Impeach This!

We catch up with Gary Gerstle and Helen Thompson about the state of the Trump presidency, from impeachment and cover-ups to Syria and Ukraine. We ask what it would take for Republican senators to desert him and what the collateral damage is likely to be for the Democratic presidential candidates. Plus is Hillary really - really?! - back in the game?


Talking Points:


What are the grounds for impeaching Trump?

  • There’s a legal argument: Trump breached campaign finance laws.
  • There’s also a constitutional argument: that Trump is trading American interests for personal gain.


More specific charges are less open to counter-attack. Politically, it may be advantageous for the Democrats to focus on Ukraine. 

  • But a too narrow charge might not resonate. The Democrats need to make the case that this matters morally and link it to a broader American narrative.
  • Elections are a sacred event in American democracy. 
  • But the U.S. electoral system also depends on a certain amount of corruption to work.
  • Is fear of foreign interference really just displacement?


The chances of a successful conviction that passes the Senate are next to nothing, but they’re not nothing.

  • The latest polls show a modest rise in Republican support for impeachment.
  • Republicans might see Pence as the best way to secure the interests of the party.


A foriegn policy crisis may be what dooms Trump.

  • Republican Senators are furious about what Trump just did in Syria.
  • The Republican establishment can’t pull Erdogan back.
  • But during foreign policy crises, people usually rally around the president.


Biden’s campaign may be collateral damage in all of this. Elizabeth Warren now appears to be the front runner.

  • There doesn’t seem to be a centrist candidate capable of picking up Biden’s banner.
  • Warren poses an existential threat to the Silicon Valley titans. 
  • But she fits into a long American tradition of anti-monopoly dissent. 
  • If Warren runs, and wins, as a candidate from the Democratic left, she would make history.


Mentioned in this Episode:


Further Learning:


And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking

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