The 11 September 2014 Gallup Poll report shows that Americans are turning against the Democratic Party just months before the upcoming November elections. The answers to the survey question that has always correlated the most with which Party gained or lost how many House seats, in mid-term congressional elections, now overwhelmingly favor the Republicans. This question is: “Looking ahead for the next few years, which political party do you think will do a better job of keeping the country prosperous?” In 2010, when Republicans gained a record 63 House seats, they enjoyed an 8% edge on this question. Their edge now is one point higher than that, 9%.
This Gallup report also finds that there is a record-breaking 55% to 32% margin, or a net 23% advantage, favoring the Republican Party, on their other key question: “Looking ahead for the next few years, which political party do you think will do a better job of protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats?” That question also correlates highly (though not as highly) with each Party’s gain or loss of House seats. In 2010, Republicans had a 7% edge on that. So, Republicans gained 63 seats when the public favored their Party by 8% on the economy and by 7% on defense; and now Republicans are favored by 9% on the economy and by 23% on defense.
Both the economy and defense are actually primarily the responsibility of the President, rather than primarily of Congress. But (and other polls also confirm this fact) the mid-term congressional elections are largely determined by the rub-off of the President’s Party-label onto the congressional members of his Party. The reason Americans don’t like congressional Democrats is mainly that they don’t like what Barack Obama has been doing as President.
In other words: on both the economy and defense, Republican candidates now enjoy the far better brand after 6 years of the “Democrat” Obama occupying the White House. The albatross dragging down the fortunes of congressional Democrats is “Democratic” President Barack Obama himself.
There is thus only one way possible that the Democratic Party can avoid losing both houses of Congress to the Republican Party (and all polls currently do show that both houses of Congress — both the House and the Senate — will be ruled by Republicans as a result of the upcoming November elections). That way would be for the Democratic Party itself, in effect, to announce that despite much of President Barack Obama’s liberal rhetoric, his actual decisions and actions as President now make clear that he is not really a Democrat at heart, but that he has instead been, all along, a closeted Republican — far too conservative in his Presidential decisions for him to be a Democrat — and so to introduce onto the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution to impeach him for having violated his Oath of Office (which he has actually done in many ways, such as by his protecting Wall Street at the expense of Main Street via blocking prosecution of Wall Street megabank criminals, etc.).
As I have previously documented, there is now a stronger sentiment in this country to impeach President Obama than there has been to impeach any recent U.S. President at a similar stage in his Presidency, except for Richard Nixon. The reasons for impeachment would be different this time: Obama did no Watergate, but Obama’s record is certainly highly impeachable, perhaps even more so than was Nixon’s (who quit when it became clear that Congress would remove him from office). (George W. Bush, of course, was also highly impeachable, and one of the reasons why Republicans lost 30 House seats in 2006 and 21 more in 2008 was that congressional Republicans stood with, instead of against, that criminal President.)
Impeachment is the only accountability that a sitting President has. It is not a judicial proceeding, but instead a political one. It can be, and has been, initiated for political reasons (such as was the failed Republican attempt to remove the Democrat Bill Clinton), but if Democrats were to initiate it against an even nominally “Democratic” President, the reasons will be real and not political, though the political impact would be absolutely enormous, history-making, and even Gargantuan. The point here is that this President must be impeached, because there is no other form of accountability for a sitting President; and because this President has actually broken many laws, and has not merely driven the nation even farther to the right than it was under his predecessor, the declared Republican, G.W. Bush. Furthermore, unlike all previous impeachments, this one would not be tainted as being political, if the President’s own nominal Party introduces it.
The public might not want Obama to be impeached if a Republican initiates the proceeding, but if a Democrat does, then this would not only be historic, it would also bring about the real and substantive political debate that this country has long needed and never yet had: What does my Party actually represent?
If the Democratic Party represents what Obama has done, such as to seek to cut Social Security benefits while all of the income-increases are going to only the richest 1%, and to prosecute the fewest cases ever against Wall Street fraud (and doing this after the Bush-era’s orgy of precisely such frauds), then two conservative Parties co-ruling this country are two too many, and congressional Democrats will deserve to go down to humiliating and shameful defeat in November. But Republicans won’t then deserve to win. And that’s the problem.
However, if Democrats instead introduce the bill to impeach President Obama, then all of the existing polling on the upcoming November elections will be thrown topsy-turvy. This, and this alone, could well salvage the Democratic Party, redefine it as the real Party of principle, a party that really does stand for the progressivism of FDR and JFK; and — above all — avoid the catastrophe of having a closeted Republican (Obama) sitting in the White House during 2015 and 2016 signing into law tons of bills that have passed two Republican-controlled houses of Congress, which is the way things now are headed: a far-right-ruled America.
There is only one way that even possibly could avoid that outcome. But it will take one courageous and principled House Democrat, perhaps Alan Grayson, to do it. If that courageous person, whomever he or she might happen to be, salvages the Party in 2014, then who would immediately rise to become the progressive challenger to Hillary Clinton in 2016? That person has been disturbingly quiet until now, on the one issue that’s to determine this Representative’s place in American history. And if there is no such person, then fasten your seat belt for the wildest far-right ride that this country has ever experienced, which is now set to begin in January 2015. Committed Republicans will love it: they’ll be able to perpetrate unlimited damage while Democrats will get the blame for it. Only aristocrats and their fools will then vote for either Party. But democracy in America will then be over, anyway: this will become an outright fascist dictatorship.
The Democratic Party is now in the Emergency Room. Is there a surgeon in the House?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.