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Thursday, November 21, 2019

IDLE THOUGHTS


The House is charged with responsibility for impeachment, but the procedures to be followed are entirely its own.  Nancy Pelosi could, if she chose, make the vote secret.  How many Republican members would vote to impeach Trump if they could do so anonymously?

Personal matters made it impossible for me to watch the debate last evening, but I gather Biden gave another of his cringe-worthy performances. 

Todd Gitlin tells me that Seyla Benhabib and associates have done detailed on the ground studies suggesting that Warren or Sanders would lose large numbers of the suburban voters we need to win, a report that depressed me deeply.  Does anyone know more about this?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't have any intel about suburban voter preference.

Regarding the impeachment hearings, wouldn't it be great if both the House and the Senate could do secret votes, followed by regular votes? Potentially, we'd be able to see in Republicans the quantitative difference between the quiet stirrings of conscience and the pressure to be presidential sycophants.

Charles Pigden said...

The Republicans are like Beria during Stalin’s last hours. Whenever Stalin appeared to be failing and/or unconscious, Beria would curse him as a murderer and a tyrant. Whenever Stalin appeared to be perking up Beria would be fawning on the great leader. Even someone as evil as Beria resented the craven subservience in which he had lived and hated Stalin for his monstrous crimes. The Republicans have to appease not just Trump himself, whilst he continues to exercise levers of power but the base of crazy MAGA supporters which their propaganda has called into being. But like Beria they resent this state of craven subservience, and some of them surely must feel some sense of revulsion at his crimes. Thus they need a safe space in which they are free to be their slightly less slimy better selves. Better to be the Beria cursing Stalin and even acting on his curses, than to be the other Beria, the sycophantic accomplice.

Of course in drawing this analogy I’m not trying to suggest that, ghastly as he is , Trump is in anything like Stalin’s league when it comes to plumbing the depths of human depravity. As of now the number of dead that can be laid at Trump’s door is probably less than 1000.

LFC said...

Two things. First, listening to Schiff's closing remarks just now, on the Trump-Nixon comparison, I wondered if someone on his staff had been reading this blog and the comment threads (not really).

Second, I don't know anything about the suburban voter studies except I was not aware that Benhabib does this sort of study. She's a political theorist whose work, though I really haven't read it, deals w areas/topics like critical theory, cosmopolitanism and figures like Arendt and Habermas, just to name two. So I'd be surprised if Benhabib had been working on this, though I guess it's not impossible. In any case I'm in no position to dispute T. Gitlin if he says so.

David Palmeter said...

I don’t know anything about the study, but the idea doesn’t surprise me. These are suburbs that not long ago were Republican. I don’t know if they’ve moved left so much as the Republican Party has moved right. Many of them have good jobs, good incomes, and good employer-provided health insurance that they want to keep. They’re not economic populists. Warren’s recent wiggle away from M4A until year 3 or 4 of her term is, from my perspective, a politically wise move.

David Auerbach said...

Nixon parallels anyone?

Jerry Brown said...

My guess is that Sanders would gain large numbers of working class voters that Trump actually did use to win in 2016.

Dean said...

I'd love to hear more about the Benhabib studies, not so much for substance, though that's interesting, too, but to confirm they, or some other studies with which they have been confused, do in fact exist. Being a librarian, scholarly communication practices interest me. Did Prof. Gitlin mistake the attribution? Did Prof. Wolff mistake what Gitlin had told him? Even so, I'm not finding evidence of any studies with similar findings.

A quick anecdote: I once helped a well-established scholar update a very old article, in which he cited to an old document, of which he needed a copy. I could not find it, so I pored over the legacy of citations to it. I found two distinct legacies (lemmas, I think they're called in historical bibliographic circles), one to the citation the professor sought, another to a different citation. Turns out the fork occurred when the professor published his old article! He had perpetrated a mistake that has survived for many decades, due in part because subsequent scholars simply relied on his reference without verifying it.

LFC said...

Dean,
This sounds to me more like a study that for example Theda Skocpol might (I emphasize *might*) do rather than Benhabib. I'm guessing and thus could be wrong of course.

Warren Goldfarb said...

LFC's conjecture sounds right to me. Last year Skocpol supervised an excellent senior thesis, "Grassroots Activism and the 2018 Elections In Six Pivotal Pennsylvania Counties" on the background for the flipping of the congressional districts in the Philadelphia "collar counties", that is, the surrounding suburbs, from red to blue. It's just the sort of thing she's interested in.

Jerry Fresia said...

Trump narrowly leads Biden but trails Sanders in head-to-head 2020 matchups http://hill.cm/LVOLUJg

Michael Llenos said...

Whether he did it or not, Democrats are saying that it is illegal for the President to bribe foreign officials, but I think no one is explaining (or even reminding us) in detail what part of the United States Constitution such a law falls under. Most politicians & pundits probably assume that the common layman (or laywoman) knows what part of the constitution that law is located under. (While most average people probably don't even have the interest & energy to look it up.) It was Epictetus, Confucius, and Socrates who said that a common understanding of "terms" is needed before political (or philosophical) debate should even begin. Therefore, I will post the law. Hopefully, so I don't look like a complete fool, I am not posting what has already been posted in the past on this website, but that I am not aware of right now. The following is part of the Public Domain...

ARTICLE. II. Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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