In a sense, the politics of impeachment is the logical conclusion of the ideological, geographical and socio-economic sorting of the two major parties. Republicans in Congress now tend to represent more clearly conservative sectors of the country, which increasingly lie outside urban areas and in places where traditional cultural norms prevail. Democrats represent more clearly liberal areas, increasingly centered in coastal urban states that are more diverse and have shifting cultural values.The interesting thing is that this is the case even though the so-called Progressives have pretty much won the cultural wars. Conservative America laid supine before them, economically and culturally decimated. Manufacturing and technical jobs had been successfully moved overseas or outsourced to low-cost immigrants. One after another the traditional organizations have collapsed or been assimilated into the Left. Demographically, the country is going brown and, for that reason, sliding ever Left-ward. All the major religious denominations are fully on board with demographic replacement; and most publicly proclaim, if not outright acceptance, then toleration of the deviant morals killing off the energy and dynamism of our civilization. And yet the Progressives decided to seek total, unconditional victory, now! Moreover, it was not enough to win, but they had to heap humiliation after humiliation atop it all. And the result was to produce an actual resistance in the heartland.
Those areas of the country have less in common than they used to, and the politics of those who represent them reflect that. They are expected to pull on their red or blue jerseys and go into the political arena to fight for their side, no questions asked.
This expectation is reflected in support and opposition to President Trump. Republicans have swallowed their misgivings about Mr. Trump and the pressure he put on the Ukrainian government because he now is captain of their team, and the team is what really matters. So they have swung behind him, knowing that there will be a steep price to pay with GOP voters back home unless they do so.
Similarly, Democrats face great peril if they utter any words of support for a president despised among their base voters. Some may have misgivings about impeachment, but the pressure from above and below them within the party is to swallow those misgivings and line up with the team in its charge that the president abused his power in pressuring Ukraine.
This process accounts for an almost complete division of views of Mr. Trump along party lines—a division far greater than any seen previously in modern American politics. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 91% of self-identified Republicans said they approve of the job President Trump is doing, while just 6% of Democrats said they approve. That 85-point gap is 20 points wider than the gap seen at this point in the presidency of Barack Obama, who was considered a polarizing figure himself. By contrast, the same partisan gap at this point in Jimmy Carter’s presidency was a mere 16 percentage points.
With that kind of stark polarization, reflected in polls showing a very slight plurality favoring impeachment, Democrats feel they almost have to proceed, and Republicans feel they almost have to stand with the president. This is a world of black and white, not gray, and one where there simply isn’t much room for dissenting views.
We know from Spengler that the nation was headed to Caesarism--strong man rule--in the natural course of events. Obama ruled with his pen and telephone, and a Hillary Clinton presidency would have continued the march toward a political class largely unconstrained by law. But Trump happened and the Progressives on both sides of the aisle freaked out ... even though demographic trends suggested it was only a temporary bump in the road. So why freak out? Did it throw off some timetable or interrupt a window of opportunity? Or is this a sham designed to lead to the political gridlock that would result in the rise of a Caesar?