Editor’s Note: LZ Granderson is a journalist and political analyst. He was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and the Hechinger Institute at Columbia University. He is the sports and culture columnist for the Los Angeles Times and co-host of ESPN LA 710’s “Mornings With Keyshawn, LZ and Travis.” Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @lzgranderson. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion articles on CNN.
When the euphoria from the announcement that the US House will pursue an impeachment inquiry of President Trump wears off for Democrats and others who oppose Trump’s administration, and all the talking heads have spoken, remember this – it’s important: Trump didn’t change the country; he revealed it.
The latest chapter in the most bizarre political saga in modern memory may very well lead to Trump’s removal. Or it may not.
It may encourage Americans to follow the news more closely, it may prompt them to stay further away. It could derail Trump’s re-election bid or provide his supporters with an energizing rallying cry. Certainly Trump’s team is hoping for the latter, considering that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Bradley Parscale, tweeted, “Democrats have officially paved the way for a @realDonaldTrump landslide victory. The witch-hunt continues,” which feels like a stretch considering Trump comfortably lost the popular vote and his Electoral College victory margin ranked 46th of 58 US elections.
Regardless of Parscale’s misplaced bravado, the real issue isn’t what happens to Trump anyway. It’s what happens to the nearly 63 million people who voted for him.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is correct: “No one is above the law.” But for many who voted for Trump in the first place, this development isn’t about the law, the Constitution or the sanctity of democracy. It is about winning. And if being willfully ignorant of Trump’s alleged misdeeds helps Republicans win, they’ll take it.
This is why some of the same conservatives who greeted President Obama wearing a tan suit with hostility treat Trump allegedly withholding military aid in an attempt to pressure a foreign nation to investigate a political foe as no big deal.
When the goal is to do what’s best for the country, an impeachment inquiry is ideally a bipartisan effort to make sure the most powerful man in the world is not abusing his power. When the goal is to win, such an inquiry is viewed as an opponent that must be defeated.
We call it “party over country,” an environment Trump did not create but one he is clearly benefiting from. Given his recent admission that he discussed Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, I do believe impeachment is the proper action. I also believe because Trump is so disliked by a portion of America that many will make the mistake of conflating their feelings about him personally with the crimes he’s accused of committing. And will enjoy a measure of satisfaction.
But it does not provide an exit off this debilitating national hamster wheel we’re on. For be not mistaken, choosing party over patriotism is not an exclusively Republican affliction. There are countless Americans on both sides of the aisle who did not bother to read the Mueller report but will cherry-pick all their favorite quotes to support what they are already believe.
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You can’t do what’s best for the country when you’re preoccupied with winning. Pelosi on Tuesday did the right thing for the country. But now, will she and the Democrats resist the temptation to do what’s best for themselves?
Liberals may not care, but the nearly 63 million who voted for Trump will be watching … and they’re not going anywhere, even if Trump does.