President Trump is a symptom of a very real rift in our culture and our politics. He has exploited that chasm and found a way to both use it for his own purposes and worsen it. For this reason alone, he is the worst man to ever occupy the White House and he deserves all the condemnation that he will receive from historians in the future.
But impeachment is a big mistake, a very big mistake. Democrats, who have never quite come to grips with the fact that they really lost the 2016 election and that a majority of the Electoral College actually gave a clown a majority of votes, have walked into a trap.
Pure and simple, the president will not be removed from office. Even the toughest prosecutors around would never bring a case to trial if they believe the evidence will not persuade a jury to convict. And regardless of the clear evidence of abuse of power and soliciting bribery, the jury of the U.S. Senate will not convict the president. The public’s support for impeachment, let alone removal from office, is actually down a few points after the bombshell public hearings in the House. Most Americans have their minds made up one way or the other, and even if the remaining one in five ultimately leans toward impeachment, there will still be about 45% or so who will oppose it. At the same time, the president’s approval rating is at 44%, actually up a point or two. And the economy is soaring, with the chief economist for Goldman now projecting that unemployment could be as low as 3.25% by next fall.
Where is impeachment going? Debate and a vote in favor in the House. Debate and defeat in the Senate. Only the actual dates of the latter are in doubt.
So why pursue it? If, as leading Democrats say, it is a matter of principle, then where was that principle when President Clinton was having an affair with an intern in his employ and when he lied to a grand jury? And where was the outrage over principle when President George W. Bush lied to Congress, the public, and the United Nations about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Elections are supposed to be the will of the people, only overturned for the gravest reasons. When I polled for Reuters three weeks after the contested election of 2000, I found that only 57% of those who voted for Al Gore agreed that if Bush were declared the winner, he would actually be the “legitimate” President. But even worse, two in three Bush voters said that Gore would be “illegitimate.” When Mitch McConnell said in 2010 that his No. 1 priority in leading Senate Republicans was to ensure that President Obama would get only one term, he was essentially saying again that elections do not matter if my candidate doesn’t win.
We are in the same predicament with impeachment. Both sides have their own facts, their own base, their own reality — and neither side is about to back down. Thus we are left with the only reason for actually going through with the process: to make a point.
And that is what is so troubling. We live in a world where all we do is make a point.
I will give due credit to both houses of Congress for passing bipartisan family leave for federal workers and other things — but what about immigration, infrastructure, the environment, a higher minimum wage and so on? Instead, we have government by social media.
Impeachment isn’t going to work. It won’t make us better. It won’t heal any wounds. Impeachment will only leave us where we started: hopelessly split as a nation.
I think the House should instead vote to censure the president for the charges they have developed. Then pass bills on infrastructure, immigration, minimum wage and more — and use those as their platform going into 2020. That would make a real point.