With 2017 swiftly coming to a close, the word on everyone’s tongue is midterms.
If we’re honest, President Trump’s first year turned out as we expected. MAGA Republicans have nothing but love for their uninhibited man and Trump’s fuming opponents continue to openly despise him at every turn.
We shouldn’t be surprised.
While it certainly seems best to go the Ben Shapiro route of “good Trump, bad Trump” and take each policy, speech, and even each hastily-typed tweet individually, many reject such a plan.
For some, especially the fiercely liberal members of the Democratic base, nothing will water down their calls for impeachment. And in an upcoming year when midterms could make or break either party, this talk is bound to have an effect on voters – and Congressional leadership.
Politico reports, emphasis mine:
Democratic lawmakers acknowledge that their voters are hungry for Trump’s removal from office, even if there is no consensus on the grounds for his impeachment. Polls on the question show as many as three-quarters of Democrats already back impeachment…
“Impeachment, it’s not something you ought to welcome. It’s not something you ought to be ready to — it’s not something you want,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who was elected by his colleagues last week to be the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that handles impeachment matters.
If Democrats retake the House, Nadler will instantly become the party’s gatekeeper on the issue. In fact, his expertise in constitutional law — as well as his outsized voice opposing the Clinton impeachment in 1998 — was a factor in his selection to lead committee Democrats. While he says impeachment would surely be on the table in a Democrat-led House, it’s far from certain it would be the right call — politically or constitutionally. And it’ll be up to his committee to tell voters why.
Despite dislike, and even hatred, of a president, impeachment should never be rushed. This applies to the tenure of not just an incredibly unpopular GOP president (whose approval rating is in the 30s), but also any Democrat who inhabits the office in the future. Going forward with impeachment is a very serious matter. It is one thing for an emotionally-charged pundit to scream “impeachment” during a primetime roundtable discussion. It is another thing entirely for the United States Congress to begin the process.
For plenty of Democrats in D.C., the reluctance to go full-steam ahead with any impeachment talk is more about the makeup of a pre-midterm Congress than anything else.
“I realize that maybe I’m in the minority in our party,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), one of 12 Democrats from a district Trump won in 2016, who opposes impeachment. “I know there are contrary views, obviously, with Al Green forcing us to vote on something that I think was entirely unnecessary and hurtful to people in certain districts.”
Several Democrats also noted that it makes little sense to pursue impeachment without Republican buy-in because the process would then surely be stopped cold in the Senate. The House requires a simple majority vote to impeach a president, but removal from office requires a two-thirds vote after a trial in the Senate — a threshold that Democrats are certain to be well short of in the next Congress.
Nadler argued that it makes little sense to pursue a partisan impeachment under those conditions.
For now, the shaky consensus among Democratic leadership seems to be that they’ll wait for the completion of the investigation into Trump’s possible ties to Russia. Whatever those may be.
Obviously, Democrats are uninterested in pursuit of impeachment at this moment if it turns voters against them during a midterm election year. On top of that, they have realized that at least some Republican involvement would be necessary.
If not, they will fail at impeachment and be the ones blamed for dragging the country through the turmoil.
With the end of the year looming and a major tax cut victory now on the Republican side, the partisan divide among voters seems more defined than ever. In Congress, a fair number of Democrats are realizing that they face an uphill battle if impeachment is pursued. How 2018 and the midterms will play into their decisions remains to be seen.
For now, they aren’t willing to take any chances that may increase their losses at the ballot box on November 6, 2018.