Op-Ed: Biden Impeachment

09.19.2023 Christina Baal-Owens, Executive Director

Last week, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) formally announced an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in a weak, desperate, and tragically transparent attempt to gain favor with right-wing GOP members of Congress. Speaker McCarthy wants to use this politically dated tactic to not only hold onto his leadership position and appease an increasingly volatile and extreme Republican party, but also follow politically-motivated orders from President Trump against his likely 2024 presidential opponent. This isn’t about policy or facts; it’s a stall tactic because the extremist House GOP is unable to pass a budget and is hurtling towards a government shutdown that harms everyday Americans. 

It doesn’t end there. Speaker McCarthy is breaking his own word from just eleven days ago, when he promised to hold a vote on the impeachment inquiry and acknowledged the gravity of such an endeavor, stating “an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter.” Knowing he doesn’t have the votes, McCarthy has decided to move an impeachment inquiry forward without a show of hands, rather than risk not giving his frantic, chaotic caucus the smoke screen it demands.  This is yet another small but significant sign that further proves the Speaker of the House cares far more about staying in power than he does about our democracy.

Let’s be clear about what this impeachment inquiry is really about: a messy attempt to keep champions of white supremacy in power. It is part of a decades-long effort, fueled by racism and hate, to return our country to minority rule by a white and wealthy few. This attempt is nothing but a distraction from the issues that matter to Americans, and is not rooted in evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. According to a recent national Public Wise and Change Research Survey, the issues Americans care about most are democracy (32%), inflation and the cost of living (46%), and gun policy (37%), with young people especially fixated on abortion access. McCarthy and his right-wing allies instead are choosing to spend valuable time and resources on an inquiry that the public doesn’t want, instead of the issues that actually matter to communities. Not only is this a waste of taxpayer dollars; it’s a slap in the face to democracy. 

McCarthy is placating a dangerous faction within his party, many of whom are insurrectionists who continue to undermine our democracy with dangerous conspiracy theories and election disinformation. They would rather see democracy fall than admit defeat. These elected members of Congress do not represent the people who sent them to Washington. They want nothing more than to ensure that our country never sees a just, multiracial democracy that is truly accountable to the American people. This is clearly a bad political strategy from McCarthy, and will likely be defeated. 

We also have to be crystal clear about what this is not about: accountability for a crime. This is in direct contrast to Trump, whose second impeachment focused on the incitement of an insurrection. The evidence was clear that Trump tried to overthrow the results of a democratically held election and return to power by force on January 6, 2021. There is recorded evidence on this matter, and the facts are not in dispute. And yet still, despite countless documents, tapes, and testimonies on Trump’s crime, we are still fighting for true accountability for the American people and those who lost their lives that day. Unlike previous impeachment inquiries, today’s announcement makes a mockery of our institutions, is a waste of the American public’s time and money, and brings us further away from a secure democracy. Today’s impeachment inquiry announcement, based in fear and led by a White minority, shows that our democratic institutions and the future of our country are under attack. 

Americans deserve better. Despite the GOP’s desperate attempts at clawing back power in the White House, we as advocates and fighters of a multiracial democracy must remain hyper-focused on moving our country forward and achieving the future we know is possible. We must support local grassroots movements fighting for equity and justice in their communities. This fight is led by Black, Brown, AAPI, Latinx, Native, and young people who are working tirelessly each day to build a better nation for the next generation. They are doing more for their communities than these scared and extreme politicians in Washington will ever do. The path to building multiracial democracy depends on electing diverse young people who are putting their communities first and are working to build a government that is representative, accountable and transparent.