Donald Trump may finally be on his way out. After an unidentified CIA whistleblower shed light on Trump’s abuse of power, Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against the president on September 24. The House of Representatives will vote on articles of impeachment to send the case to Senate for trial. So far, Trump has been accused of promising a meeting and military aid to Ukrainian President Zolodymyr Zelensky in a quid pro quo exchange for a political investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country. Although previous investigations have shown no wrongdoing on the part of Joe or Hunter Biden, Trump has attempted to use his position to dredge up dirt against a potential political opponent in the 2020 election.
Two goons in the Oval Office. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
With a second CIA witness now coming forward to corroborate evidence against the president, there is a high chance that he will be charged. Trial would commence and, although the Senate is controlled by Republicans, Trump’s fate is up in the air. As much as we want to see him out of the presidency, what would his removal from office actually mean? And are we really okay with relinquishing power to Mike Pence?
Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that Trump’s erratic and irrational decision-making has polarized the country, but his voter base remains steadfast. He has been pushing the idea of a “political witch-hunt” since day one (1), and a failed impeachment attempt by Democrats would only strengthen his narrative. Still, Trump may have cast doubt on Joe Biden’s past. His campaign will be tested, and with Warren now leading in the polls, we have yet to see how this will affect his chances in 2020.
Although core conservatives will back their president without question, Moderate Republicans are struggling to support Trump. His actions reflect on the GOP as a whole, and swing voters may start to lean further left as a reaction to this horribly run administration. Democrats and moderates will steer clear of voting for any candidate, presidential or otherwise, related to Trump. The impeachment process will only strengthen the democratic candidates’ “I can defeat the evil Trump” message and make congressional incumbents push to hammer out even more far-reaching policies to counteract his regressive regime.
However, if by some miracle the Senate votes to convict Trump, our country will be left with Vice President Mike Pence at its helm. Conservative, religious, and a champion of the dangerously heteronormative “traditional marriage,” Pence serves only to divide this country. For example, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- which would be the first bill to outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation -- has been introduced in nearly every Congressional session since 1994. Every year that Pence has served as a senator, he has voted against the measure. As Governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed businesses to refuse to serve queer people on religious grounds. He failed to recognize the discriminatory nature of the act, only amending it after activists staged massive protests and businesses threatened to boycott Indiana. He was also instrumental in the Trump administration’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
His time as second in command paints a similar picture: he has been trying his entire political career to take down Planned Parenthood (one of the largest providers of healthcare to women and transgender people in the nation). His rationale was to remove funds from institutions that “promote the spread of HIV,” which is how he chooses to refer to all queer friendly organizations. Mr. Vice President has also funded groups that attempt to change people’s “sexual behaviors,” effectively supporting conversion therapy (and never once refusing that he does, in fact, support conversion therapy). With a thick history of discrimination under his belt, Pence is ready to lead our nation to pre-Stonewall levels of bigotry.
Despite his track record of atrocities, is Pence any worse than Trump? Their ideologies match in many ways, and they would likely run a similar administration. The main difference is image: Trump will make news headlines every single day. He is a loud, polarizing figure that allows his emotions and biases to seep into everything he does. Pence will not have many different ideas, but he will stay out of the limelight. He is obviously a much more competent, level-headed person and, to many Americans, this will signify an eagerly awaited return to normalcy. People may stop paying attention now that the president is no longer a reality TV star. Now more than ever, apathy is beyond dangerous. Pence’s boringness could be a way to sneak a homophobic, far-right conservative back into the White House.
In any case, the impeachment inquiry has served to further polarize voters. While it negatively reflects on Republicans as a whole, Trump’s unwavering voter base is certain to view this as another political witch-hunt by the Democrats. Left-leaning voters and politicians are becoming more and more fed up with Trump's unpredictable behavior. To a majority of Americans, it is finally time for a new president, and anybody would a step up from Donald Trump. Mike Pence may seem like an acceptable solution, but underneath the veil of a mild-mannered Midwestern man lies another homophobic bigot. He could symbolize a return to pre-Trump politics, or he could be another wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. It is up to us to remain vigilant and protect our rights. It is up to voters to choose a leader that will take us in the right direction. It is up to you to care enough to vote and stop another Donald Trump from ever taking office again.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confronts Trump in a room of the White Houses's finest cis white men. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.