An attempted Trump impeachment could be inevitable even though most Americans oppose impeachment.
Polling shows that substantial majorities of the voter groups Democrats need to win favor impeachment. Conversely, a majority of Americans oppose impeachment.
For instance, the polling firm Civigs estimates that 53% of Americans between 18 and 34; 51% of women, 83% of Democrats, 80% of African Americans, and 63% of Hispanics favored impeachment on 23 September 2019. In contrast, 49% of all Americans opposed impeachment on September 23, 2019.
Thus, the Democratic base favors impeachment. Moreover, the only way Democrats can win many races next year is with a strong turnout from their base. Attempting to impeach President Donald J. Trump (R-New York); whom 83% of Democrats want impeached, is a sure-fire way to fire up the Democratic base.
Is Impeachment Good For Democrats?
Moreover, impeachment is popular in some Democratic strongholds. For instance, 57% of Californians favor impeachment, Civiqs calculates.
Plus 58% of people in Massachusetts, 52% in New York, and 55% of voters in Washington State favor impeachment. Hence, many Congressional Democrats could face primary races in places where the majority favors impeachment.
Impeachment could create problems in some swing states Democrats will need next year. For instance, 59% of people in Arizona and 51% of people in Florida oppose impeachment. However, 43% of people in Florida back impeachment.
Could Impeachment Help Trump?
However, opposition to impeachment does not mean support for Trump. FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of polls estimates 53% of Americans disapproved of Trump on 25 September 2019.
Hence, Americans dislike both Donald J. Trump and impeachment. This confusion could hurt Republicans because impeachment could give voters new reasons to hate Trump.
Voters could blame Trump; and not Democrats, for impeachment, for example. Moreover, an impeachment inquiry could dig up new dirt and give voters new reasons to hate Trump.
Note to Democrats here: when you investigate Trump ignore Ukraine and Russia and concentrate on Saudi Arabia and China. To explain, I suspect Trump is working with the people with the money. Saudi Arabia and China have far more money than Russia and Ukraine.
Have we reached the Tipping Point for Impeachment?
Moreover, America could be approaching what Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin calls the “tipping point for impeachment.” To clarify, the tipping point is when the political gains from impeachment exceed the liabilities.
I think the tipping point for impeachment is when a majority of voters favor Trump’s removal. On 24 September 2019, Civiqs estimated 49% of Americans opposed impeachment and 45% favored impeachment. Therefore, all we need to reach the tipping point is for 4% of voters to change their minds.
I think one unpopular act by Trump could change those voters’ minds. Attacking Iran, or sending troops to Saudi Arabia, for instance.
Moreover, impeachment is most popular in the high-population states where Democrats will need a high turn out next year. For instance, 54% of people in Illinois, 57% of people in California, 51% of people in New Jersey, and 52% of New Yorkers favor impeachment.
Meanwhile, opposition to impeachment is highest in Red States, Democrats are unlikely to win. For instance, 27% of people in Wyoming and 24% of West Virginia residents support impeachment.
Hence, impeachment’s benefits could outweigh its risks for many Democrats. Under those circumstances, impeachment will not go away.
History Shows Impeachment could help Democrats
Notably, Republicans did well nationally in 2000 the first election after they tried to impeach President William Jefferson Clinton (D-Arkansas) in 1999.
For instance, Republicans retained their majority in the U.S. Senate in 2000. In addition, Republicans maintained a slim majority of 221 to 212 in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000. Finally, Republicans squeaked to a controversial Electoral College win in the 2000 presidential election.
Thus, history shows impeachment could help Democrats win next year. Given the history, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) will have a hard time keeping the 137 House Democrats who favor an impeachment in check.
Therefore, the odds of impeachment are increasing. Either way, a course of events that could dramatically increase America’s political polarization is likely. Impeachment could be in our future because it makes sense politically for Democrats.
Nancy Pelosi is Smart to ask for an Impeachment Inquiry
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), made an uncharacteristically smart move by starting an impeachment inquiry on 24 September 2019.
Pelosi’s move is smart because it appeases the Democratic base while potentially defusing the impeachment landmine. To explain, the Democrats are not impeaching Trump. Instead, they are stepping up their investigation of the president’s activities.
To clarify, there are three steps in impeachment. First, investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, which is what Pelosi authorized. Second, a vote on impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives or a special panel.
Third, a trial in the U.S. Senate, in which Senators vote to remove or censure the President. Since the Republicans control the Senate impeachment is unlikely without strong evidence of serious wrongdoing by the President.
The inquiry helps Democrats because it unifies their party; and the House membership, on the eve of the 2020 presidential election. Specifically, Pelosi avoids a battle with the 205 House Democrats who support the impeachment inquiry. By uniting the party and base, Pelosi could replicate the Republican success of 2000.
How an Impeachment Inquiry could Hurt Trump
Furthermore, an impeachment inquiry can hurt Trump in four ways. First, the Democrats can dig up dirt that makes Trump look real bad.
Second, Democrats can control the narrative by making the headlines and social media posts about Trump’s wrongdoing. Making the negative story the election narrative is always a great way to destroy the incumbent.
Third, an impeachment inquiry will distract the President from his reelection efforts. Instead, of the campaign trail Trump will be in Washington D.C. organizing his defense.
Thus, impeachment could really hurt Republicans because Trump is the only popular candidate the GOP has. I doubt Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana); or Ted Nugent, can fire up the crowds at the rallies the way the Donald does.
How Impeachment can Hurt Republicans
Fourth, done right impeachment could pit Republicans against each other.
Democrats could dig up something on Trump so bad it turns some major Republicans against the president. Statements showing how much money the Saudis put in Trump’s overseas bank account, for instance.
Such a revelation could blow the Grand Old Party (GOP) wide open and spark a real primary race. Notably, there are already three Republicans challenging Trump in the primary and few others like Jeb Bush (R-Florida) and U.S Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) are making presidential noises.
Similarly, all the sleaze a Trump investigation will turn up could make the President look so bad nobody will want anything to do with him. Conversely, the investigation could backfire on Democrats, if the public starts associating them with the Trump sleaze.
Finally, I do not think an impeachment inquiry will change most people’s minds without sensational evidence of blatant wrongdoing by the president. I think most Americans have already made up their minds about Trump.
Hence, an impeachment inquiry will have little effect on next year’s presidential election. Under those circumstances, an inquiry will disappoint both Democrats dreaming of the President’s destruction and Republicans fantasizing about a Trump landslide.