Conventional political wisdom regarding the impeachment of U.S. president Donald Trump has always held that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives would charge him with “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the Republican-controlled Senate would vote to acquit him.
There was a time when speculation about a secret vote in the Senate called into question this conventional wisdom … but now momentum seems to be moving in the other direction (i.e. in Trump’s favor).
With House proceedings against the president largely failing to move the needle of public opinion, a new calculus is emerging.
It boils down to this: Do Democrats have the votes?
First, the numbers. According to the latest composite polling data posted by the website FiveThirtyEight.com, a total of 47 percent of Americans currently support impeaching and removing Trump from office. Meanwhile 45.7 percent don’t support impeachment and removal – a pro-impeachment spread of only 1.3 percent. According to composite polling data from Real Clear Politics, polling on impeachment and removal from office is literally tied – with 46.5 percent supporting and 46.5 percent opposing.
Given the extent to which mainstream media polling was way off the mark on Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election, we think it is safe to say these are charitable readings for Democrats … but even if we assume they are on the mark, the country is essentially divided down the middle on the issue (and the numbers are trending against Democrats).
Nonetheless, Democratic leaders have decided to double down on impeachment – which it is worth recalling is a process they entered into with considerable skepticism.
“The times have found us,” a reluctant speaker Nancy Pelosi said two-and-a-half months ago in announcing the launch of the current inquiry, which focuses on allegations that Trump threatened to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine unless it agreed to investigate ties between Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian oil and gas company.
Ironically, Ukraine was investigating Bursima and Biden – until the former vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless it fired its former prosecutor general back in 2016.
Which it did …
(Click to view)
“I said I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,” Joe Biden (above) bragged during a speech two years ago to the Council on Foreign Relations. “I said you’re not getting the billion – I’m gonna be leaving here … in six hours, if the prosecutor is not fired you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch – got fired.”
This news outlet has never defended Trump’s conduct in regards to Ukraine, however we have consistently argued from the very beginning of the impeachment drama that if Democrats wanted these proceedings to have any lasting credibility then “(they) better come up with a smoking gun against the president that eclipses the brazenness of Biden’s admitted behavior.”
“So far Democrats are not delivering the goods,” we noted last month.
What have they delivered? Two draft articles of impeachment, one alleging Trump abused the power of his office by soliciting “the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election.”
A second draft article accuses Trump of obstructing congress by directing “the unprecedented, categorial and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives” in relation to the inquiry.
Take a look …
(Click to view)impeachment
(Via: U.S. House of Representatives)
The U.S. House judiciary committee is prepared to advance these resolutions this week, setting the stage for a pair of pivotal votes on the floor of the House chamber – perhaps as soon as next week.
Why not wait and let voters decide on Trump next fall?
“We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election,” judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler claimed earlier this week.
The urgency of Nadler and other impeachment hawks like Adam Schiff of California is putting numerous Democrats in a difficult spot, however. Pelosi can only afford to lose 16 members of her caucus and still pass articles of impeachment against Trump. The problem? Nearly twice that many Democrats (31) – including South Carolina’s own Joe Cunningham – occupy districts that were carried by Trump in 2016.
And as we have previously noted, it is one thing to support an inquiry into impeachment … it is something else entirely to vote to impeach.
Frankly, the fact there is even a discussion over whether Democrats have the votes to follow through with impeachment is an indictment of the process, which has been rightfully perceived as anti-climactic, predictable and partisan.
Again, this news outlet is no longer in the business of extolling Trump – or defending him from his critics. He has disappointed us on the bread-and-butter issues of taxes and spending, and he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the fight over his signature border security promise.
Still, so far Democrats have done exactly what Pelosi feared they would do by pursuing impeachment – taking the focus off of these failures while galvanizing Republican support behind Trump.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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