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Assault on America, Day 317: Impeachment won’t stop Trump's quest to Keep America Great

Keep America Great
Yogi Berra is famous for saying, among many other things, that “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” But for some in the political realm, you just as easily might argue, “It ain’t over if it never even started.”

Such is the case for the fledgling Republican presidential campaign of former South Carolina governor and first congressional district congressman Mark Sanford. The notorious lothario, he of the “hiking on the Appalachian trail” adulterous 2009 love scandal, called it quits earlier this week, which is notable to observers only because he’d barely made a splash in the oh-so-muddy waters of national politics, but also due to the reasons why he crashed and burned so extraordinarily.

For Sanford, his mission was over before it even got going -- and it was a bit melodramatic for him to blame impeachment for his lack of success in drawing attention to his unachievable quest. Rachel Frazin reported at The Hill, “Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Tuesday ended his long shot bid to unseat President Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination.

“Sanford's campaign announced his intent to bow out of the race in a statement following a press conference in New Hampshire.

“’I am suspending my race for the Presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,’ he said. ‘From day one, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them,’ Sanford added. ‘Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment.’”

Um, no Mark, it’s not. It’s viewed through the prism of basic political survival for the entire system. Sanford’s campaign barely lasted two months and needless to say, he attracted very little awareness or interest for an intra-party challenge to the most successful Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Trump may be a little unconventional in the way he does things but results speak for themselves. If Republicans are preoccupied with impeachment now it’s because Democrats are brazenly attempting to usurp the entire power structure without bothering to defer to the constitutional election process, paving their road with lies along the way.

We’re less than a year away from the quadrennial presidential election yet Democrats want to ditch the commander in chief now lest they need to face him in debates and state-by-state balloting eleven-plus months from now.

For Sanford to go around beseeching party voters to turn on their own leader and figurehead at this time is akin to asking ardent baseball fans to abandon their team with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning in the seventh game of the World Series. The time for waffling over relatively trivial matters (like presidential behavior or personality) is long gone. Republicans understand that there won’t be second chances if the Democrats’ inane farce isn’t dealt a death blow presently.

Sanford’s primary challenge was never taken seriously because it wasn’t… well, serious to begin with. While most conscientious conservatives acknowledge much more attention needs to be paid to excessive federal spending and the increasingly irresponsible annual budget deficit (and exploding national debt), it’s a conversation that belongs at the party convention and at the local level among grassroots voters when pondering who to nominate to run for office. “It’s the primaries, stupid!” is a mantra every conservative should adopt, because this is the only way real change will ever take place.

Theoretically speaking, accountability for elected representatives is enforced via the ballot box. Is it though? That’s a conversation for another time.

Traditionally it’s been all too easy for incumbents to automatically return to Congress regardless of whether or not they kept campaign promises to mind the federal purse strings. The complacent GOP establishment cares more about perceptions and anticipated electoral viability -- in order to maintain power -- than it does about responsibility to future generations to balance the government’s books now. Both parties’ leaders resisted systematic reforms such as a balanced budget amendment (mostly driven by Democrats, of course). Time after time Republican bosses caved to corporate lobbyists and interest groups that cried foul whenever their pet projects were threatened with extinction or their pipeline to cheap illegal immigrant labor was endangered.

If you keep returning a big spending pork lover to Congress, what will you get? A lot of waste, very little value and at least two years’ worth of indigestion from questioning why you voted for and financially supported the scoundrel’s campaign in the first place. If there’s not a largescale movement within the hallowed halls of Congress to reduce spending and cut the deficit, you won’t get it. It’s not like Trump is secretly meeting with each Republican in the House and demanding they spend as much as they can. Perhaps the president has been a bit lax in requiring his congressional delegation to be more fiscally cognizant, but that’s no reason to jettison him in favor of a political drifter like Sanford.

Politics in Washington has become so dysfunctional that we hardly ever hear of the government’s sorry financial situation unless the debt ceiling’s about to be breached or taxes (either cutting or increasing) are at the forefront of national debate. Government shutdowns aren’t over too much spending so much as they are about what to spend more money on. Meanwhile the national debt climbs by the hour and self-interested politicians quibble over the contents of a presidential phone call to the president of Ukraine.

How much time and energy has been expended the past several months investigating Trump’s perfectly legitimate presidential powers instead of working on legislation to govern the country? Congressional oversight is one thing; congressional pestering and obstruction is another. The Mueller investigation consumed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. For what? Did it do any good?

No wonder nothing ever gets done in the DC swamp. When half of the political establishment only cares about naked partisan matters, everything else gets tossed to the side like a cheap rag doll that’s lost its stuffing. Mark Sanford was like a voice crying in the wilderness, but he wasn’t making the way for the coming of something imperative. He was merely fulfilling an unrealistic personal vendetta against Trump, no doubt spurred to impulsive idiocy by the likes of #NeverTrumpers such as Bill Kristol.

Now he’s a bigger goat than he was ten years ago, which is difficult to imagine for a man whose career showed so much promise at one point. Sanford earned a reputation as a fiscal hawk, but Trump’s presidency represents so much more than dollars and cents. The president is battling the powerful forces of the swamp instead of swimming along with its creatures. They don’t like it. The former South Carolina governor listened to the naysayers and didn’t get anywhere.

And not that he was ever threatened by Sanford’s (or Bill Weld’s or Joe Walsh’s) challenge, but Trump is in the clear now to turn his entire focus to the Democrats and not worry about the small contingent of dissatisfied #NeverTrump vipers lurking in holes around the corner. You can’t help but feel Trump has them right where he wants them -- and as the days go by, he looks even more like a sympathetic character in the eyes of his backers.

Democrats are yet to receive the message. As support for impeachment continues to dwindle, they’ll need to try other means to dent Trump’s popularity with those who worked to put him in office in 2016. One Democrat group is attempting a new tactic. John Bowden reported at The Hill, “A new ad series released by a left-leaning super PAC will feature voters who supported President Trump in 2016 saying that they believe they made a mistake.

“The ads, released as part of a $50 million campaign from American Bridge targeting specific districts and encouraging Trump voters to defect and vote against the president in 2020, feature one voter per ad explaining their town's history and why it led to their votes in 2016...

“’We want to create a permission structure in these communities,’ Bradley Beychok, American Bridge's president, told The New York Times. ‘We want them to know, ‘It wasn’t just me.’ But you have to create space for people to defect.’”

In your dreams, Brad. I don’t pretend to understand the strategies underlying Democrat political operatives, but this one seems particularly farfetched and undeniably fruitless. Poll after poll shows that Trump’s only shored up his intra-party support and he’s won many more converts than lost disaffected whiners.

Highlighting a token Trump defector here and there won’t lead to an intra-party mutiny; if anything, it will invoke sympathy and quizzical looks from the president’s defenders. There just isn’t the intellectual foundation for a Trump-exodus. Assuming Trump’s voters chose him because of his 2016 issue platform, he’s made good on an astonishing number of his promises. The results haven’t always been the way Trump wanted them (such as on immigration), but congressional inertia hasn’t prevented him from achieving success via executive action.

As an example, Trump altered Obamacare’s individual mandate, virtually gutting the destructive government healthcare takeover while ensuring more freedom in the marketplace. His administration also changed rules governing federal lands, etc., opening up more opportunities for energy exploration. During his time Obama seemed proud that he still had his “pen and phone” when Republicans controlled Congress. Trump’s used his own powers to advance his policies while Congress was bogged down arguing and pointing fingers.

News flash: Nancy Pelosi, the “Squad,” Adam Schiff, “Chucky” Schumer and the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates aren’t setting policy in the White House. That’s why the 2020 election is so important. It’s much more than the man or woman sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

Mark Sanford’s #NeverTrump fool’s errand was destined to fail from the outset. The Democrats’ stupid impeachment witch hunt isn’t the reason why Sanford couldn’t get anyone interested in his cause -- there never really was one to begin with. Trump’s fate will be decided by the voters in 2020… but his enemies will never quit.

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