Robert Schwebel (AZ): ‘The Republicans’ Intransigence Has Surprised Me’
Robert Schwebel (71), a Democrat from Tucson, AZ, is a clinical psychologist specializing in drug abuse. He had his bar mitzvah in Hungary, where his parents were on teaching sabbaticals. He created a drug counseling program focusing on the reasons behind addiction and recently published Leap of Power: Take Control of Alcohol, Drugs, and Your Life. Schwebel is also a human rights activist and has volunteered his time doing intake interviews for immigrants seeking asylum.
Do you think it’s possible for Democrats and Republicans to ever agree on the facts around Trump’s impeachment?
I think many Republicans may agree with Democrats about the improper actions. Many want impeachment but are scared to publicly admit it for personal political reasons regarding their own careers. The Republicans’ intransigence has surprised me. In couples counseling the biggest challenge is to get individuals to hear their partners’ point of view. In training drug counselors, the challenge is to get them to hear the point of view of their client (what they like about drugs, for example). At least in therapy, couples and counselors have a vested interest in working things out.
Have you seen any shift in the views of Republicans you know following the impeachment proceedings? Have you personally tried to convince anyone to change their views about Trump?
With open-minded friends I have had respectful discussions in which I tried to understand their point of view and expressed my own. I was truly interested in understanding their thinking and, of course, hoped I might influence them.
Do the impeachment proceedings hurt or improve Trump’s chances for re-election?
In my opinion, the evidence has become clearer. However, I’m not sure that people have been willing to budge because they are locked into positions. The clarity of the evidence has been matched by the enormity of the effort to distract from it.
Which Democratic candidate(s) do you think will give Trump the greatest challenge for re-election?
Elizabeth Warren, because she acknowledges that the system is not working for large numbers of people, offers solutions and could hold her own in a debate setting. I favor Bernie Sanders, but I worry that he might be slightly less electable than Elizabeth Warren.