Several weeks ago, I warned that the Republicans will impeach Joe Biden after they likely regain control of the House of Representatives next year. This is an obvious conclusion based on what leading Republicans, Donald Trump himself and the right-wing propaganda machine have been saying in public since Biden's election last year.
Impeaching Biden is one tactic in a larger plan to delegitimize any election that Republican do not win. The ultimate goal is to replace America's nascent multiracial democracy with an unofficial apartheid system under which nonwhite people and other targeted groups are effectively second-class citizens. The Democratic Party would be rendered practically irrelevant, and the country would be a type of fake democracy ruled under a system of "competitive authoritarianism."
Predictably, the reaction to what is a basic and unsurprising claim about Biden's probable impeachment was one of rage. This is somewhat understandable: Many Democrats and other Biden supporters are still in a state of shock and denial over the Trump-fascist movement's escalating assault on democracy and society. Biden's presidency has done little to heal the trauma.
Moreover, the Trump movement's power — as demonstrated in the nationwide campaign to severely restrict voting rights — is re-traumatizing many Americans who have clung to the delusional belief that the Trump nightmare was finally over after the 2020 election. In fact, the events of Jan. 6 and its aftermath have made clear that the country's fascist nightmare is just beginning.
To tell Democrats and other Biden supporters that in all likelihood he will face impeachment in the not-too-distant future, and that salvation is not at hand, is to inflict an emotional and psychological injury. For many people, the truth about America's crisis of democracy is unbearable.
Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe this scenario won't play out. During a recent interview with Newsmax TV, Sen. Lindsey Graham continued his demands that Joe Biden be impeached for "dereliction of duty" because of conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. Graham told Newsmax host Eric Bolling, "I think the guy deserves to be impeached for this," citing an "invasion" by migrants and immigrants from Latin America and Haiti.
Last month, Rep. Lauren Boebert introduced articles of impeachment against Biden and other senior members of his administration. Those articles were co-sponsored by several other members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman, Louie Gohmert and Jody Hice. Their purported subject was the withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Boebert demanding the removal of not just Biden but also Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Boebert was incorrect that Blinken is next after Pelosi in the presidential line of succession — that would actually be Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senate president pro tempore.)
It is tempting to mock Boebert and her allies as fringe characters untethered to reality. In fact, that's a grave mistake.
Boebert, Hawley, Gohmert, Greene, and other Trump-Republican neofascists are the future-present of the Republican Party. In that way, they are a type of bellwether and the standard-bearers for the Republican fascist party and larger anti-democracy movement.
Even setting aside the prospect of impeachment, Biden's presidency faces other serious challenges as well. Painful as this is for Democrats, a new poll suggests that Biden and Trump are now roughly even in terms of favorability. The Hill offers details:
Forty-eight percent of respondents say they have a positive view of Trump compared to 46 percent who say they have a favorable opinion of his successor. Biden's favorability is slightly underwater, however: 49 percent of those surveyed said they have an unfavorable view of the current president, while slightly less — 47 percent — report an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
The findings are a remarkable shift for Biden, who repeatedly outperformed Trump's favorability numbers throughout the early months of his presidency.
But multiple crises, including a surge in new COVID-19 infections in recent months and the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, have bruised public perceptions of Biden.
Fifty-one percent of respondents now say Trump was a better president than Biden, while 49 percent prefer the White House's current occupant, the poll shows.
Of course, polls represent only a snapshot in time. But in combination with a Republican-fascist movement that is gaining momentum and increasingly willing to endorse or condone political violence as a way of getting and keeping political power, there is ample reason for concern.
As I wrote in my earlier essay on Biden's impeachment:
Donald Trump will either be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee or play the role of kingmaker. Impeaching Joe Biden will be a way of further weakening the Democratic Party by forcing it to fight on multiple fronts, making it easier prey for Republicans and the larger neofascist movement. Moreover, a Biden impeachment will excite Donald Trump's worst impulses, and those of his followers, who will likely engage in more acts of political violence against their perceived enemies. In the end, the events of Jan. 6 may merely have been a preview for what lies ahead.
If Democrats — and all Americans who still support democracy — open their ears and listen carefully, they can hear the sound of a not-so-distant train barreling towards them. But they are still sitting on the tracks and have done almost nothing to save themselves. Inaction is not an option and compromise is not possible: Fascists and authoritarians are only encouraged by such behavior.
The window of opportunity for action is closing quickly. But before Americans bestir themselves to act, they must come to understand that the threat is real and the danger is here.