On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Beat,” guest host Yasmin Vossoughian said mass protests could be a “powerful tool” to remove President Donald Trump as a result of the impeachment trial.
Vossoughian said, “Now to a powerful tool with potential to shake things up and move the needle against Donald Trump in the impeachment fights. First, the context here are Trump’s job approval numbers from the start of his presidency. Until the month before the whistle-blower complaint, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all held different views, but they were remarkably steady. Then the dam broke, public on-camera admissions of guilt.”
After playing clips of Trump, Mick Mulvaney, and Gordon Sondland, Vossoughian said, “Those bombshells led to Trump’s impeachment, but you can see the polling numbers barely moving. Previously Democrats had looked to the impeachment hearings to sway public opinion. Now there is talk the Senate trial could do the trick, and that might happen. But there is another tactic that has already succeeded in pressuring and even removing heads of state in other countries. A tactic Trump’s opponents aren’t deploying yet—mass protests. Let’s look at South Korea, 2016. The conservative president had an iron grip over her party, but the majority in parliament was liberal. Having won a landslide victory in the country’s midterm elections, that’s when the conservative president committed a crime and then admitted it in public.”
She continued, “Then the protests started. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans stormed the streets demanding impeachment. The protests started small but eventually grew into the millions. Still, liberals didn’t have the votes. Liberals held 178 seats in parliament but needed 201 to impeach the president, which meant swaying 23 conservatives to vote for impeachment to get to 201. So how did they get there? That’s the big question. For 20 straight weekends, millions showing up to protest for the removal of the president. After enough time and people and energy, conservative lawmakers understood which way the wind was blowing.”
She added, “Yes, you heard it right. The parliament introduced a bill to impeach the president based on a crime she admitted to doing, and with the pressure of mass protests, there came results … The liberals were able to swing 62 conservatives.”
She concluded, “And there are other examples. Brazil, in 2016, the president impeached and removed after millions hit the streets. Ukraine, in late 2013, early 2014, protests helped force out Ukraine’s president. In the Trump era, we’ve seen mass protests, notably the Women’s March and the eruption of anger over the travel ban. But there has not been sustained mobilized protesting over impeachment yet, or the underlying issue of corruption. It’s not clear how successful they would be. But for Trump’s opponents, desperate to break the log jam and pressure Republicans, it is a potential approach that has led to the ousting of heads of state when the odds seem stacked against it. In short of influencing the impeachment trial itself, it’s something that could have broader political impact on the 2020 election in November.”
Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN