At the Los Angeles Impeachment March on July 2, thousands marched from Pershing Square to City Hall, calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment for obstruction of justice in his handling of the investigation of his campaign’s Russian ties. It was one of many Impeachment Marches throughout the country that weekend. I was there in the blistering downtown heat, waving a sign, chanting slogans, and hearing Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) speak outside City Hall.
Yes, I and the other marchers believed there was evidence Trump has committed impeachable offenses, and we were exercising our right to tell our representatives to be aware of this possibility. However, I also know that impeachment is unlikely– and possibly not the most desirable thing for the liberal agenda. Ultimately, I learned something much more valuable, regardless of whether Trump is impeached or not: how he can be stopped. Those resisting Trump will need two things: persistence and pertinence.
To find persistence, all you need is something you will never compromise on. If you think Trump is a bad president or that things were better without Trump in office, no matter how strongly, think about exactly what happened to make you realize this. Maybe it was when he imitated a disabled journalist, said a judge should not rule on his case because of the judge’s Mexican heritage, or taunted the Muslim parents of a deceased Purple Heart veteran. Maybe it was when he said there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville, Va. or told hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico they should pay their debts before asking him for help. Whatever that moment was, you have found your cause.
Always remember that you– and the American people– don’t have to stand for any of this. The president playing dice with the environment and healthcare, saying there’s nothing wrong with white supremacy, calling for a ban on Muslim entry into the country, or dismissing sexual assault as “locker room talk” is WRONG. It only will become the new normal if you let it. Separate your loyalty to the values the office of POTUS represents from any loyalty to Trump, and soon enough he won’t even have that title.
You don’t have to “accept” Trump because we elected him president– on the contrary, because he was elected to his office, he can be removed just as easily, and should be if he is harming the people.
At the march, we weren’t driven solely by our (very reasonable) concern about Trump’s possible collusion with Russia. We each brought our own personal fire to the march, the cause we would never abandon. We chanted not just “He lies, he cheats, Donald Trump must be impeached!” but “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here!” and “We stand with Standing Rock!” The passion for our causes brought us together despite our different focuses, just as much as the Russia investigation did.
However, dedication is not enough to unseat Trump; liberals must be pertinent to sectors they’ve lost. That is not to say mainstream Republicans don’t have it even worse– most recent polling showed that Americans prefer Democrats in control of Congress by about 8-10 percentage points. Even Trump now has a historically low approval rating in the high 30s; and approval ratings below 40 percent in the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. But, the Impeachment March certainly had problems being pertinent, and Democrats cannot afford to make any mistakes. The march tried to be pertinent by its status as not just an anti-Trump rally, but a march specifically concerning his alleged Russian ties. However, just like early reports of Watergate didn’t help Nixon’s opponent George McGovern in 1972, the Russia investigation still might be too remote. It won’t win over the lower and middle-income people in key swing states who have become so crucial to both parties.
Two issues Democrats must emphasize more are taxes and healthcare. These issues affect everyone immediately, the political and the apolitical– everyone notices a tax increase, everyone fears needing long-term care that insurance won’t cover. Unlike other causes (like gun control or abortion rights), these are not issues Trump has managed to stigmatize as liberal ones to conservative-leaning voters in these areas, especially since his own views on both are purportedly divergent from the unpopular GOP establishment.
In 2018, Democrats must show exactly why that is not true. Trump is currently supporting a GOP-proposed tax plan that, being GOP, tries to hide a massive benefit for the richest Americans behind a comparatively tiny benefit for the middle class. Taxes for many middle class people would increase in the long-term.
Trump has supported Obamacare repeal bills that the nonpartisan CBO has said would both take away healthcare from millions and raise long-term premiums. Obamacare has insured more people than ever before while shielding most of its recipients from premium hikes, yet Trump has placed the market in peril simply by threatening to end it, putting the people at risk to keep to the party line. With him having cut key subsidy payments, access to insurers might be even more imperiled (especially in rural parts of Middle America that the Democrats must win back).
Even if there are enough people like those at the march to vote Trump out of office (which is doubtful), those outside one’s central base should never be ignored. Not because, as Trump is now finding out, that results in a tenuous hold on Washington, but because it’s just not right.