Democratic candidate Julian Castro made a strong argument in favor of impeaching President Trump on the second night of CNN’s presidential debate. In a nutshell, he said if the Democratic-majority House doesn’t impeach, President Trump will say they had nothing. If they impeach and it gets shut down in the Senate, which it will, then Democrats can point fingers at the Republican control of the other chamber as the reason impeachment failed.
It’s a good political strategy with one major flaw.
Impeachments are serious business. Americans do not like having their time and taxpayer dollars wasted on frivolous political stunts. To this day, were still hearing about how terrible it was for the GOP to waste time and energy impeaching President Clinton, and he’s not exactly the most popular president around today on either side of the political aisle. If Democrats impeach Trump and hold public hearings, they had better bring incontrovertible proof.
They don’t need enough proof to convince themselves; once they start the process, it’s guaranteed to result in an impeachment being handed to the Senate to hear and shoot down. In the House, the vote will go along party lines as any Democrat that votes against impeachment or any Republican who votes for it will be out of a job in 2021. The Senate is very likely to have at least a couple of defections from the Democrats. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney might side with the Democrats.
The proof they need must be seen in the eyes of the American people. The narrative in mainstream media will support the efforts other than Fox News and WSJ. CNN and MSNBC have already impeached the President in their own dreams, while the NY Times, Washington Post, and other left-leaning legacy news outlets will approve of impeachment if there’s a shred of credible evidence supporting it.
But as the American people have shown in the last three years, we’re not as driven by the media talking heads and columnists as we have been in the past. If anything, mainstream media has become an exercise in confirmation bias while social media has played more of a direct role in shaping hearts and minds.
To be more specific, the proof has to be solid in the eyes of undecided voters. Maybe they’re scared of the socialists. Maybe they’re confused by the Mueller report. Maybe they’re just not paying attention until closer to election time. These undecided voters are the ones who will decide whether the Democrats in Congress made their case or played politics instead. If they believe the case was strong, Castro’s theory is sound. But if impeachment turns out to be as flimsy as the Mueller report, the Democrats will be seen as subverting the process, wasting energy, and obstructing for the sake of political expediency.
If the Democrats roll with impeachment and come to the table with little more than Mueller presented, they won’t just solidify President Trump’s second term. They could be signing many of their own pink slips in 2020.
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