Ever since Democrats took control of Congress, their defeatist caucus has warned of the dangers of challenging Trump. Just focus on passing bills where you can, they counseled, and look ahead to 2020. They explained that impeachment is a terrible idea that will, by some mysterious calculus, transform the most hated President in our history into an electoral juggernaut.
Funny enough, just days after Democrats finally buckled and announced an impeachment inquiry, support for impeachment has jumped ten points in the polls. It will climb much higher as the process advances. This demonstrates a lesson Democrats should learn quickly as they grapple with the wounded, but not-quite-dead remnant of the GOP.
Always punch a bully.
Trumpistan is reeling this weekend because Democrats finally mustered the courage, or merely the frustration, to punch back. Manafort has gone to jail and an endless string of Trump bootlickers have been cast into outer darkness, but none of these setbacks have yet been attributable by the passive, supine Democrats. Until this week, no one anywhere has felt any reason to worry about angering the Democratic Party except for other Democrats.
Republicans have routinely ignored subpoenas. They have lied under oath. They’ve hidden records and defied court orders. Apart from a few expendable criminals at the edges of the Trump orbit, none of Trump’s collaborators has yet faced any threat more serious than the fear of being banished from his presence.
This move toward impeachment is the first tentative sign that Democrats might attempt to exercise some power. Unlike the Democrats themselves, Republicans understand what this means. Like Nazis fleeing the Allied armies, Republican leaders are starting to make some cold calculations about their future. If Democrats find the will to press their advantage, Republican cowards like Romney, Sasse and Rubio who collaborated with this regime to preserve their power will buckle and run.
When facing an opponent who leans on fear and intimidation to wield power, it is always wise to confront them in the most visible and belligerent manner. A bully accumulates power by creating a myth of invincibility. Small, subservient people are drawn to that myth, easily persuaded to perform odious tasks that the bully cannot carry out alone. Those little cowardly people are drawn to the security he offers, and fear nothing in the world more than losing his protection. The worse he treats them and others the more they adore him.
A bully’s real power comes not from his own strength, but from the power he borrows from his menagerie of cheap souls. Bloody his nose and the magnet holding his toadies in place is weakened. Threaten his toadies while the bully is still bleeding, and they will scatter like cockroaches under a light.
This isn’t over by a long shot. Trump’s craven defenders will be looking for any sign of Democratic weakness to steel their shivering spines. But if Democrats hold their will to confront Trump’s mafia, the cowardly Republicans in the Senate might finally find something worse than Trump to fear. As that fear spreads, a Titanic of leaks will emerge, as sniveling Trump toadies cut deals to save their skins. Always punch a bully, and keep whaling on him until someone comes to pull you off.