Even If Trump Is Impeached, His Legacy of Sexism Could Remain
Since even before his inauguration, there has been a large contingency of people hoping to see a President Trump impeachment, and, consequently, Trump's removal from office. While those people may rejoice in the recent news of articles of impeachment being filed against Trump, how much good would impeachment actually do to reverse the damage Trump has already done — especially when it comes to his legacy of sexism?
Last week, Democratic representatives Al Green of Texas and Brad Sherman of California filed articles of impeachment against Trump, on the grounds of obstruction of justice. The impeachment paperwork stems from Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey while the director was leading an investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.
The way Congress is skewed currently, Democrats would have a difficult time getting the requisite votes to impeach or convict. Democrats would need a simple majority in the House of Representatives to impeach, and then a super majority in the Senate to convict and subsequently remove Trump from office. But while remaining unlikely — that is, perhaps until 2018 — that hasn't stopped people from pushing for a Trump-free White House.
Would impeaching Trump, or even removing him from office, do much to reverse the damage already done? His legacy of sexism will almost certainly live on, even if he doesn't complete his first term.
Elections are never polite or courteous affairs, but the 2016 election season was particularly vitriolic, with many pundits commenting that the regular rules of political warfare seemed to be thrown out the window when it came to Trump's campaign tactics.
Trump commented on primary candidate Carly Fiorina's looks, saying her "face" was unelectable. He alluded to the fact that debate moderator Megyn Kelly must've been on her period when she grilled him during a primary debate. And he referred to Hillary Clinton as a "nasty woman," during their final debate, sparking a backlash of women reclaiming the term, in an effort to contradict its very sexist origins.
The Clinton camp even tried to use Trump's history of making crude comments to women against him, enlisting Alicia Machado in her campaign. Machado was the Miss Universe winner who he publicly, and unrelentingly, body shamed to the media after she gained some weight during her reign. And you'd be hard-pressed to forget the infamous Access Hollywood tapes, where Trump can be heard on a hot mic essentially saying that because he was famous, he was able to sexually assault women at will.
Yet this man still won the votes of almost 63 million people. His clear history and repeated pattern of sexism was not enough to deter voters from selecting him as their president, which is where the real problem lies. The pervasive sexism that still exists in our culture, and in our politics, was not created by Trump, and it will not die with his demise.
The success he attained, ascending to the highest levels of American politics, only normalized his behavior, and emboldened those of his supporters who shared the same sexist beliefs. Even for those who would say they voted for him for reasons unrelated, or even in contrast to his sexist rhetoric, they were still implicit enough to not have that behavior be a deal breaker for them. Turning a blind eye to injustice is just a detrimental as encouraging it. Trump's victory gave people permission to be misogynistic, and that Pandora's box won't easily be closed.
Additionally, his impeachment, as it stands, would have nothing to do with that behavior. So, even if he were to be impeached, or lose office, it would never been seen as a referendum on his sexist rhetoric.
There also remains much sexist legislation coming down the pipeline. From restrictions on access to reproductive health care to the Republican health care bill, which makes being born a woman an expensive burden, this legislation shows that removing Trump would do little to stem the flow of sexist policies that continue to be pursued by politicians across the country.
Trump's impeachment may be a goal worth working towards for many, but none should be as naive to think that it would solve the underlying problems in this country that he simply brought to light.