I was talking yesterday to a prominent person about potential steps that might be taken to deal with the fact that the president of the United States is a delusional autocrat, who has no intention of leaving office just because he lost an election he has apparently now sincerely — or “sincerely” — convinced himself he didn’t lose.
I want to refer back here to Jared Yates Sexton’s insight, a few days after the election, that Trump and his enablers were, to use the relevant wrestling terminology, engaging in a “work” that was likely to morph into a “shoot” eventually. This does seems to have happened in Trump’s case specifically, with one result being that the vast majority of Republicans now believe that the election was in fact stolen.
By the way I’m continually struck by the apparent insouciance of some LGM commenters regarding all this. Their attitude seems to be that it’s just one of those quirky little things about Donald Trump that he’s a delusional autocrat who has no intention of leaving office because he now truly — or “truly” — believes that the election was stolen. I mean he can’t stay, so what’s the problem?
The problem, it seems to me, is that neither Trump nor much more important the tens of millions of Americans who now actually do believe the election was stolen are going anywhere for the foreseeable future, so the fact that Trump won’t be president as of January 20th is not the only relevant consideration here by a long shot.
In any case, the person I was speaking with, who doesn’t want to be identified because of their involvement with the Biden transition, pitched the following idea to me: Trump should be impeached again, immediately. (I believe as a practical matter this would have to wait until January 3rd, when the new Congress convenes).
Their argument was straightforward: Trump is still president, and what Trump has been doing to attempt to overturn and discredit the election makes him as much or more deserving of impeachment and removal as anything any president of the United States has ever done, including, remarkably enough, himself. So why not do it? Why not force the Republicans in the House and in the Senate to go on the record in regard to whether they believe attempting to overthrow the government via a judicial and/or military coup is an impeachable offense?
This will not, of course, “work” in the sense that Trump will be removed from office, but it will emphasize that what Trump has been doing for the past several weeks is or rather should be utterly beyond the pale. (The most discouraging aspect of our current political situation is that nothing Trump has done since the election has been surprising in any way, yet more than 74 million Americans voted for him, and it appears practically all of them would vote for him again if given the chance).
What, my correspondent pressed me, is the argument against doing this? It’s a good question.