disaster than the president could really ever be, at least from a procedural standpoint. The president is just one dude that is supposed to be held to a certain standard, but if you have enough ding dongs like McConnell willing to shirk any degree of civic duty in favor of power, the Senate is going to end up calling the shots, for better or worse, on just about anything.

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@darkeyehails:I wrote a long stupid post extolling the virtues of strategic voting, but ultimately decided that it's better to make a simple pragmatic point: you're not going to influence the result of the next primaries to a significant extent by refusing to vote for an insufficiently suitable candidate in the elections. Primary voters will always vote for the person they would like to vote for in the elections proper, period. You'd be justified in saying that they should also vote strategically, but I think that's not possible. The responsibility in the primaries is much more spread out and it's much easier to just vote with your conscience and let the chips fall where they may. Also, primary voters are much more opinionated and confident in their preferences.

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@qrdl: Fair enough. Thanks for the informative answer. I have to admit that the American process is a bit odd compared to what Australians go through, though we seem to end up with some similar problems.

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qrdl

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@darkeyehails: Yeah, in Poland it's much simpler as well, but we end up with very similar compromises.