By Alan S. Chartock | December 15, 2019

The major question now is this: should the Democrats head toward a quick impeachment vote or should they let Donald Trump and his team of obstructionists continue on their two-faced policy of stalling the impeachment vote by dragging it out in the courts.

There is no question that Trump and his fellow Republican travelers are trying to stall the process. They are pretty transparent. On the one hand, they say that they will not cooperate with the Democratic led House of Representatives by allowing the House to subpoena and/or call witnesses. On the other, they are arguing that the Democratic led House does not have the information it needs to bring its charges. Frankly, the strategy is infuriating but to some degree it is working. People who should know better, including at least one former judge, are perhaps unwittingly supporting the Trump subterfuge. To Trump, this is the whole ball game. The guy knows that his chances of going to jail after he leaves office are pretty good so by hook or by crook, he’ll desperately try to stay in power.

If the House waits until the various cases compelling witness production get to the Trump-loaded Supreme Court, it will be too close to the election to impeach the man who so deserves it based on his lies and contemptible actions that have been proven beyond a scintilla of doubt. Make no mistake about it — our whole political and constitutional system is at risk here. All of this was anticipated by the founding fathers who knew exactly what a tyrant could and would do after achieving power in the form of the Presidency. As for the high court, once again we are treated to the insult of judges turning out to be no more than political hacks. It’s as if there were no such thing as right and wrong. We have, for example, Trump’s own notes of a telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky which prove his bribery attempt for personal gain.

Trump has basically argued that he is above the law. His Attorney General supports that view. That’s the way dictatorships begin. Trump has tried to bluster his way through it all. His ”bring it on” attitude, buttressed by his argument that he has done nothing wrong and that he will be acquitted by the Senate, seems to be refuted by the Republican colleagues who seem scared to death of the looming impeachment. I would not want to be one of those Republican Senators, caught between a rock and a hard place. They certainly know what Trump is trying to do and that he will viciously turn on them if they raise any real questions about his misbehavior. They are putting themselves at grave political risk. I truly believe that they are creating a situation that will lead to Democratic control of the so-called upper house. They are trapped. The Republican base loves this guy, not only for his personal antics but because Trump sees those who are most associated with privilege about to lose their control. Increased access to medical care, food stamps, and most of all control of the Congress are just too much for a lot of them to bear. We are talking about children here. Taking their food away is just part of a larger strategy; a concession to greed.

As long as the stock market stays where it is or keeps growing, Trump is in good shape. The “haves” are in control in this country and aren’t about to give all of that up. Trump has to ride this out and if the Democrats can’t find a moderate candidate like Mike Bloomberg or Deval Patrick, they are headed to defeat. When Trump is impeached the battle lines will indeed be drawn. The House is right to move ahead with all deliberate speed.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].