Polarization Does Make Impeachment Harder

I think Paul Krugman is partly correct here (boldface mine):

The G.O.P., by contrast, is one branch of a monolithic structure, movement conservatism, with a rigid ideology — tax cuts for the rich above all else. Other branches of the structure include a captive media that parrots the party line every step of the way. Compare the coverage of recent political developments on Fox News with almost everywhere else; we’re talking North Korea levels of alternative reality.

And this monolithic structure — lavishly supported by a small number of very, very wealthy families — rewards, indeed insists on, absolute fealty. Furthermore, the structure has been in place for a long time: It has been 36 years since Reagan was elected, 22 years since the Gingrich takeover of Congress. What this means is that nearly all Republicans in today’s Congress are apparatchiks, political creatures with no higher principle beyond party loyalty.

But there’s a second problem. In a less polarized era, there were enough Republicans who wouldn’t lose everything if Nixon were impeached (or forced to resign). Liberal Republicans wouldn’t see every policy they liked want go up in smoke. Yes, they could lose majorities and policy might be pushed somewhat leftward.

But today, if you’re a Republican–which, as Krugman notes, means you’re a movement conservative–if Trump is impeached, you lose everything: anti-abortion federal judges, the ability to kill the ACA, all sorts of regulatory rules, the ability to massively tilt the electoral landscape in your favor. As importantly, most Republicans will gain nothing. Impeachment, and its consequences, would be a devastating blow to their agenda (mind you, this is a good thing).

So they won’t break until they are less likely to have their agenda move ahead with Trump than without him. And I’m not sure I see that happening anytime soon.

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2 Responses to Polarization Does Make Impeachment Harder

  1. elkern says:

    I agree with the Title of this post, but not some important details.

    Trump is NOT a “Movement Conservative”; he’s a Trumpist, with no coherent framework beyond his own whims. If he is impeached, Pence would be much more reliable. The current chaos in the White House actually slows down the GOP agenda, by distracting Congress. And no one can be appointed to anything until Trump is convinced of their fealty (to him, not us), so the traditional process of restacking the Bureaucracy has ground to a halt. Yay!

    The thing the GOP would lose is the fig leaf of Populism. Their agendas – Tax cuts for the Rich, criminalization of abortion (and birth control…), deregulation, etc – are not really that popular, and they know it. The “populist” wing of the GOP is people who bask in the reflected glow of Trump’s attention, which they mistake for respect. Impeaching Trump will piss ’em off, bigly, and will lose them some seats in 2018. That’s the reason they hesitate.

  2. Tom_b says:

    The thing is, if you remove Trump SOON (and maybe Pence and Ryan, depending on what they knew, when), the Base won’t remember who any of them were, come 2018 midterm time (remember what you are dealing with: little-hat mini-fascists and opium addicts). Drag it out, and you still end up with (maybe?) Orrin Hatch in the White House, but all the increasingly juicy Trump dirt will have defined the Republican “brand” (such as it is) for two whole years!!!!

    Cut your losses sooner rather than clutching onto a non-floating turd in a storm. There’s “negative Nate” going on: in the Fall, people lied to pollsters, leading to an undercount of Trump support; now, they lie that they still have faith in the imbecile.

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