When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her remarks at the Capitol on Tuesday night, legions of online-focused, progressive zealots (the kind of people who wish Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was president, in other words) jumped for joy. Finally! Pelosi is pursuing impeachment! It took way too long, but the old bag finally got there. Now we can impeach the Bad Orange Man, throw him out of the White House, and cruise our way to the restoration of the Republican and all for which it stands: Namely, open borders, free universal healthcare, guaranteed basic income, free college, and a chicken in every pot. Or at least pot in every pipe.
But while the millennials are salivating, more experienced Democrats are looking on with a concerned frown. According to more than a dozen Democrats that Politico spoke to this week, the prospect of impeachment proceedings are cause for serious concern. Many of them believe that “a D.C. spectacle will play right into Trump’s reelection strategy.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ready for the House to open an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump — but outside Washington, there’s creeping anxiety throughout the party it might only help the president clinch a second term.
More than a dozen Democratic Party officials and strategists told POLITICO this week that the calculation against impeachment that Pelosi once held — that it’s unpopular and plays into Trump’s hands in the election — remains just as valid now.
“Of course, I want impeachment from a moral perspective,” said Michael Ceraso, a former New Hampshire director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. “But from a political perspective, I don’t want to spend a year talking about how Democrats tried to impeach him and couldn’t pull it off.”
Instead of health care and kitchen-table economics — the issues the party ran on in last year’s blue-wave election — the campaign will inevitably be consumed by a doomed effort to boot Trump from office, skeptics say. All when Trump will be on the ballot in a matter of months, anyway.
“The Democrats become single-issue candidates, which weakens them,” Ceraso said, adding that the proceedings will only solidify Trump’s base.
Another Democratic strategist recalled the way Bill Clinton’s approval rating soared in the wake of the GOP’s failed impeachment trial. He suspected something similar might happen here, given that there is little chance the Republican-controlled Senate will convict the president.
“You know what Omar used to say on ‘The Wire’?” the strategist said. “If you come at the king, you best not miss.”
But miss they will, because there is less to their latest “foreign collusion” allegations than there were to the ones about Russia – and there wasn’t much there, either. To go back to this already-proven-dry well again is a sign of abject desperation on the part of a flailing political party. It won’t be pretty to watch, but we feel confident that, at the end of the day, Trump will be the one laughing.
All the way to a second term.