by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Democrats won control of the House fair and square. That means they get to drive the agenda.
Their agenda, kinda sorta, is the impeachment of President Trump — which is to say, the quixotic quest to build political support for it. According to the Washington Post, that effort is about to sink deeper into farce: Hearings on Stormy Daniels and the hush-money payments to conceal trysts that Donald Trump had — allegedly, of course — a decade before he ran for president.
Such a quest is a two-edged sword, though. If this is how the Democrats choose to spend the public’s time and money, they must be accountable for it. They must be pressured to demonstrate the courage of their anti-Trump convictions. So far, for all the bluster, they’ve gotten away with cowardice.
Most of the impeachment quasi-action is in the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.). We have to qualify the word “action” because, while Nadler claims to be conducting an impeachment inquiry, his committee has never actually voted to have one.
This reflects the political needle Democrats cannot thread.
Their control of the House hinges on 41 seats that, after the 2018 victory, they hold in Trump-friendly districts. Constituents in those districts do not want Trump impeached. Even most of those opposed to Trump take the sensible position that he should be opposed at the ballot box, and the country spared a rabidly partisan, substantively scant, and inevitably futile removal effort. And because, unlike in 2018, the president will be on the ballot in 2020, the pro-Trump voters will be out in force. An unpopular impeachment push could spell electoral doom.