Here’s why you shouldn’t expect impeachment anytime soon

  1. A substantial part of that base voted for Trump as a rebuke to the very people who hate him so much.
  2. Another sizeable faction doesn’t particularly care for Trump but likes to see him appointing conservative judges and being more assertive with China.
  3. A third faction is made up of staunch party loyalists who think they should stand by their team. As long as those three factions line up against impeachment — and right now, they overwhelmingly do — Trump will stay firmly seated in the Oval Office.

So the question for impeachophiles is “how many of those voters can be moved?” The die-hard Trump supporters probably can’t be, but the other groups are potentially at least persuadable. That brings us to the question of how to persuade them. And to Justin Amash, the Michigan representative who just broke ranks with his party by calling for Trump’s impeachment.

..In that scenario, a defector such as Amash is essential: A single defection assures impeachment-curious Republicans of company on the other side of the aisle. Once one brave soul breaks ranks, the defections start to snowball into an avalanche as opinions shift among the Republican voters who still shape their political positions around signals from their party’s leaders.

That scenario is also why you shouldn’t expect impeachment anytime soon.

.. Trump’s transgressions, by contrast, were almost immediately overhyped as hard evidence of an active conspiracy with a foreign power. Now that’s been downgraded to possible obstruction of justice, and public attention is bound to wander. Nor will it be easy to remove the president on a purely procedural charge without proving an underlying crime. Just ask the Republicans who futilely impeached Bill Clinton.

Moreover, as 2020 creeps closer, the argument strengthens for just letting voters sort things out. Republican politicians would certainly regard that course as the least likely to prompt a primary challenge. And to state the obvious one more time, that’s the course they’re going to take.

Democrats are about to have to pay up

Before the ink was dry on our new tax bill, outraged blue states were screaming about the cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes. Their governments were also frantically seekingways around it, and small wonder. For decades, high-tax states with a lot of wealthy residents enjoyed a hefty subsidy from the rest of America.

.. Over the past few decades, the United States has undergone “the Big Sort,” the clumping of the electorate into demographically, professionally and politically homo­genous neighborhoods. Clinton voters have their Zip codes, and Trump voters theirs, and ever more rarely do the twain meet.

.. No, the money for American-style social democracy is all supposed to come from the rich. “I’ve been frustrated with liberals,” says Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center. “They really do just want to raise all the revenue from rich people, and they don’t understand that that really constrains what they can do in terms of financing the safety net.”

.. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will keep promising big new programs with laughably inadequate financing mechanisms
.. Blue-state professionals have enjoyed a disproportionate share of the prosperity gains over the past few decades; if they want a bigger government, they’ll have to give up those gains to fund it.

We Live in Fear of the Online Mobs

Internet shaming spreads everywhere and lives forever. We need a way to fight it.

.. James Damore, the author of the notorious Google memo, has had his 15 minutes of fame. In six months, few of us will be able to remember his name. But Google will remember — not the company, but the search engine. For the rest of his life, every time he meets someone new or applies for a job, the first thing they will learn about him, and probably the only thing, is that he wrote a document that caused an internet uproar.

.. Try to imagine the Damore story happening 20 years ago. It’s nearly impossible, isn’t it? Take a company of similar scope and power to Google — Microsoft, say. Would any reporter in 1997 have cared that some Microsoft engineer she’d never heard of had written a memo his co-workers considered sexist?

.. Even if the reporter had cared, what editor would have run the story? On an executive, absolutely — but a random engineer who had no power over corporate policy? No one would have wasted precious, expensive column inches reporting it. And if for some reason they had, no other papers would have picked it up. Maybe the engineer would have been fired, maybe not, but he’d have gotten another job, having probably learned to be a little more careful about what he said to co-workers.

.. Rarely would someone’s notoriety follow them if they moved to another city.

.. Back then I saw Twitter as a tool for building social bonds. These days, I see it as a tool for social coercion.

.. Forager bands do not have or need police. They have social coercion so powerful that it is just as effective as a gun to the head. If people don’t like you, they might not take care of you when you’re injured, at which point, you’ll die. Or they won’t share food with you when your hunting doesn’t go well, at which point, you’ll die. Or they’ll shun you, at which point … you get the idea.

We now effectively live in a forager band filled with people we don’t know. It’s like the world’s biggest small town, replete with all the things that mid-century writers hated about small-town life: the constant gossip, the prying into your neighbor’s business, the small quarrels that blow up into lifelong feuds. We’ve replicated all of the worst features of those communities without any of the saving graces, like the mercy that one human being naturally offers another when you’re face to face and can see their suffering

.. Without the tempering instincts of intimate contact, without the ability to exit, it looks a lot more like brute, impersonal government coercion — the sort that the earliest and highest U.S. laws were written to restrain.

.. Given the way the internet is transforming private coercion, I’m not sure we can maintain the hard, bright line that classical liberalism drew between state coercion and private versions.

.. I find myself in more and more conversations that sound as if we’re living in one of the later-stage Communist regimes. Not the ones that shot people, but the ones that discovered you didn’t need to shoot dissidents, as long as you could make them pariahs — no job, no apartment, no one willing to be seen talking to them in public.

Sexual Harassment Is Invisible to Half the Population

So men need to gather some data and empathize rather than just extrapolating from personal experience.
.. No, when I say “harassment,” I’m talking about … well, this is a family column, so actually, I can’t repeat most of what I’m talking about. But let’s just say that when you are on your knees under someone’s desk in order to check the network connection, and the owner of that desk starts a sentence with “while you’re down there,” he has not inadvertently stumbled over some near-invisible social line he wasn’t aware of. The sort of men who make these remarks don’t do this kind of thing because they think it is all right; they do it because they can get away with it. That is the kind of abuse that Carlson and others are alleging.
.. But I was surprised to find that Rivera actually thought “I’ve never seen any sign of it myself” was relevant to the question of Ailes’s guilt or innocence. Does Rivera consider himself so irresistible that anyone with the potential to sexually harass would be sure to sexually harass him? Like he’s some kind of canary in the sexual harassment mine? “Oh, don’t worry about Roger; if he were a lech, I’d be the first to know.”
.. I was shocked when a black friend told me that clerks followed her around stores. What she said was completely alien to my own experience. But after she told me, I did observe it happening occasionally. Previously, presumably, I had not noticed, because it wasn’t happening to me.
.. We don’t need to believe that all cops, or even most cops, abuse their power, to understand that as soon as power is created, it will be abused by at least some of the people who wield it. And if those people perceive that it is wiser to target black men than middle-aged white women, the middle-aged white women will have no idea that this is going on, while the black men will grow to see every cop as a potential threat.
.. “Most sexual harassers are men” is not the same statement as “most men are sexual harassers.”  And the righteous majority of men, or police officers, probably has more in common with victims of sexual harassment, or victims of police brutality, than with the perpetrators.