The Faireway Editorial Board
Over the course of the past six months, cries for the impeachment of President Trump have arisen from a faction within the Democratic party. These voices, primarily of younger party members such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Illan Omar, have used the Mueller investigation as the catalyst behind their movement to oust President Trump from office.
Despite the fervor from these Democrats, less extreme members of the caucus, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have vehemently opposed beginning the process of impeachment. Though Pelosi has alluded that she believes Trump has committed acts worthy of impeachment, she, along with the majority of Democrats, have distanced themselves from the “impeach Trump” contingent of the party. This raises the question: If impeachment is on the table, why not go ahead and try?
Even if there is doubt over the President’s guilt –or the likelihood of actually impeaching the Trump– one can see the political savvy in beginning the process if for no other reason than to lambast, inquire, and besmirch the President before the 2020 election. Yet, the majority of Democrats oppose this route. Their pause, if I were to hazard a guess, is not rooted in any deep-seated moral dilemma arising from the fear of condemning a possibly innocent man.
Public opinion, however, may be what is holding the Democrats back. While Trump has had historically low approval ratings, as Graph 1 suggests, it is very possible that Americans feel that impeachment is too extreme a response to Trump’s transgressions.
In fact, In July of 2017, when Monmouth University began asking the question:
Do you think President Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the Presidency, or not?
It turned out that despite the American people’s general disapproval for the job Trump is doing, a nearly equal amount of Americans believe that he should not be compelled to leave the Presidency (Graph 2).
For this reason –along with the fact that it is very possible the impeachment process would be an unsuccessful and catastrophic political failure– it seems that the best course of action for the Democratic party is to scream “impeach, impeach, impeach” and do absolutely nothing. In doing so, the Democrats will plant a seed of doubt in the mind of the American public leading up to the 2020 election, while not having to face the music of a failed attempt to impeach President Trump.