No, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. Donald J. Trump has dodged the impeachment bullet just as he dodged the Mueller Report.
He may feel emboldened to continue to ask others to dig up on his opponents; to continue to look the other way as Russian trolls do dirty work for him; to continue to require Republican politicians to
swear fealty and kiss his pinkie ring. He will continue to rant-tweet.
But he can’t dodge the election.
The American public is appalled by his lying and coarseness. His approval rating is 40 percent while his disapproval rate is 52 percent. His reelection support is 40 percent versus an unnamed Democrat getting 50 percent.
Even though Trump denies it happened, 50 percent of Americans believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and 73 percent believe Russian interference affected the outcome. Meanwhile, 47 percent of the public believes Trump lied about trying to strong-arm Ukraine to aid his reelection.
Just 31 percent of Americans like him as a person or say he is trustworthy, while 44 percent believe he is racist. All in all, 54 percent of the American public believes Trump is unfit to be president.
These numbers, from The Economist/YouGov Poll of Dec 28-31, 2019, show Trump is vulnerable.
Yes, the Electoral College is tilted in his favor. Yes, the Republican Party engages in voter suppression in dozens of states. Yes, Trump has tons of money to advertise and buy supporters. Yes, the path to victory over him will be difficult, but it can be navigated.
But first, one other set of numbers has to be addressed; numbers from the YouGov Poll – confirmed by the Census Bureau.
In the 2016 presidential election, 39 percent of registered voters didn’t vote. That means two of every five registered voters stayed home. Of the 250 million registered American voters, 139 million voted while 111 million did not. Two common reasons cited are, “politicians are all corrupt,” and, “my one vote won’t matter anyway.” Back to that later.
By party affiliation, the U.S. is 28 percent Democrat and 28 per cent Republican. 41 percent are independents – and those split in half when asked how they lean. The playing field appears relatively level, while in fact it is tilted a bit to Democrats.
Only one state has more registered Republicans than Democrats – Wyoming, the least populous American state, with three Electoral College votes.
This is the path to every successful election campaign – get out your voters. Everything else in play, from advertising dollars to policy proposals, count for nothing if your voters stay home.
Democrats are not doing the work needed to win in the right places, but Republicans are. Clinton received more popular votes in 2016, but Republicans turned out more votes where they mattered.
What can you or I do? What can Democrats across the nation do?
We can each identify one Democratic or sympathetic independent voter and get them to the polls.
Start working on it now. Ask friends, neighbors, and family members if they voted in 2016. You probably have a clue who they would have voted for. Talk to them now. Talk to them frequently. Find out whom they might like and why. Encourage them to participate in primaries.
Pick them up and drive them to the polling station. Buy them a cup of coffee afterwards. If you’re a resident of safe states like New York or California, work on friends and relatives in swing states like Pennsylvania or Arizona. Vote early by mail at home and go there to take them to the polls. It’s worth the effort.
One more thing. Don’t waste your time attacking Trump. Devote your time and energy to helping one person become motivated to vote for someone and something positive. Get one Chicken Little to cross the road and head to the polls.
Larry Bennett, recently retired Brewery Ommegang creative director who is active in local causes, lives in East Meredith.
The bloodbath-cum-circus in Washington these days? It awakens memories. Of how a notorious American ambassador handled a similar brouhaha – the Clinton impeachment.
He deployed a simple device. With it, he brought a certain order to the mayhem of the thinking of his friends. In one stroke he turned their murky thinking to crystal
clarity. I am certain he would use the device today.
G. McMurtrie Godley – “Mac” – retired to Gilbertsville from his distinguished career in our diplomatic corps. The Clinton impeachment proceedings had saturated the nation’s air, airwaves and print with debate and downright wrangling: He said this. No he didn’t. He did this. No. It is not important. It is vitally important. He broke the law! Rubbish!
The arguments raged in offices, bars, coffee shops and millions of homes. They certainly raged in Mac’s home. Where he entertained retired diplomats galore. Along with great and lively minds from academia to business to government.
His dinner parties were often bedlam. That was the case with parties during the Clinton impeachment. That is, until he daubed a four-foot sign and draped it over his television for all the combatants to see. HE LIED UNDER OATH!
“HE”, of course was President Clinton. And clearly, he lied to a judge in a federal court case. He committed perjury.
Case closed. To Mac this ended all discussion of the Clinton impeachment. He believed there was nothing more to consider.
Our president had taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend our laws. He was the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. He had violated one of our most sacred laws. He had lied to a federal judge after swearing to tell the truth.
Mac’s sign hit me like a bucket of ice water. It had the same impact on his other friends. It sobered us to a reality we all knew. A reality we had overlooked in our debates. The reality that truth before a judge is utterly essential. As essential to the running of our country as gas is to our car’s engine. To perjure is to dump sand into the fuel tank.
Mac, by the way, had voted for Clinton. He contributed to his campaign. That did not matter. Once he learned Clinton lied under oath the president became a pariah to the old ambassador.
For me, Mac’s sign floats above today’s debate concerning the intel agencies and their spying mess. This was criminal. No, it was an innocent mistake. They did this. Nah, that’s an exaggeration. I read the IG report and it said this. Well, I read it and got exactly the opposite impression.
Whenever I see Comey, Clapper or Brennan on my television, the sign flashes: HE LIED UNDER OATH.
Each lied. That much is clear. People can argue over a hundred other issues. They cannot argue that these guys did not lie under oath.
Not important? It shouldn’t matter? After all, everybody lies. It’s only politics. It was an attempted coup. Rubbish!
People said the equivalent during the Clinton impeachment. Hey, it was only sex. It didn’t affect his job performance, did it?
Mac devoted his working years to serving this country. To him, oaths were sacred. To violate an oath was unthinkable to him. Anyone who did so instantly sullied his own character. A person who lied under oath no longer deserved to be trusted. Every other of his or her activities would be under a cloud, in Mac’s view.
The other part is: By voting for President Trump’s impeachment, is freshman Congressman Anthony Delgado, D-19, endangering his chances of reelection?
Yes, said Otsego County Republican Chairman Vince Casale: “He’s going against the majority of the will of his constituents, against how they voted in 2016.”
Regardless, Delgado had to do what he believes, said Otsego County Democratic Chairman Aimee Swan: “Regarding impeachment, we think that Congressman Delgado is doing a great job communicating his reasoning to the voters and we believe that he will continue to have the kind of broad support that got him elected.”
The U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to vote Wednesday, Dec. 18 – this edition went to press the night before – on two articles of impeachment against Trump, and Delgado announced Sunday the 15th that he would vote for both articles.
His colleague to the north, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi of Utica, D-22, reached the same conclusion, but it was a tougher one: In 2018, He had very narrowly beaten the incumbent, Republican Claudia Tenney, 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent, and she’s challenging him in 2020.
Delgado has a little more breathing space: He beat incumbent Republican John Faso by a lesser margin, 50.4 percent, but Faso’s margin was winnowed to 46.2 percent by Green and Independent candidates also running in the 19th.
So far, Delgado is facing a Republican challenge from Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tony German of Oneonta, former commander of the state National Guard. And perhaps a more formidable one: Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who ran for governor last year. Casale said to expect news about formidable entries “after the first of the year.”
Hartwick College Poly-Sci Professor Laurel Elder agreed with Casale and Swan’s formulations, summing it up as follows: “We know it’s a very divided district; there’s no way he can please everybody.”
Harkening back to 2018, however, she recalled that several Democrats in the Congressional primary were significantly to the left of Delgado. If he hadn’t stepped forward on impeachment, he might have provoked a primary next June.
“There’s energy in the wings of the party,” she observed.
Regardless, Delgado (and Brindisi) fall into a category that is generating a lot of interest: Democratic congressmen elected in 2018 to districts – some, like the 19th, are being called “purple districts” – that supported Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump won the 19th by 6.8 percentile points, to Delgado’s 4.2. (In Otsego County, Trump’s margin was greater, 51.85 percent to Clinton’s 40.72 percent, or 11.13 percentile points. In 2018, Delgado won 48.97 percent of Otsego’s votes; Faso, 48.47 percent, or 0.5 percentile points.)
Since, statistically, members of Congress are most vulnerable when running for reelection after one term, a counter-sweep next November could put Congress back in Republicans hands just in time for the 2021 reapportionment that will follow the 2020 Census.
An indication of that significance: Both national newspapers, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, had reporters shadowing Delgado the week leading up to his announced he’ll support impeachment.
The Journal’s Natalie Andrews reported Delgado being greeted by “vote no on impeachment cries” and a single “yes on impeachment” cry on arriving at a Town Hall meeting in Highland, Ulster County. She spoke to voters similarly split on the congressman, although they all seemed to like him.
Echoing what Aimee Swan said, The Times’ Emily Cochrane said voting for impeachment “had made it all the more important for Mr. Delgado and Democrats like him to find ways to show voters they are getting things done in Congress, which is why he is crisscrossing his district through flurries, working on local issues and connecting with constituents.”
And why Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled Wednesday’s impeachment vote between votes on muscular legislation, one to fund the government, the other on the new NAFTA.
Fifty protesters gathered in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this evening in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, which may be voted on by the House of Representatives tomorrow. Above, Alice Lichtenstein, Becca Brooks, Elayne Moser-Campoli and others flash their signs as passing cars while organizer Amy Pondolfino, right, read selections from Congress’ Articles of Impeachment, which charge the President with Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power stemming from charges that he withheld military aid as a means of pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to perform favors for him. The crowd followed by singing seasonally inspired songs like “‘Tis The Season For Impeachment.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
To the Editor:
You ask in last week’s edition: “Is Congressman Risking His Reelection Over Impeachment?”
Antonio Delgado states that he made his decision to vote for an inquiry into articles of impeachment because he “…took an oath before God and his fellow
citizens to uphold the Constitution of the United States.” That’s what we elected him to do.
We didn’t elect him to leave his conscience and good judgment at home and do whatever it takes to get reelected in 2020.
Congressman Delgado hasn’t stopped serving our Congressional district well.
Headlining reelection spec-
ulation over a single issue a year in advance doesn’t serve anyone’s interests.
To the Editor:
Re: West Davenport & Mike Zagata versus Fly Creek & Adrian Kuzminski!
Thank you, Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta, for giving us both sides of the impeachment debate.
Impeachment tests our constitutional system of government: When the executive and legislative branches so disagree as to freeze governmental action, impeachment calls us to the third and fourth estates:
Our present impeachment process is likely to be resolved by:
►the U.S. Supreme Court, (beleaguered, but representing the Constitution), and/or
►the free press representing us, the people.
So, FJ & HO, please keep up the discussion until we, the electorate, better informed, can resolve it…probably next fall, at the ballot box!
Or, as Mao put it: “Let many flowers bloom!”
(Mao probably didn’t mean it, the soil in a one-party state being so inhospitable to a free press.)
We mean it, our soil still being fairly fertile… thanks to your newspapers, and other worthy representatives of our “fourth estate”!
NICHOLAS CUNNINGHAM, M.D., DrPH
The House of Representatives doesn’t need to prove that a president committed a crime outlined in the federal code to pass articles of impeachment. They instead impeach based on whether the president committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as outlined in Article II, Section 4 of the US constitution.
…In all, former prosecutors told Insider, there are at least four areas where Trump could face legal jeopardy.
►Illegally soliciting campaign help from a foreign government
The most obvious way in which Trump could have violated the law is by soliciting material campaign aid from a foreign government, which expressly violates the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.
The second area of potential legal liability for Trump relates to his request that Zelensky do him a “favor” right after mentioning how the US “does a lot for Ukraine,” and more importantly, after Zelensky raised the issue of US military aid right before Trump requested he investigate Biden.
Third, Cotter said, if Trump “in fact used government funds for his own gain, then there is a very strong argument that there is a theft of taxpayer money, or misappropriation, taking place.”
Last, if Giuliani, Barr, and other officials were involved in Trump’s efforts, as the complaint alleges, that would raise questions about a potential criminal conspiracy.
This was excerpted from “4 Laws Trump May Have Broken” on www.businessinsider.com
Within minutes of Antonio Delgado proclaiming his support for impeaching Donald Trump on Monday, Sept. 23, the National Republican Campaign Committee declared it is the freshman 19th District congressman’s “political death sentence.”
It’s out of character, for sure. On issues to date, Delgado’s played it safe, focusing legislative efforts on agriculture, broadband and healthcare, knowing, regardless, little legislation sent from the Democratic House of Representatives to the Republican U.S. Senate is going anywhere.
He’s played it just right in what Otsego County’s Republican Chairman Vince Casale calls “a textbook definition of a swing district.”
What did he have to gain by coming out for impeachment?
The 19th District voters who supported impeachment –Democrats and some centrists, mostly – had nowhere to go except Delgado. Sensible centrism made sense for an out-of-district candidate in his vulnerable freshman year: build cred, firm up the base incrementally.
That’s out the window now.
“My impression is this is a pure moral, ethical stand,” said Richard Sternberg, Cooperstown, the Democratic strategist and his party’s Town of Otsego chairman. “Having identified and political risks, he’s basically making a courageous stand.”
A look back on Election Night 2018 is illuminating, and shows vulnerability.
Delgado beat incumbent Republican John Faso handily by an 11.3 percent margin (147,873-132,873), but given the four-way race – remember the Green Party’s Steve Greenfield and independent Diane Neal, the “Law & Order SVU” actress? – he garnered less than a majority (48.6 percent) of the total vote.
We forget: Ulster County, a Democratic stronghold in the swing 19th, won the election for him. The Delgado lead there – it makes sense the congressman then established his district office in Kingston – was 19,052. Districtwide, he only won by 15,000.
And he only won four of 11 counties in the 19th: Otsego and Schoharie, both squeakers, the Dutchess portion just comfortably, plus Ulster.
Not a landslide. Reelection isn’t a sure thing.
Until the Sept. 23 announcement, Delgado had played it cool. It’s hard to think of any controversial stance on anything.
Maybe he simply got carried away by the Democratic fever that swept the House of Representatives over
the weekend of Sept. 21-22, after the Ukraine-gate surfaced.
Think 40 years ahead. A young lad is sitting on his grandfather’s lap, “What did you do in Congress,
Granpa?” Would grey-haired Delgado really want to reply, “Sat on the sidelines of history, Sonny.”
Casale presented an alternate scenario to Sternberg’s: “He’s scared of the left of center” – in Ulster County, if anywhere. “If he’s not with them, they will threaten him with a primary.”
Leading up to presstime this week, it appeared it may be, where goeth the polls, so goeth the presidency.
On Saturday the 28th, an NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll found 49 percent of Americans favored
impeachment – up 10 percent from April, when the Mueller Report was first released; 46 percent said impeachment was unnecessary.
By the next day, a CBS poll found 55 percent favored impeachment, to 45 percent saying it wasn’t warranted. Building, building… (Monday the 30th, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there WILL be a trial in the Senate if the House sends up articles of impeachment. Hmmm.)
But FiveThirtyEight, and pollsters who led the New York Times over a cliff in 2016, were expressing caution in the form of the “differential nonresponse bias.” – “If partisans on one side of a political question respond to a survey more readily than partisans on the other side, … the results in your poll won’t match the real-world opinion. “… Instead, the poll will be skewed by how willing some people are to respond to a survey.”
Given how sure-footed Antonio Delgado was in dispatching six Democratic primary challengers last year, then grinding down Faso, it’s interesting to see him bet all on this impeachment thing. It’s a plunge.
Delgado’s next local Town Hall meeting is 6-7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct 5, in the Cherry Valley Community Center, 2 Genesee St. Go and ask him about it.
On impeachment overall, waiting for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election – it’ll be here before we know it – would have been a better way to tamp down acrimony. But that’s not to be.
Otsego County’s Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, Tuesday, Sept. 24, joined at least 61 Democratic congressmen who changed their minds over the weekend and now support impeachment of President Trump.
“Having taken an oath of office before God and my fellow citizens to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I can only conclude that Congress move forward with articles of impeachment,” the congressman said in a statement released at 8:23 a.m.
The change of position was prompted by the president having “admitted to soliciting the Ukranian president to investigate a political rival. In doing so, (Trump) used the power of the presidency to pressure a foreign government to help him win an election,” the statement said.
In developments that afternoon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the House Democrats will launch an impeachment investigation into the president. That evening, the president said on Wednesday he would release a full transcript of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Within minutes of Delgado announcing his decision, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement saying the freshman congressman “jumped on the socialist Democrats’ baseless efforts,” adding, “In a district President Trump won by more than 6 points, Antonio Delgado’s decision to pursue impeachment will be a political death sentence.”
The New York Times was reporting today Delgado was one of 61 congressmen who shifted into the pro-impeachment column in the past few days. Overall, 196 congressman now support impeachment, 77 oppose it, and 162 have not yet returned The Times’ calls, the newspaper reported.
“This is a far cry from the bipartisan and unifying message we heard in the Congressman’s slick campaign commercials less than two years ago,” German said. “He was elected to work across the aisle and govern. Today, the Congressman abandoned his commitment to governance in order to appease the most extreme elements of his base. This is exactly the type of behavior that inspired me to run. Politicians will never fix Washington.”
The Otsego County Democratic Party issued a statement praising Delgado’s “judgment and commitment to the critical oversight role” in changing his mind and now supporting President Trump’s impeachment.
“Beginning an impeachment investigation is the appropriate response when there is credible evidence that the laws of this country may have been violated by a sitting President,” it continued.
Casale said, “I wish the Congressman would focus on doing the work of the people of his district instead of taking us down another rabbit hole. It wasn’t enough to waste the taxpayer’s time and money on the Muller investigation, now we are on to a new bogus charge against the President.”
The Otsego County Democratic Party praises Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, for his “judgment and commitment to the critical oversight role” in changing his mind and now supporting President Trump’s impeachment.
But Republican County Chairman Vince Casale said the first-term congressmen is simply “appealing to a small angry group of socialist liberals who control his re-election.”
This is a copy of a letter I sent to Congressman Antonio Delgado.
Dear Congressman Delgado,
It was a pleasure talking with you at the Middleburgh Town Hall. I was the person who asked the first question. We have the same goals, just a different approach.
I brought up the idea that an impeachment inquiry will prevent President Trump from preemptively pardoning persons, as was the case of Ford pardoning Nixon, and more recently by Trump pardoning Arpaio. The impeachment inquiry will, in my estimation, lead to possible convictions while preventing an abuse of the pardon power.
Here is a hypothetical:
Attorney General William Barr has been found in contempt by the Judiciary Committee; he still needs to be found in contempt by the full Congress.
After being found in contempt of Congress, Barr will fight the ruling in court. Assuming he loses in court, Congress will then impose penalties. Barr then continues to refuse to testify, in the end Trump simply pardons Barr, nothing was accomplished. Barr doesn’t testify and walks away from any consequences.
I again cite the Constitution: “The President… shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Impeachment is necessary.
You also brought up several reasons to delay impeachment where I disagree. During the Town Hall, I didn’t want to debate you, I remained silent; I respect you and did not want to keep interrupting, therefore I would like to outline some of the points where we differ:
1) Process: The “process” is an impeachment, not some new invented process. We are better off holding an impeachment inquiry instead of several ad hoc hearings. Witnesses will then know they will not be able to “weasel out” of jeopardy with the issuance of a pardon, all six proceedings under one umbrella. The facts will come out by starting the impeachment inquiry, it doesn’t need to end quickly.
I can make an argument for holding impeachment hearings into the election if the delaying tactics by Trump continue. Impeachment will give you unencumbered access to the Grand Jury information that Robert Barr is withholding.
2) Senate: The argument is that impeachment won’t pass the Senate; then why are you passing legislation that also won’t pass Senate? The act of starting an impeachment inquiry is an accomplishment. If there are impeachment hearings, and as evidence comes out, it will become harder for senators to politically defend Trump without running the risk of losing re-election.
Remember, when Watergate started, no Republican senator was in favor of removal; that changed when it no longer served their political purpose. Put the Senate on record.
3) Divide: That impeachment will divide the country is a fallacy. The country is already divided by Trump’s actions. It is difficult to become more divided. Right now less than one-third of the people in the country are determining the fate of the two-thirds majority. An impeachment inquiry can only help to bring the country back together.
4) Precedent: Impeachment, if not now, then when, or ever? You will be negating your Constitutional duty and allowing for an Imperial Presidency to exist where an elected dictator will do whatever he/she wants without regard to his/her subjects. That is a terrible precedent to set.
We agree there are urgent needs facing the country, from the Russian interference to combating Climate Change, as well as dozens of other very important issues. You’ve already passed over 50 legislative acts to take us into future. I commend you. We now need you to immediately end the obstruction of justice by the criminals in office with an impeachment inquiry, otherwise no meaningful legislation will ever become law.
ONEONTA – Coming off a week of “Town Halls,” with students, small-business owners and farmers, U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, said in a teleconference press briefing this morning that while there were “critically important” national issues, most people in his district want to know “how do we improve the area.”
In discussing how to improve the area, Delgado often framed his responses in big corporations/industry/Washington insiders versus the little guy: i.e., his constituents. He cited a poll published yesterday in the Washington Post that found 60 percent of Americans feel that way.