I have been consistently and forcefully inveighing against wasting time and energy on impeaching Donald Trump. The main thrust of my argument has been that while our Chief Executive — i.e. the President of the United States — is certainly very powerful and we can expect Trump to do a lot of damage, targeting him directly is the least effective way to halt his diabolical agenda. Rather, a truly progressive Congress, one representative of both the needs of everyday citizens and the greater good of the country, could isolate him and counter one-by-one all of his fiercest dictatorial efforts to dismantle democracy and further the self-serving agenda of the ruling class. As an example, if the orange autocrat signed an executive order permitting fracking on school playgrounds, Congress would pass a law prohibiting fracking on school playgrounds. If he signed an executive order banning bicycle lanes, Congress would pass a law authorizing bike lanes. You get the idea.
Recognize . . .
An enlightened Congress would be a bulwark against the broader agenda of the neoliberal juggernaut, the war mongering militarism of the neocons, and the rule by fiat of the rich and powerful. An enlightened Congress could legislate what the country wants and needs, in spite of an antagonistic, uncooperative White House, and could even put an end to the anti-democratic meddling and chicanery of the Deep State.
Unfortunately, my appeal for “regime change” in Congress has fallen on deaf ears. Maybe the piercing din of shrill cries for the Trumpster’s ouster have drown out my call for cooler heads and what is obvious to me is a more sane and effective approach. Or maybe a lot of folks just never bothered to pay attention in high school civics class, thus don’t understand the way our government actually works.
But I haven’t given up. The only genuine, permanent fix to our ailing system is replacing at bare minimum 450 of the corrupt pay-for-play corporate lapdogs currently seated in the House and Senate.
That is a given and nothing anyone can say or do to distract us can change that fact.
However, a very sobering thought just occurred to me. I hope it will wake folks up.
What is the line of succession for the presidency?
That is, if Trump is impeached, who will replace him?
That would be Mike Pence, the Vice-President. Pretty scary thought!
If Mike Pence is impeached, who replaces him?
None other than Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ugh! Even scarier! Here’s a man whose insensitivity and cruelty to the everyday citizen makes Ayn Rand look like Mother Theresa.
Then if Paul Ryan is impeached, who replaces him?
And if Orrin Hatch is impeached, who replaces him?
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Yep, the drill-baby-drill former CEO of Exxon-Mobil. We probably will see fracking in school playgrounds if he becomes president.
If we are not suffering from impeachment burnout, and Rex Tillerson is then put on the chopping block, who replaces him?
Former Goldman Sachs CIO and hedge fund manager, now Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin! Perfect. Maybe he’ll streamline the monetary system and just have the investment banks print money for themselves instead of the U.S. Treasury.
So . . . are you getting the picture?
Granted, Trump is an easy target. But impeaching him accomplishes nothing. It merely sets up month-after-month, year-after-year of more impeachment hearings. What Trump represents will not go away just because he does. As they say in sports, their bench is very deep.
What’s the solution? Where do we channel our rage? What will truly turn things around and start to fix this unbelievable mess?
Regime change in Congress is the only option and the only viable place to focus our time, energy and creativity. There are 33 Senate seats and 435 House seats up for grabs in the 2018 election. That’s where our power resides. That’s how we achieve genuine change. That’s how we turn our nation around.
I see little redeeming value in returning any of the incumbents to office. That’s just me. Citizens need to decide for themselves. But recognize, we need to start this right now. Waiting until next year will be too late.
How do we decide?
I have proposed — for over four years now — a simple solution.
Decide what we want done. Present candidate contracts which specify what we want done.
There’s a lot of critical issues to choose from: Social Security, Medicare; minimum wage; taxing the rich, eliminating tax loopholes and corporate welfare; reducing the military, ending pointless wasteful wars; electoral reform (e.g. Citizens United and term limits); rebuilding roads, schools, communities; guaranteeing good K-12 education. We can even probably add student debt relief, truly universal single-payer health care, home mortgage relief, and a few others to this list.
Most importantly, there is an enormous amount of agreement among the vast majority of citizens on these key issues. Having said that, the candidate contract is entirely flexible and can be configured to reflect the unique priorities and will of the voters in each congressional district and in each state where there is a senatorial contest.
The underlying principle, however, is the same . . .
If a candidate signs the contract, he or she deserves our vote. Simply because at least on the issues which are covered by the contracts, WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WILL GET DONE. The candidate contracts are bulletproof, ironclad guarantees of representation!
No excuses. No compromise. No negotiation.
On the other hand . . .
If a candidate waffles, slithers, slides, and avoids discussing and signing the contracts, we then know they are “business as usual” types — i.e. full of wonderful-sounding but empty rhetoric, peddling deceptive campaign promises, but when they arrive in Washington DC they forget us, the very people who voted them into their cushy jobs in our nation’s capitol.
If a candidate will not sign on the dotted line, he or she does not get our vote.
This concept is simple, straightforward, powerful.
No contract = no vote!
This is how we take all of the guesswork out of voting.
So . . .
Dumping Trump is a satisfying thought but it will not get the job done. Impeachment will take enormous time and energy, monopolize all of the resources we need to achieve real reform, and just set the stage for the next autocrat to push the agenda of the ruling class.
There is only one realistic option . . .
A truly representative Congress is the key — the only sensible, effective path — to restoring some semblance of democracy in this country.
But let’s make no mistake about it. We have an enormous struggle ahead of us. But every journey begins with a few single steps. Every action and all activism begins with ideas.
Described in detail in two recent books are my ideas for how we conduct a bottoms-up, community-based, grass roots campaign for restoring democracy in America.
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