Samuel Moyn’s oped, “Impeachment isn’t the answer to America’s political crisis,” might seem radical at first glance, but on closer inspection, it’s a modernized version of leftist analysis that in its earlier iterations in the second half of the 20th century provided argument — the system is rigged and the two parties are corrupted and evil — to left and progressive minded people to sit, albeit righteously, on their electoral hands, while right wing extremists electorally ascended to power. This ascent, beginning in the late sixties and gaining momentum and scope with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, continues to this day, but in a far more dangerous form and with far more dangerous consequences for the country and world. Indeed, unless challenged by a diverse, multi-class, majoritarian coalition, a descent into a long era of right wing, white nationalist, anti-democratic rule is probable.
But, luckily, in the present impeachment battle that has taken a favorable turn in the past week and in the elections next year, the democratic minded majority has the opportunity, if seized, to deliver a body blow to the very heart of this existential threat to humanity. And in doing so, create the political space and conditions for a new march down Freedom Road.
And yet one would never know this from reading Moyn’s oped. He seems more preoccupied by the possibility of Democratic Party centrists and elites getting a free pass at this moment than seizing the moment, via the impeachment process and ballot box, to settle accounts with Trump and his fellow right wing authoritarians. No wonder I hear a remixing of an old, discredited song in the oped of the distinguished professor of law and history at Yale. To paraphrase Marx, first time it’s dangerous, later on it borders on idiocy.