What to do when a President is a Traitor

Stephen Rockwell • 22 July 2018
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We confirmed this week, what most of us know, but some of us were afraid to say.  The President of the United States is a traitor to his country and is certainly compromised by Russia and its dictator in some significant way.  He openly colluded with Russia, ripping into our allies in NATO and the UK and then before the whole world in Helsinki saying a nary a cross word to a Russian dictator who is doing his best to draw the world back to a 19th century pre-liberal world order.  Putin manufactured a willing accomplish whether through financial entanglements, kompromat or both in Donald Trump.  The question is what are we going to do about this clear and present danger?

The Republicans in Congress largely spoke out against the President's Russia forcing the President to retract his support of Putin over his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but have yet to indicate that they will go much further in tying the hands of the President in doing more damage.  It will likely take hard evidence produced by Special Counsel Mueller for Republicans in Congress to think about doing anything against Trump.  

Of course what he deserves is much different.  Former Republican Steve Schmidt called for Congress to censure the President to demonstrate their strong disapproval.  This is the ideal tactic because it sends an unambiguous message to Trump, to Putin and to our allies, that the nation will not be moved from the liberal order of democracy and rule of law that the United States established at the end of the Second World War.  A censure would also be a building block on the way to impeachment.  When the President brings the nation further into alignment with Russia, censure won't be enough and impeachment would then have to be debated amongst the the Republicans.

Democrats could in the Senate demand a vote on a censure resolution with language that their Senate Republican colleagues have already used to decry Trump's behavior.  If there was any backbone at all they would slow business to a crawl demanding a censure vote.  Stalling tactics should already be employed in order to push the Supreme Court hearings off.  Democrats in the Senate won't do this of course because they seemingly lack the political courage to employ the one tool they have to stop business, the Senate filibuster.  Perhaps if you they don't get a censure, a compromise on legislation that imposes more painful sanctions and beefs up security of US Voting systems can be extracted.  Nothing can't be an option for Democrats and if its looks like Republicans aren't going to act, than obstruction is absolutely necessary.

Activists immediately went into full swing greeting the President at the White House on Tuesday with chants of treason and traitor.  However, I have heard some on the left almost pooh-pooh the notion of getting so caught up in a treasonous President when so many other bad things are happening in America.  I could not disagree more.  Trump has perpetrated a whole host of evil policies and ending his Presidency.  While a more expedient dismissal from office would meet the policy interests of progressives, more importantly the underlying principles are those worth fighting for.  For all the problems of the liberal world order, a much worse set of outcomes existed globally for the rest of human history.  Fighting for democracy in its various forms over a world run by Kings and Dictators is worth it.  Fighting for liberal, inclusive democracy over the growing threat of ethno-democracy with a reinvigorated racism and xenophobia, is worth fighting for.  Indeed, Obama's speech in South Africa this week was in many ways making this same case about what is at stake in the global struggle.  

Liberal democracy over the last 40 years has meant too much inequality and the Western powers still too easily go to war, but Trump is attempting upend NATO which has kept Europe at peace for the longest stretch in the history of Europe.  Trump fans the flames of racism, xenophobia and homophobia just at a time when we were making progress on issues like gay marriage and certainly younger generations have become more diverse and more tolerant of differences.  There is still much to be hopeful for, but we have to got to barrel though this time period constraining Trump.  The fate of the Republic is in doubt like at no time since the second world war.  

I am reminded that coming out of the Constitutional Convention, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy?"  "A republic," replied Franklin, "if you can keep it.”  Trump colluding with a foreign adversary right before our very eyes leaves us all in doubt whether this republic will in fact be kept.  The founders warned us about these types of self-aggrandizing demagogues who only care for themselves and not the nation or their fellow citizens.  One man cannot be allowed to wreak such damage on so much that we hold dear.  The next few months will be the most consequential for the survival of the Republic in our lifetimes.