Or… Why the Democrats Need to Impeach Trump

Excluding a smattering of anarchists who live in their parents’ basements, there’s pretty broad agreement that a core government function is the protection of individuals’ rights. Among the most basic is the prosecution and punishment of those who violate the rights of others. At the top of this list are violations against one’s person, including murder, rape, and battery. We punish these violators by depriving them of their rights, i.e. by putting them in prisons for periods of time, as punishment. And, as visible deterrence for those who haven’t yet done harm to others but are thinking about it.

Leftist darling and it-girl Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she of countless “huh?” and “WTF!?” moments, offered another head-scratcher in a tweet advocation for the abolition of prisons. While excessive incarceration is a real problem in our culture, ending punishment-via-incarceration entirely is, well, mind-boggling. I was left briefly dumbfounded when I read the article that detailed this latest bit of progressive agitprop.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, and consider that she was speaking of too many prisons and too much incarceration, and indeed she did say “close many of our prisons” (emphasis mine), but there is apparently a prison abolition movement that has been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, and she is their standard bearer (sorry, Bernie).

Prisons are not good places. They’re not supposed to be. While society is obligated to keep them humane, and to treat prisoners humanely (and there’s much work to be done in that regard – beatings and rape should not be part of incarceration), captivity is a punishment, not an unfortunate result of social injustice or whatever other word salad one might come up with. It absolutely serves a purpose in even the freest, most libertarian and minarchic societies. Do something bad, and you get punished for it by having your most basic rights taken away for a period of time.

In this prison abolition movement, we see the same ‘different rules’ leftist playbook, as in Orwell’s “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Some people’s rights are to be subordinated in order to benefit others, and here we see the wacky idea that those who violate others’ rights should not be treated as they have throughout human history i.e. via incarceration. This goes beyond even the normal identity politics games of elevating those in “oppressed” and “victim” classes above others, to head-scratching alternate-universe illogic. I can only attribute it to reflexive contrarianism.

It suggests a mindset “if the other side condones doing X, we must oppose it.”

It’s bug-nutty, and it badly obscures what should be the real focus of prison reform: the punishment and over-incarceration of people for victimless crimes. Instead of saying “lets lay off the drug users and sex workers,” it’s “murderers and rapists are people, too.” It’s as if there aren’t enough identity groups in the victim column, and they’re casting about for more and more.

Not to be outdone, apparently, Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently promised to ensure that male-to-female trans criminals are only incarcerated in women’s prisons. One might wonder how biologically female convicts feel about this, but as the Left demonstrated in its prioritization of trans high-schoolers over cis, if you’re a woman who feels uncomfortable being naked around women with penises, you are the problem. Furthermore, anyone who claims not to immediately see the problems with this is engaging in willful self-delusion.

This is just one of countless examples of head-scratching policy and promises that the Party’s taste-makers are advancing ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. The party’s platform is in thrall to a fairly small rabble of extremists whose every idea and pronouncement involves ending the principles and practices that made America the wealthiest nation in the world. From the Green New Deal, to the socializing of health care, to free everything and absolution of debts freely entered into (paid for by taxing “someone else who has too much money anyway”), to the confiscation of millions of gun owners’ firearms, to the subordination of rights of hundreds of millions to tiny minorities (who absolutely deserve equal rights but do not deserve preferences that infringe others’ rights) to, now, the elimination of punishment for wronging others, to, to, to… the list of way-out proposals being embraced by virtually the entire pack of Democratic Presidential hopefuls seems endless.

Trump’s long string of unforced errors, his boorishness, his destructive trade war, his utter disinterest in the deficit and the debt, his ham-fisted mishandling of the border refugee problem, and numerous other elements should make it easy for a challenger, even a Democrat, to peel off moderate and conservative voters. Bill Clinton tacked to the middle after his 1994 mid-term election wipeout, co-opting the most popular ideas set forth by the Republicans, made them his own and reinvented himself as a centrist, won handily in 1996, weathered a scandal, got away with perjury, and retired as a very popular President. The play book is there, and open to the right pages. All a Democrat has to do to win the White House is present as a moderate and sane alternative to the Untethered Orange Id.

The Party’s screaming banshees, unfortunately, have shown little interest in merely winning the White House. In fact, given their behavior, it seems less important to them than proving themselves to be superior in every way to the disgusting, deplorable, unwashed masses who don’t recognize their genius. How else to explain all the aforementioned bat-shit madness being proposed by the likes of The Squad?

Despite all the shortcomings of his platform from a genuine pro-liberty and small-government perspective, Trump would waltz to re-election were the contest solely about who’d do what to and for the country. In practice, Trump has not deviated particularly far from what Republicans have been either promising or doing in the past couple decades. A sloppy but within-bounds center-right agenda vs progressivism run amok? Voters would pinch their noses and re-up the Id instead of handing the reins to today’s Democratic Party.

The smart Democrats know this, and so they realize that, since policy is no longer under their control, their path to power lies in distracting the voters from policy, via the “impeach him at any cost” circus that’s been running for three years. It all boils down to winning the fight for public opinion, and they have been relentless.

Does Trump deserve to be removed from office over the latest allegations? I haven’t reached a personal conclusion. He certainly hasn’t earned my fandom since his first year (tax cuts and deregulation = Good Trump, trade wars and immigration follies = Bad Trump) But, deserts almost don’t matter here, because impeachment in this instance is being used as a proxy for a feature that doesn’t exist in our system i.e. recall. Trump may or may not be guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the metric set forth for removal, but even if he’s innocent, the Democrats will not yield in their pursuit.

Why?

Because they need to do this to stand a chance in the 2020 election. If they don’t destroy Trump sufficiently in the eyes of voters, they’ll lose, badly, on the issues.

Because bug-nuts and bat-shit only sell to idiots, fools, the naive, and the gullible. Yes, there are a lot of idiots, fools, naifs, and gullible folks out there, many of them highly educated, but past history has shown us that they’re not in and of themselves a large enough bloc to put the Dems’ current platform into the White House. Therefore, the Democrats need to tip the scales, and that’s the subtext of the impeachment effort.

Again, this has nothing to do with the actual merit of the assertions at the heart of this particular impeachment push. Trump, to his discredit, could have leveraged this obsession much better, simply by being a more measured executive, even if he continued to “punch back” as his acolytes love. His trade-war wildness, his terrible handling of the border crisis, his ham-fisted presentation regarding the Syrian withdrawal, and many other bad ideas and missteps have undermined the goodwill he built his first year and accrued with low unemployment and a solid economy. In other words, he’s helped the Dems quite a bit in this. And that’s before we discuss potential misdeeds and actual impeachable offenses, which are a separate matter and not relevant to today’s point.

It is beyond question that impeachment is a political tool, and its outcome will be rooted in politics and fought in the court of public opinion. That it’s virtually a necessity that the Democrats carry this process out is a direct result of the extreme departure from sanity forced upon them by a handful of snake oil sellers.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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