Nervous Nancy's two alternatives
Barring any major "smoking guns" from here on out (or anything else severely changing the landscape of these impeachment proceedings), Nancy Pelosi will have quite a decision on her hands. She knows that any impeachment, to have any kind of historical validity, must have (as Jerry Nadler repeated said) broad, bipartisan support. Here are the speaker's choices:
1. Go for (in football terms) the "short, high percentage pass" and propose a resolution of censure.
In this instance, it is widely believed that she would get her broad, bipartisan support. The president would receive a loud and clear message from Congress, without the ability to take numerous victory laps while claiming "complete vindication." The country would be spared (in Pelosi's words) a "traumatic impact." The news coverage would focus on the election season and not have to provide wall-to-wall coverage of a Senate trial, which could prove politically destructive to the Democrats. Likewise, the senators currently running for president will be spared the obligation of returning to Washington having to (effectively) suspend their respective campaigns for an indefinite length of time, while they will have to "sit there quietly" and watch all that goes on in a trial, which could last weeks or even months. The many House members in "Trump districts" would likely suffer far lesser consequences at the ballot box with such a vote. And in the end, history will ultimately judge this unfortunate chapter in our history as fair to all sides. After all, isn't the Democratic Party all about "fairness"?
The risk she takes is a severe backlash from her "rank and file" — which may be loud initially. But it won't last long. Her seat is safe, in any case. It is unlikely that there would be a mass "primaried" retaliation on the part of the rank and file due to the fact that this would be her decision alone. She could (conceivably anyway) calm down such individuals as Maxine Waters and Al Green and get them to see the "big picture." The initial noise would quickly die down, and everyone can get back to "business as usual."
Caricature by Donkey Hotey.
2. Go for the "Hail Mary." Go for broke, the whole enchilada, the "all or nothing," "shoot for moon"; let it ride, all on the big "I" word!
The likelihood of biartisanship is far less likely here. History would show this to be a total partisan hit job and could tie up Democrat presidential candidates for an unknown length of time for the trial in the Senate. Plus it would put many Trump districts' House reps in an extremely uncomfortable position with less than a year to go before the election.
Pelosi will end up pleasing a relatively small percentage consisting of those who are passionate about "sticking it to Trump." With an almost certain acquittal in the Senate, a celebratory Trump awaits as he proclaims ultimate victory and makes those House members who voted "aye" pay dearly.
With the vote tentatively scheduled to give America a Christmas present it will not soon forget, we will see just how Nervous Nancy chooses to "ring in the holidays."