Tom Fulks

Salud Carbajal did the right thing — finally — in supporting Trump’s impeachment

Our congressman should be commended for publicly supporting impeachment the day before the most recent mass killings began.

He took his time, but Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, did his duty, joining other patriotic House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into the most dishonest, corrupt president in American history.

Constitutionally, the House’s power to impeach is the last remaining American institution available to deal with Trump’s ongoing criminality while president. The Justice Department is compromised by Trump enforcer Bill Barr. The federal courts, packed with Trump sycophants by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell, can’t be called impartial.

At one level, it doesn’t matter if the Senate refuses to convict Trump for his crimes and treacheries. Even when Trump skirts conviction by supine Senate Republicans, the House will have done its duty. History will judge it thusly.

If the House ultimately fails to impeach, however, we should admit defeat: The rule of law and quaint notions such as a democratic republic with equal power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches are dead. The Trump cancer metastasizes.

Lawless as Trump is today, it could get worse. Imagine Trump losing the 2020 election in a close vote, with scattered county vote tallies in battleground states subject to recount and the Supreme Court hovering like the hanging chad drama of Bush v. Gore in 2000.

Does anyone believe Trump — again claiming the American voting system is “rigged” — would leave office voluntarily if a recount goes against him, knowing he faces criminal charges and possibly jail the instant he walks out the White House door?

Barring an indisputable Electoral College landslide, does anyone believe a 5-4 Supreme Court wouldn’t hand him the election, even if he lost the popular vote by 5 million votes or more?

In coming out for impeachment, Carbajal has tackled the foremost moral and legal issue of our time. He’s made an ethically courageous decision and, fortunately — unlike some Dem colleagues in swing districts — Carbajal is on safe ground politically.

His 24th District provides a 9.5 percent Democratic voter registration edge — 38.6 percent vs. 29.2 percent Republican — with 32 percent either declined to state or minor party. In 2016, Trump lost SLO County (comprising about 40 percent of the district) by 8 points, Santa Barbara County by 28 points.

Trump supporters here are in the minority, which may account for the belligerence and obnoxiousness by some on social media, particularly The Tribune’s Facebook page.

It’s puzzling how anyone who claims patriotism, morality and adherence to the rule of law continues to support Trump, given his most recent exhibition of shark-eyed self-aggrandizement and narcissism.

Lacking any empathy for mass shooting victims and their families in Ohio and Texas, Trump bragged about how excited some Dayton hospital staff were to see him, turning the visit into a campaign commercial. He boasted of his campaign rally crowd size in El Paso, where all eight hospitalized shooting victims refused his visit.

That same day, the first day of school in Mississippi, Trump’s immigration jackboots rounded up some 680 undocumented meat processing workers, leaving hundreds of orphaned children homeless, continuing the disgraceful, sickening cruelties of family separation. At least the kids weren’t caged or died in federal custody, and the plant operators who hired the workers weren’t arrested – both Trump Era norms.

Our nation is awash in hate crimes and white nationalist-inspired mass murders, inspired by a president who denies white nationalism as more Americans die at the hands of young, white countrymen than by any foreign foe. If this doesn’t make Trumpism a threat to national security, nothing does.

The most effective way to reject Trump’s insidious white nationalism — as well as his caging children, jailing citizens without due process, dehumanizing political opponents by calling them vermin, obstructing justice, ignoring the separation of powers, doing the bidding of Russia in American domestic and foreign policy — is to remove Trump’s political support at the root of American democracy.

Beyond voting against Trump next election, we need to be voting against any local elected officials who support him.

If they don’t support Trump, they should say so publicly. Their silence broadcasts they’re part of this cancer.

Come Election Day, March 5, 2020, let’s excise locally elected Trump supporters from the body politic.

Tom Fulks writes about current events in SLO County and beyond from a liberal perspective. He’s a former reporter and serves on the local Democratic Central Committee.

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