The Democrats, the Impeachment, and the Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown
It has been a virtual certainty from day one that the Republican-led Senate would not vote to remove President Trump. And many political pundits would agree that the House’s vote to impeach Trump, led by the Democrats, will only make him stronger. Why, then, proceed with such a suicidal political mission?
I’m sure there are some principled politicians in the House who genuinely believe that Trump is a danger to America and that he has committed crimes worthy of impeachment. In that case, they would be conscience-bound to vote for impeachment, even if they knew that Trump would not be removed and even if they knew their vote would only empower him all the more.
But I seriously doubt that many other Congressmen operate with such pure, non-partisan motives. For most of them, every vote is calculated. Will this help my reelection chances? Will this empower our party? Will this serve our larger goals?
Lest anyone be so idealistic as to doubt the highly partisan nature of our political system, just look at the latest polling data on the FiveThirtyEight website.
As of January 20, 86.3 percent of Democrats support impeaching the president in contrast with just 12.6% of Republicans. Hardly an even split.
And while Trump’s current approval rating is 44 percent, according to Gallup, “Forty-six percent of Americans say they would like their senators to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office, while 51% want their senators to vote against conviction so Trump will remain as president.”
So, efforts to remove the president from office are less popular than the president himself.
Why is it, then, that the Democrats have been so hell-bent on impeaching Trump, even before his inauguration? Why did they jump at the opportunity of exploiting the Ukraine call based on partial, second-hand evidence (at best)?
On December 4, 2019, the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times announced: “Letters to the Editor: Democrats wanted Trump impeached from the start because he deserved it.”
In contrast, on December 18, 2019, the Opinion section of Fox News carried an article by Matt Wolking titled, “Impeachment is based on Democrats’ hatred of Trump and anger at his election.”
Is it that simple? Has the Democrats’ intense hatred of the president impaired their judgment?
On February 11, 1999, one day before President Clinton was acquitted, Senator Charles Schumer outlined his reasons for opposing the impeachment process, focusing on the painful toll it had taken on the nation.
As the New York Post reported, Schumer’s words from 20 years ago are coming back to bite him today.
He wrote, “If you had asked me one year ago if people like this with such obvious political motives could use our courts, play the media and tantalize the legislative branch to achieve their ends of bringing down the President, I would have said ‘not a chance — that doesn’t happen in America.’”
He also said this: “It seems we have lost the ability to forcefully advocate for our position without trying to criminalize or at least dishonor our adversaries — often over matters having nothing to do with the public trust. And it is hurting the country; it is marginalizing and polarizing the Congress.”