My heart goes out to the victims of the anti-Semitic terrorist shootings Saturday at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California.

I believe that the most impactful and practical act we can do now to honor these victims of anti-Semitic terrorism and to stem the rising tide of hate crimes and violence toward Jews, Muslims, immigrants, and people of color is to impeach Trump, the bigot in chief.

Trump’s racist tropes and incitements to violence are encouraging white nationalist movements and terrorism in the US and around the world. Hate crimes against racial and religious minorities in the US have jumped since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015 with bigoted statements against Mexicans, soon followed by the Muslim ban and racist and anti-Semitic tropes against blacks and Jews. The FBI reported a 17% increase in hate crimes in 2017, Trump’s first year in office. In 2017, hate crimes increased 16% against blacks, 24% against Latinos, and 57% against Jews. A record high number of LBGTQ people were murdered that year. Hate crimes against Muslims have increased 77% since 2015. A recent study found that in counties where Trump held rallies, hate crimes increased 226% in the following months.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) was right to force a House vote on his solely-sponsored impeachment resolution in December 2017 on the grounds that Trump’s racism and bigotry make him unfit to be president. Green’s resolution recounted many examples of how Trump had harmed the American people “by publicly casting
contempt on individuals and groups, inciting hate and hostility, sowing discord among the people…on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation” and “by associating the majesty and dignity of the presidency with causes rooted in white supremacy, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism, or neo-Nazism.” Congress voted his impeachment resolution down 364-58, with most of the Democrats joining the Republicans in voting no.

Trump’s racism, bigotry, and incitements to violence are sufficient grounds alone for impeachment. But there are plenty of more grounds that are plain to see for anyone who cares to look at the news: self-enriching emoluments and nepotism; abuses of power, obstructions of justice, and contempt of Congress; constant lying; demonizing the press; harassment of journalists and immigration lawyers at the Mexican border; felony campaign hush-money payments; and seeking and welcoming campaign support from Russians, Saudis, Emiratis, and Israelis. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming for crimes before he took office, including sexual assault, racial discrimination, money laundering, bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion, wage theft, and refusing to pay contractors and creditors.

Only a rich white man could expect to get away with this in America. The Republicans would have impeached Obama instantly for any one of these offenses. But the Democratic leadership seems cynically intent on leaving Trump in office as a villainous foil for fundraising.

Greens should be at the forefront of the movement to impeach Trump. We need overwhelming public pressure to force the Democrats in Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry.

Democrats tell the Greens to wait until after 2020 before running a presidential ticket so they can get rid of Trump. But we can’t wait. The next victims of white terrorism can’t wait. Trump can gotten rid of now, well before the 2020 elections. If Trump is allowed to continue his racist rants and increasingly authoritarian rule without impeachment, it gives power to Trump and his ultra-right minions to mobilize and act on their violent racist delusions.

Impeachment proceedings will expose Trump’s crimes to the people—and expose the Republicans’ complicity in those crimes if they persist in shielding him. Even if the Republican-controlled Senate fails to convict Trump in a trial upon impeachment by the House, the racism, lawlessness, and many crimes of Trump and his Republican defenders will be exposed for all to see. The anti-Trump vote will be mobilized and the ultra-right’s political base will be reduced.

Howie Hawkins 2020

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