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1/ Ok, this is a thread on impeachment. I think there are good reasons to be in favor of it. I also think there are good reasons to be cautious. I'll talk a bit about both arguments. And, generally, I hope we stop yelling at each other about it. . . .
2/ The best *pro-impeachment* argument is that it is the right thing to do, both in terms of justice *specific* to this situation &, more generally, our democratic norms. Underlying this argument are two assertions, both of which are compelling. . . . .
3/ 1st: We must hold a president to account using all the tools at our disposal, no matter what the political cost

This assertion concerns impeaching Trump for obstruction of justice, committed while he was in office.
4/ 2nd: We must have a full public account of Trump’s actions & also RU interference in the 2016 election. This account is even more important given we are about to have another election in which there will likely be interference & acceptance of such interference from Team Trump.
5/ In support of both points: impnt hearings will be more visible 2 the public than scattered hearings throughout committees. Impnt hearings could also create a more coherent narrative of Trump’s wrongdoings AND RU interference than disparate info that comes out of committees
6/ So what’s the argument against impeachment? Most of them pertain to 2020: If people can make a case that the political cost of impeachment is, in fact, Trump’s re-election, that is a good counter argument

& even if you DON'T find it compelling, you shouldn't yell @ ppl who do
7/ This argument goes: Even if impeachment is the “right thing” in absolute terms, it may not be the best action to take in relative terms.. . . .
8/ If (and I say IF) impeachment could be linked to helping Trump’s re-election, it could, in turn, be linked to 4 more yrs of Trump, which means 4 more years of violence & racism + further erosion of democratic norms.
9/ So then we move into the territory of people making arguments vis a vis this point. Not "is impeachment right in absolute terms?" but, "will impeachment help Trump and hurt Dems & thus be relatively harmful?"
10/ I see good, logical arguments on either side, namely, that impeachment could help OR harm Trump vs. Dems in the 2020 election
11/ However, although these arguments are very reasonable given what we know about the electorate, there is very little empirical evidence, imo, to strongly support one *in opposition* to the other. I think, in fact, both probably describe things that will actually happen.
12/ Let’s try it out: Impeachment hurts Trump, helps Dems: How?

We win the election w/ base turnout, including young voters who can tend to be disaffected and will be fired up by impeachment.
13/ We also win the election by chipping at Trump’s voters in the middle: mainly, white, middle/upper income white voters who tend to be more moderate and/or lower-info. Perhaps a fully televised impeachment hearing could help us w/ these voters, as well as others.
14/ So, the other side of the argument: Impeachment helps Trump, hurts Dems: How?
15/ 1st: Why are we so convinced that impeachment will really budge the numbers *that* much? Esp w/ moderate voters in swing states? Trump's independent #s have shifted, but even after child separation, he's kinda steady.
16/ We're really counting on very small shifts here, one way or another, not big ones. And I don't know that we have any reason to believe that evidence of his criminality will be the winning factor over, say, "Why are Dems so hysterical?" OR vice versa.
17/ Then, importantly, the media will act as an equalizing force here

You cannot count on the American MSM to say, “clearly Trump is a criminal”

The more evidence of his criminality mounts, the more the MSM will ding Democrats to bring them into neutral balance

Never forget:
18/ “So, Democrats are impeaching Trump for obstructing an investigation into Russian interference, but is there any evidence Trump actually helped that?” "Well, the Senate just didn't find the evidence compelling enough." “What we really learned is that Trump is a fighter.”
19/ All of this is affected by the fact that none of the crimes or misdeeds are easily understood if you’re not super tuned in. Trump didnt rob a bank. He obstructed an investigation into a set of misdeeds (or crimes) that there’s no conclusive evidence he originally committed
20/ I think it’s pretty clear that this is how the media will cover impeachment. And I think this falsely equalizing coverage will interact w/ the fact that Trump’s crimes/misdeeds, tho EGREGIOUS, are complex & somewhat difficult to elucidate.
21/ So, I think it’s logical to argue that such coverage could hurt Dems w/ people in the middle. However, like I said before, it’s also possible that these same folks might be more swayed by objective evidence of criminality.
22/ Both arguments about the political effects of impeachment make sense.
Neither is backed up by that much direct empirical evidence, imo, but both make sense in terms of what we know about American politics.

I think both probably describe events that would happen.
23/ One area where I do think the “impeachment could hurt us” case comes out on top is in the fight for the House&Senate. A lot of the House seats we are fighting for are in mod or red districts. The Senate map is possible, but is also VERY red.
24/ So, all of this is to say, I think we all agree that impeachment, in absolute terms, is the right thing to do. In relative terms, the answer is less clear, specifically w/r/t the election. There is a lot of uncertainty.
25/ I suspect, at the end of the day, BOTH arguments are correct. Impeachment will help us w/ some voters and hurt us w/ others. Some swing voters will be affected differently than others. What we don’t know is how the numbers will shake out.

Respect each other’s arguments!
26/ Oh, and one more thing: please don’t say, “it doesn’t matter what the political cost is, we should do the right thing.” B/c, if the political cost is “4 more years of Trump” in the mind of your interlocutor, then statements like, "who cares about POLITICS?" are meaningless
27/ No one is making the political cost argument against impeachment for selfish reasons. Everyone is making it b/c, just like pro-impeachment people, they do not want four more years of lawlessness and violence and horror.
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