The Democrats’ Choice: Politics Or Their Constitutional Duty

While Democrats consider whether to impeach President Trump, the Democratic base, the Constitution, and history weigh down on their decision.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi applauding President Trump during the State of the Union – February 5, 2019. (AP)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi applauding President Trump during the State of the Union – February 5, 2019. (AP)

On Monday evening, #ImpeachDonaldTrump was trending number one on Twitter in the United States, and for good reason. The redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report told the story of a corrupt president who solicited and accepted election help from a foreign adversary and tried to obstruct the investigation into that conduct.

While calls for impeachment surged among the Democratic base, House Democrats held a conference call on Monday to discuss how they would proceed. Some representatives called for immediate impeachment but the main takeaway from the call was that House Democrats would not immediately impeach but pursue the facts via House investigations for now. That being said, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly told members of her caucus that impeachment is not off the table.

In Rantt’s Community Chat, Rantt Co-Founder and Newsroom Director Adam Al-Ali pointed out the possible hurdles Democratic leaders in the House are facing:

“I think Pelosi is facing serious internal pushback from scared purple/red state Democrats. ObamaCare wiped out the majority in 2010, and they remember that. Those Democrats in moderate districts may be afraid of losing their seats and think a vote to launch impeachment hearings could cost them the House majority. I disagree with their reasoning, but I think that’s what’s going on.”

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No one expects Senate Republicans to remove President Trump from office, but impeachment in the House could serve other purposes. Advocates for impeaching the President argue that not only would the act uphold the Constitution and show future presidents they can’t get away with this corruption, it would lay out all the facts for the American people ahead of 2020.

As Rantt Staff Writer Bob Cunningham outlined in his piece on impeaching President Trump, the fears of political backlash and recent comparisons to the impeachment of President Clinton omit key differences:

[Impeachment] also doesn’t have to be politically ruinous for Democrats. Yes, President Bill Clinton’s approval ratings improved during and after his impeachment proceedings, but that was because the American people largely recognized it was nothing more than sour Republicans trying to undermine a popular and effective president.

Because of Clinton’s successes and popularity, he could withstand impeachment proceedings. Trump, on the other hand, has been an absolute trainwreck since day one, has proved himself unfit in every way imaginable, and is the least popular president in the nearly 75-year history of polling.

Trump has none of the things going for him that Clinton had. And we all remember how badly impeachment proceedings hurt Republicans’ chances to take the WH in 2000, which is why we had 8 years of President Gore.

See what I’m saying here?

If Democrats take the cautious route, they may be well suited to launch impeachment hearings after they get Mueller to testify. The can get Mueller to say on camera what his report says: that the Office of Legal Counsel’s memo stating a sitting president can’t be indicted weighed on his prosecutorial decision and that he left the decision to Congress. There is more than enough in the Mueller report to launch impeachment proceedings.

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News // Donald Trump / House Democrats / Nancy Pelosi / Robert Mueller