Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me standing stony-faced, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

Yesterday, following Special Counsel Bob Mueller's statement, many of the Democratic candidates, a number of whom already supported impeaching Donald Trump, called on Congress to pick up where Mueller left off and begin impeachment proceedings.

The still appallingly resistant Nancy Pelosi said: "We won't be swayed by a few people who think one way or another, who are running for president — as much as I respect them — and they have the freedom to be for impeachment. We have the responsibility to get a result for the American people and that's where we're going." Whatever that means.

It was a weird and unnecessary swipe at the Democratic candidates, but the principled among them were not deterred, nor should they be.

Senator Cory Booker tweeted: "This Administration has continued to stonewall Congress's oversight. Beginning impeachment proceedings is the only path forward." He later appeared on MSNBC for an interview with Chris Hayes, where he laid out his position plainly:

This is a very deeply principled, moral moment in America. Are we going to let a president — who's potentially broken the law, obstructed justice, lied and engaged in deceit, and other conduct unbefitting his office — will we just let that go by without doing the right thing?

And clearly, in this case, I think the right thing, above and beyond the politics of it, is that we do what the Framers' intended, which was to have oversight over the executive and hold them accountable, because nobody's above the law.

And for a guy — just let me just me clear [chuckles mirthlessly] — who didn't even win the majority of votes in America, who won this through the mandates of our Constitution and the Electoral College, I mean, dear god, this guy cannot in any way be allowed to be above the law, to be above the mandates of the Constitution. And so that's what I stand on.

I agree — anybody who looks at the politics of this, it's — it's a thorny path. But I think history is going to look back at this moment and what we choose to do, and see if we did the right thing. And I think the right thing right now is to hold this president accountable for his actions.
Really love that Booker pointed out Trump didn't even win with a majority of the votes, which makes an even stronger case for holding him accountable.

Julián Castro also did a very fine job of making the case for impeachment during an interview with MSNBC's Ari Melber. I especially liked his argument that even the politics demand impeachment proceedings against Trump:
I actually believe it's a mistake not to go forward with impeachment built on substance, because Mueller pointed out these ten instances where the president either obstructed justice or tried to obstruct justice.

Today, he's made it even more clear that he's laying this at the lap of Congress to go forward, but also for those who— I don't think we should first think about this politically, but for those who want to think about it politically, think about it like this: What's going to happen in 2020 is that this president is going to say, if Congress does not go forward with impeachment, "You see, don't you think that all of these folks who are always after me and investigating me and trying to get at me, don't you think that if there was really anything there, that they would have moved forward with impeachment? They didn't move forward with impeachment because I didn't do anything wrong."

That's what the president is going to say, and so, essentially, by not moving forward with impeachment, not only are you letting him get away with these ten different instances of obstruction of justice or attempting to obstruct justice that Mueller pointed out, which deserve impeachment, but politically you're also giving him a clean bill of health. And so I'm convinced that this really is a mistake that Congressional Democrats are making right now.
Really smart and really brave stuff.

And, once again, I just want to point out how brilliant Castro is at delivering his talking points, and really hammering them home, in a very natural way. He is probably the best of all the candidates on TV.

Senator Elizabeth Warren was one of the first out of the gate and continued her unyielding support for impeachment:

Senator Kamala Harris tweeted: "What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral. Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable. We need to start impeachment proceedings. It's our constitutional obligation."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted: "This is as close to an impeachment referral as it gets. Robert Mueller could not clear the president, nor could he charge him — so he has handed the matter to Congress, which alone can act to deliver due process and accountability."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand launched a petition and tweeted: "It's time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts. Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not. We can't let the president defy basic accountability measures built into our Constitution."

(That's not a complete list. As always, feel welcome and encouraged to highlight other candidates' positions in comments.)

Harris also took the opportunity to once again advocate for election integrity, tweeting: "Russia interfered in our 2016 elections. Mueller couldn't be more clear: we must prioritize protecting our elections from hackers and foreign adversaries intent on undermining our democracy. Congress needs to pass the Secure Elections Act now."

Senator Amy Klobuchar did the same, tweeting a statement urging passage of her "two bipartisan bills for backup paper ballots and accountability for political ads on the internet. Despite the resistance from the White House, Congress must stand up and protect our elections going forward."

On a similar subject, I continue to enjoy Governor Jay Inslee using a wry sense of humor to deliver keen insights on social media:

In other news, the first Democratic debate sounds like it's going to be a total shitshow, and I sure hope it isn't because we cannot afford to be messy right now: "Few candidates, if any, have debated 9 other rivals before. None of the contenders knows yet whether they will appear on June 26 or June 27 — as many as 20 candidates will be split over two debates on successive nights — or even whom they will be debating against. Those dynamics are combining to create a deep sense of uncertainty and frustration surrounding an evening likely to be marked by the largest national viewership yet of the campaign." Christ.

Today, I read not one but three pieces about how Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign is struggling: 1. Can Warren Overtake Sanders? 2. Revolution Stalled? Bernie Sanders Struggles Against a Double Bind. 3. Bernie's Biggest Hurdle: Old People Like Biden a Lot More. Yowza. Someone's oppo team is really working overtime to let Sanders know there's only room for one shouty old white man in this race!

Joe Biden is probably somewhere arguing with his advisors about whether he can insult Donald Trump for being fat.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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