On what is likely to be Impeachment Dismissal Day, I want to say something important about what we (meaning all ordinary, goodhearted, well-intentioned Americans) ought to do going forward, regardless of whether your political views are liberal or conservative.
The core problem here is how divisive and partisan our two-party system has become. You may be cheering the dismissal if you’re a Republican, but if the parties were reversed, and an investigation into a Democratic president’s suspicious activities was squashed by a simple majority of Democratic senators, you’d be going ballistic. And I wouldn’t put it past Democrats to do this! This is what happens when a two-party system gets too toxic, and everyone in Washington puts their party over their country.
I have a plan to fix this by 2024. I really do. Of course, a lot would have to happen, and everything would have to break right, but I don’t know anyone else who can say they have a plausible, realistic plan to eliminate the core problem afflicting our politics in less than 5 years. Everybody else is too committed to the “keep fighting really hard for our liberal/conservative values and somehow, one day, magically, we’ll win” strategy (if you can call it that) of politics.
But here’s the thing: we *have* to still have a democracy in 2024. Even if my most optimistic (or *your* most optimistic) timeline for fixing our political ills plays out, it’s not going to happen in time to affect the 2020 election. That election is still going to transpire within this toxic two-party system that splits the American people in half and generates even more animosity and hatred.
We have to make it to 2024 with a functional democracy. And what’s happening here–a house of Congress dismissing an impeachment charge without even a semblance of fairness–is a horrible precedent. Who knows how many more times this is going to happen, now that it’s happened once. Who knows who’s going to be in office between now and 2024 and take advantage of knowing they simply can’t be removed from office as long as their party controls one of the houses of Congress, no matter how flagrantly they break the law.
You’re going to vote for Trump or the Democratic nominee in 2020. You aren’t going to throw your vote away on a third party. That’s inevitable. I’m not trying to stop you from doing that. What I want you to do is start thinking to yourself: “*Within* this two-party system, I’m a Republican or a Democrat. But *beyond* that–beyond this forced choice among the lesser of two evils–I *don’t* support this two-party system. In fact, as soon as a more plausible alternative emerges, that I can cast my vote for without feeling like I’m throwing my vote away … I’m ready to kick this bitter, harmfully divisive two-party system to the curb.”
This is a bad day for American democracy. But it’s not the end. Check out my book. And do whatever you can to keep our democracy in place beyond 2020–so that we can work together across party lines to eliminate the many threats to it in 2024…