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Protests against impeachment and mass resistance are needed to defeat Trump



Watergate is the original text of how Americans imagine the defeat of a seated president, but it should not be how one thinks about the impeachment of Donald Trump.

Watergate has been a formative political experience for many of the older Democrats who run the House of Representatives today. And the semi-fictionalized version of the scandal portrayed in All the President's Men in the film is an emotional and intellectual touchstone for many journalists. To this day, it is customary to label the existence of a political scandal by appending "-gate" to a noun, as if "Watergate" had to do with water instead of starting a break-in at the Watergate Hotel.


  A man is watching a copy of the Boston Evening Globe headline about Watergate while watching President Nixon on a small television screen.

President Richard Nixon addresses the country and acknowledges that the Watergate scandal has raised questions about the integrity of the White House, on April 30, 1973.
Bettmann Archive on Getty Images

1973 is a long time ago , The party system, the judiciary and the media environment have developed so far that there are no conclusions about the present time.

American elites rarely seem to do so, but they should take into account the lesson that toppled Mariano Rajoy's corrupt right-wing government in Spain in 2018, the corrupt right-wing government of Park Geun-hye in South Korea in 2017 and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson Corrupt right-wing government in Iceland in 2016: large-scale public protests.

Elected officials in the Democratic Party, like established politicians everywhere, do not instinctively like the idea of ​​popular resistance, but it is not a totally alien concept for them. In the extreme political emergency of 2017, they committed themselves to protest politics. This began with mass demonstrations at airports to block Trump's initial travel ban, and lasted until the women's march. They have been repeatedly seen on Capitol Hill and in the city halls of Congress when many opposed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

A lawless government can not be restricted solely by the institutions of the law. It is a popular mass resistance that creates a crisis point and forces action. And if the Democrats want to beat Trump's stone wall strategy in 2019, they should consider doing it again.

Watergate was a long time ago

Watergate took place under a party system that was remarkably relaxed compared to today. Not all Conservatives were Republicans, and not all Republicans were Conservatives. That was probably the prerequisite for misjudging the president as far as possible from political ideology or orientation.

Erzsegregationisten – mostly Democrats – were open in the congress halls. In the meantime, the main advocates of civil rights were also mostly Democrats, but a Liberal African-American Republican represented Massachusetts in the Senate. Individual members were exposed to overlapping ideological and party-political pressure, and even beyond race the system was loosely organized, and in both parties hawks and doves sat.


Gerald Ford on television during his swearing-in ceremony as the 38th US President on August 9, 1974.
CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

The justice system was also much less polarized. There was no institution like the Federalist Society that organized a coherent conservative right-wing movement, nor was there any ideologically coherent party that would put such a group of judges on the bench.

Meanwhile, the media environment was dominated by three broadcasters whose nocturnal news broadcasts could essentially dictate the "truth" to the mass public.

Defeating Nixon in these circumstances meant winning a series of difficult elite insider games. Historical coincidence meant that a scandal that had nothing to do with Watergate had recently appointed Gerald Ford as vice president. Ford presented a compelling solution to the network newscasts, a powerful but less organized judiciary, and the dissonant conservative Democratic and Liberal Republican factions in Congress. It was difficult to find a consensus that forced the President to resign, and the people who did so are rightly proud of their work.

But none of this is relevant to contemporary politics, just as the unanimous adoption of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 by the Senate has relevant lessons for contemporary climate policy. Today's Congress is much more party-political and ideological, with many members who have no personal loyalty to Trump, but who can be expected to support him through broader party-political and political goals.

moment, you have to reach beyond ordinary politics.

The Doctrine of 2017: Resistance Works

Democrats rose in January 2017 with extremely low formal political power. They did not control the House of Representatives, the Senate or the White House, and Trump's victory destroyed their hopes for a majority in the Supreme Court.

But a large portion of the public was rightly outraged at the ability of an obvious President unable to assume office on the absurd mechanics of the electoral college. His inauguration took place with the largest mass demonstrations in American history, demonstrations that served to deny him the traditional "honeymoon" of public opinion that would have made it easy for him to enforce legislation.

Base resistance organizations began to be formed, many operating under the Indivisible label, with the fundamental aim of maximizing the political price that the Republican Party would pay for each step forward. The climate of resistance has inspired the courts to quash several versions of Trump's travel ban, to keep alive the DACA program to this day, to inspire officials to publish harmful information about Trump's wrongdoing, and to defeat the abolition of the Affordable Care Act contributed.


Pro DACA and DREAMer supporters chain together on March 5, 2018, outside the US Capitol.
Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images for MoveOn.org

Moreover, this type of mass political engagement is not possible separately from the campaign's files or long-term persuasion. A 2010 election poll found that Democrats performed better in hot weather (and thus poor turnout) venues at Tea Party protests.

Separate studies show that Hong Kong's participation in political protests leads to greater political engagement, and that opinions on gender issues have changed after major protests by the women's movement between 1960 and 1992. More recently, protests have taken place after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Freddie Gray in Baltimore seem to have triggered a large and ongoing transformation in the understanding of educated whites for racial issues.

The mechanisms by which protests work appear to be diverse. Part of the impact is due to direct personal involvement, another to the observation of the protests themselves, and another to media coverage, which serves to redistribute the main elements of the protest message. The key to all, however, is that the trouble of showing off to a march is a moderately expensive investment of time and energy. When a bunch of people do that, that's a strong signal to the rest of society that something out of the ordinary is happening.

Democratic Party officials, of course, can not just summon mass protests with a snap of their fingers, but their words and actions matter. If people believe that profound constitutional issues are at stake, they should abandon their aversion to mass politics and use tactics that worked for the progressives before half-time.

Do Democrats believe what they say?

It's no big secret why Congressional Democrats have turned against popular protest. Some party officials believed that the mobilized progressive base pushed them into a tactically dubious confrontation with Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, which contributed to the defeat of several acting Red State senators.

When Nancy Pelosi took office as Speaker of the House of Representatives, she immediately became concerned that pressure from the base would force more and more Democrats to sue Donald Trump. This was for the most part of the year an unpopular idea in public that she did not want to accept. A mass mobilization against Trump would inevitably lead to a stronger demand for the highest possible authority of their majority.

The debate over the wisdom of this tactical decision continues and is unlikely to end. Most importantly, you can see that the situation has changed.

Pelosi has now joined the impeachment and declared two weeks ago that Trump's actions constituted "an attack on the Constitution".

If that is true, the Constitution must be defended. And it would be extremely stupid to believe that Republican senators and judges of the Federalist Society will ride out of the woods to do the work. In recent years, small rallies have been launched in American cities, which is great, but they were modest compared to the 2017 demonstrations, lacked support from major political figures, and played no significant role in people's official political strategy. who are running the impeachment procedure.


Hundreds of activists gather in Times Square on October 13, 2019, calling for impeachment in New York.
Gabriele Holtermann-Gordon / Pacific Press / LightRocket on Getty Images crucial for the elimination of corrupt leaders abroad. If Democrats take the threat that they say is Trump, they must encourage his return.


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