Teri Kanefield
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Jul. 16, 2019 4 min read

(Thread) Mueller’s Testimony tomorrow

First let’s talk about the real problem, which is twofold:
💠A significant percentage of voters—knowing who Trump is—approve of him, and
💠Trump is being shielded by a major political party and a well-oiled propaganda machine.

1/ Back when I was naive—2016—I believed when the public became aware of the extent of Trump’s crimes and corruption, he would lose support and would be removed from office.

I began assembling this list as reported in reliable news sources:  https://russia-investigation-summary.com/crimes/ 
Check it out.

2/ In 1980 and 2000, I learned to trust polls and nothing since has dissuaded me. I prefer 538 polling aggregate because it prevents us from cherry picking polls we like.

Each time news of one of Trump’s crimes broke, I watched the polls.

3/ On Dec. 15, 2017, Trump’s support dipped to its lowest point: 36.5 %

This was just after Michael Flynn pleaded guilty.  https://www.lawfareblog.com/michael-flynn-plea-agreement-documents 
Papadopolous had already pleaded guilty in Oct. 2017.

People were waking up to the Trump-Russia debacle.

4/ Support falling to the mid or low 30s is low enough to sink a presidency—even a president being shielding by a major political party.

But then Trump's support went back up. The propaganda machine, aided by the shenanigans of GOP leaders, neutralized & undermined the facts.

5/ Remember that Nixon comparisons don’t work for two reasons:

1st: Nixon didn’t have Fox and right wing media. John Dean said that Nixon might have survived if he’d had Fox.  https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/02/john-dean-nixon-might-have-survived-if-thered-been-a-fox-news-216207 . In fact, right wing media was born as a way to save future Nixons.

6/ Also, the GOP was different during the Nixon era. Much of the white Southern vote was still Democrat.
The shift of the two parties creating our current levels of polarization was not complete until Reagan. What do I mean? See 👇 

Shortly after I started posting, people told me the testimony was back to 7/24.

It went back and forth a few times.
I'll keep posting. Please change "tomorrow" in your minds to the proper date.

I love twitter. If make I make a mistake I find out within 90 seconds!

7/ But Trump’s support fell once to the mid-30s, so Mueller’s upcoming testimony—by putting devastating facts before the public—might cause Trump’s support to drop again.

It’s also possible that it won’t. It's possible that public opinion has hardened.

8/ I'm harping on public opinion because (fortunately) we live in a form of government—representative democracy—where popular opinion matters.

Public opinion doesn’t matter in an autocracy.

This is why I say the problem is not Trump.

9/ The problem is that the GOP is shielding Trump & a well-oiled right-wing propaganda machine is undermining the facts.

42% support is low enough for 2020 to be a bloodbath, but not low enough to remove from office.

10/ People tell me the problem is a limitation in the Constitution which prevents Trump from being indicted or otherwise removed from office.

Actually the drafters of the Constitution considered the possibility of a president elected who was beholden to foreign influence.

11/ At the first sign of Russian interference Congress should have conducted meaningful investigations.

Without all that obstruction from the president and GOP, the truth would have come out immediately. Instead the GOP undermined the investigation and shoved its agenda through.

12/ In fact Congress—upon learning the truth about Russia—could have installed HRC as president by (1) removing Trump, (2) making the VP president, (3) the VP appoints HRC vice president, and (4) The VP resigns.

Fantasy? Not if the GOP cared more about truth than power.

13/ The problem isn’t the Constitution. The problem isn't that a president can't be indicted. The problem isn’t Pelosi.

The problem is the GOP and a well-oiled propaganda machine. Let's keep that in mind.

I’ll be watching to see if Mueller’s testimony moves the needle.

If it doesn’t, we may have to accept the cold hard truth: 42% of the population approves of Trump even though they know full well who and what he is.

The consolation: 42% is a long way from a majority.


Betsy, I think the same analogy holds. Impeachment hearings may move the needle, or they may not.

I can argue it either way.

Argument for: Most people don't actually know the full truth.His support dipped as low as 36.5% once. Why not again?

I am wary of people who claim to be able to predict the future, who say with absolute certainty: "If we do X, Y will happen."

There are too many variables.

Trump's corruption and lawbreaking have been in the news for years.

It's possible that public hearings will move the needle.

It's also possible that they will not. It's possible that public opinion has hardened.

The problem . . .

. . . with absolutes (X WILL happen if we do Y) is that the future is unpredictable.
Unforeseen events happen.

Believing something WILL happen can lead to disillusionment and apathy if it doesn't.

Setting up unreasonable expectations is dangerous.

I used to think. . .

. . . public impeachment hearings would definitely move the needle.

Now I'm down to "likely" move the needle.

Future predictions are guesswork. Reasonable minds can differ when it comes to predicting the future.

Remember, also: Trump's corruption and lawbreaking have been in the news continuously for the past few years. That's how I was able to assemble this list:

We need to prepare ourselves for either possibility. The needle may move. The needle may not.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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