In case you’re thinking about a career in politics – and if so, there might be something seriously wrong with you – here’s the most important skill you will need to perfect. You will need to know how to count noses.
We have exactly two political parties. There is nothing in the Constitution about political parties, and therefore there is nothing in our establishing document limiting us to two. From time to time a new party starts up and takes its best shot but they just wind up splitting the vote. By way of example, if a person with ideals that tend to appeal to Democrats runs for president, it is possible that the newbie will strip away enough Democratic votes to throw the election to the Republicans, or vice versa.
Remember Ralph Nader? Smart man, good positions on many matters, but unsafe at any deed. He was the Green Party candidate in the 2000 election, and he copped 2,882,955 votes. Given his liberal street cred, it is logical to assume he largely pulled from Democrats. Republican George W. Bush received 50,456,002 votes and Al Gore received 50,999,897. But we do not elect our presidents by popular vote: we maintain an anti-democratic electoral college system where Bush beat Gore 271 to 266.
But there was a hell of a close race in Florida, marred by the famous “hanging chad” scandal. Bush eked out a heavily contested victory and, therefore, won Florida’s 25 electoral votes. Had Nader not have been in the race it is extremely likely that Gore would have taken Florida and become our 43rd president.
I am not condemning Ralph Nader. It was every bit his right to run for office, and by attracting nearly three million votes he did better than most third-party candidates. I’m simply counting noses.
We are stuck with this binary system and the electoral college, and now we are stuck with a traitor whose political bedfellows are several of the most notorious dictators on the planet.
TV’s Donald Trump has broken so many laws and betrayed his nation – but not his ego – so aggressively if we were in a declared war, he would be guilty of treason. The Democratic Party does not want to suffer another four years of being cold-cocked by a political boss whose patriotism is no more apparent than Trump’s. But unlike Trump, Moscow Mitch McConnell knows what he’s doing. He’s intelligent, in the sense that Al Capone was intelligent. Trump works out of narcissism and megalomania; McConnell is driven by his lust for power and control. He stole a Supreme Court seat, and even Willie Sutton couldn’t do that.
But the Democrats’ drive to go Mikado on the president has been stymied by their congressional leader, Nancy Pelosi, who has been putting politics ahead of patriotism in order to protect her powerbase as Speaker of the House. She doesn’t want to lose the House next year, so she doesn’t want to risk Democratic congresspeople from Trump districts to lose to their Republican rivals. This, of course, is aside from her constitutional responsibilities to our nation.
Until this week. Trump publicly admitted he asked a foreign leader to intervene in our 2020 election. Seven Democratic congresspeople who come from districts that went for Trump signing a letter saying, “enough is enough – start that impeachment investigation.” She lost a bunch of noses, and she needed them back.
Like McConnell, Pelosi is a political genius. On Tuesday she backed that impeachment investigation and, now, she looks like a patriot and not like a political hack.
But Pelosi did not convene a special House subcommittee to coordinate the six committee investigations that had been going on anyway – without her approval. She did not establish a timeline for these committees. Here’s the rub: after these committees conclude, all the evidence will have to be collated and approved by the House. As of this writing, those in favor of impeachment need only one more vote to impeach Trump. One, out of 435.
Now, it is unlikely we will have an impeachment trial in the Senate before the 2020 campaign season gets very, very serious. At that point, Trump will be sitting quietly before the Senate across from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts while prosecutors reveal a mind-numbing plethora of well-substantiated charges. For the Republicans, these are very bad optics.
The Senate acts as the jury, and 67 Senators will need to vote to convict. This is unlikely. Senators are notorious for putting politics before patriotism. There are 45 Democrats in the Senate, two independents, and 53 Republicans. Count the noses.
But when it comes to doing all you can to undermine Trump’s reelection, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t need to call in Vlad Putin. A properly timed impeachment trial may very well destroy what little chance the Republicans have to hold on to power.
You see, it’s not those 53 Republican noses that need to be counted. It’s the 156,000,000 noses that constitute the electorate.
Nancy Pelosi might not be as patriotic as one would hope, or even as moral when it comes to stopping a dictator. But she sure is one smart politician.