President Donald Trump himself has praised Putin’s response as “very smart” on Twitter to the Obama’s administration’s sanctions against Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose on his security clearance application that he met twice with the Russian ambassador. Jared Kusher, a West Wing senior advisor, met with a high-ranking Russian banker, who graduated from the country’s spy academy and has close ties with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The Trump administration’s ties to Russia buttress a liberal hope for impeachment. His financial ties to his busineses could violate the Emoluments clause, which prohibits him from accepting foreign gifts or payments. Also, many believe that his close talks with Russia could constitute treason, another constitutional violation. For once, we can sit back and forget about marching in the streets — Congress can just do its job and impeach him, right?
Not really — especially because impeachment is a political process, not a judicial process. Not only would the House have to impeach the president by a majority vote, but the Senate would have to convict him by a two-thirds majority.
“It might be considered shameful behavior,” said H.W. Perry, a constitutional law professor at UT. But charges like bribery and treason are “difficult to prove,” he said.
Instead, we must do what we can to hold Donald Trump accountable directly by fighting for the people a Trump era will leave behind. Activists and organizers must continue to press Donald Trump on the issues, even if they aren’t in the forefront of the news cycle.
“If we’re going to win elections and win our base, we have to remember to talk about issues that affect people on a daily basis,” said Huey Rey Fischer, an organizer who has worked on numerous Texas city council races.
With many anti-gay elected officials at the federal and state level, resisting Trump could start by supporting the queer community. Speak out against the Republicans in the Texas Senate, who voted to allow county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. Demand that the Census Bureau count LGBTQ people when 2020 comes around. Follow up on activism with donations to the Human Rights Campaign. Call and write congressmen like Smith, who derisively called marriage equality a “massive social experiment.”
And that’s just the start. Healthcare, affordable housing and education are issues heavily influenced at the local level. Do you want more funding for higher education, which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to decimate? Do you want Ken Paxton, Texas’s attorney general, to stop suing a city over trying to cut down waste through a plastic bag fee? “They are not going to be motivated by Russia,” Fischer said of voters. “They will be motivated by losing healthcare coverage.”
These voters will decide who will represent them in 2018 and in the 2019 Texas legislature. A more moderate/progressive Congress and Texas legislature can stop many of Trump’s fantasies from becoming law. Mobilizing the president’s opponents through voter registration phone banking and door-knocking will get them to the polls to vote.
It doesn’t hurt to press Congress for impeachment. But pressing for the ousting of complicit Trump-supporting Republicans by working on the grassroots level will yield better results than pining for an impeachment hearing that may never happen.
Wong is a Plan II and government senior from McKinney. He is a Senior Columnist. Follow him on Twitter @calebawong.