by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
And you thought Democrats won the House out of fear Republicans would drop coverage of preexisting conditions. That they wanted to spend this Congress addressing the cost of prescription drugs, building roads and bridges, resolving the legal status of DACA recipients, expanding gun background checks. Don’t be silly! Rashida Tlaib let spill the real Democratic agenda back in January, when she said they were going to “impeach the motherf—er.”
Democrats have a problem. The base wants to impeach President Trump, ASAP, but the public does not. Indeed, Trump’s approval rating is the highest it’s been in the Gallup survey, right around Obama’s at this point in his term. The brute facts of public opinion suggest that the impeachment of Trump would look more like Bill Clinton’s trial than Richard Nixon’s. Not only would Trump remain in office; the backlash might deprive the Democrats of their 17-seat House majority.
For months, Nancy Pelosi’s solution has been to walk right up to the line of impeachment without actually crossing it. Unleash committee chairmen to fire their subpoena cannons in every direction. Make unrealistic demands of Attorney General Barr. Have Swalwell and Lieu and the rest of the cable gang keep alive the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign was in criminal cahoots with Russia. Drag out the process into next year, when a weakened and bedraggled Trump faces the eventual Democratic nominee. That way Pelosi gets the political benefits of impeachment without the costs.
It’s not working.