Democrats giving up on impeachment? Don't count on it
To the dismay of their base, few Democrats are talking Trump's impeachment if the House flips next Tuesday. They needn't worry.
Speaker-in-Waiting Pelosi, concerned about voters skittish on the topic, has almost certainly instructed campaigns to avoid the I-word. Publicly, she has said bringing charges against Trump should Democrats gain control of the House is "not a priority."
Don't believe her.
But, but, you say, Pelosi and Schumer both know there's no chance Trump would be convicted by the Senate and removed from office. In fact, a conviction would mean President Mike Pence, which is not a desirable outcome for Democrats. So what's the point of impeaching Trump?
Let me count the ways.
Impeachment will become one of the media's top (and continuing) stories if Democrats take the House. The aim: to rehabilitate the failed effort to delegitimize this president and his policies, both in the past and going forward.
Whatever the nothingburger charges against Trump are, they'll be voted on early in the term and passed on a party-line vote by Pelosi's robots. The reasoning: An impeached president governs under a cloud. Democrats and their media allies will keep that cloud in place through November 3, 2020 to give their nominee for president a P.R. edge over Trump, who will not quit the game.
From Day One of her reign as speaker, Pelosi's ducklings will block anything Trump and Republicans propose, arguing that nothing can happen until impeachment is no longer an issue, meaning not until Trump is gone. Sounds a little like a government shutdown in place, or maybe the government zombified. Democrats mean to bollix up congress and the administration for two years and blame the insanity on Trump.
What the media will not do is cover the consequences of one body of the legislature acting not to oppose the administration, but to paralyze it. Any disruption resulting from Democrats' intransigence on dealing with Trump will be laid at the president's feet for bringing impeachment upon himself.
If you liked the Kavanaugh hearings, you'll love the hearings conducted by Democratic House chairs like Cummings, Waters, and Nadler, to name a few. Their inquisitions will be played up by the MSM to convince the public that Trump is unfit and his actions as president illegal and morally indefensible.
Another benefit of impeachment minus conviction for Democrats: They'll argue that an impeached president – convicted or not – has lost the public's trust and squandered the moral authority to appoint a Supreme Court justice. This rationale may appeal to squishy Republican senators if the time comes when Justice Ginsburg is called to appear before the Judge of us all.
To be sure, the president and many Republicans tell voters in broad strokes what the Democrats plan, but it's not clear to me if the message is getting through.
And the message: For Democrats, impeachment is the masterstroke that will stop Trump in his tracks over the next two years and lead to a Democrat winning the White House in 2020.
I hope voters are paying attention.
Steve Grammatico is the author of You Hear Me, Barack? PC-Free Conservative Satire. He blogs at You Hear Me, Barack? A Repository of Conservative Satire.