Before the midterm elections, I wrote about the dubious pitch to voters that, if given back the House, the Democrats could impeach President Donald Trump. The fact is that the Democratic leadership was never willing to impeach Trump and, once the House flipped, proceeded to place as many delays and barriers in the path of impeachment as possible. The challenge is to appear like you want to impeach without actually moving to impeach. The result is a strategy of planned obsolescence — to run out the clock on impeachment while convincing voters that they are actually eager to impeach. The problem is that voters still believe the rhetoric and are getting ticked off by the failure to start impeachment inquiries when the leadership insists that Trump has committed impeachable offenses. Indeed, I have written that if these politicians are speaking truthfully about their belief that impeachable offenses have occurred, they have a duty to impeach and not shrug off their responsibility by blaming the expected result in the other house. This week Pelosi took a different spin: we cannot impeach Trump because that is what he wants.
Pelosi told the media this week that Trump is “goading” them to impeach and suggested that the last thing they want to do is to do what Trump wants. Instead, the Democrats have set about triggering a serious of lengthy court fights that will run out the clock into 2020 when they can just shrug and say it is just too late to impeach. At the same time, she is still claiming that this is “a constitutional crisis” because of constitutional violations.
Pelosi told an audience at Cornell University in New York City: “Don’t tell anybody I told you this: Trump is goading us to impeach him. That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like, taunting and taunting and taunting.”
Of course, Pelosi and others have been saying that Trump’s impeachable conduct is clear and convincing. The problem is that it is better for the leadership to keep voters angry without risking any backlash of an impeachment trial. This is not about the Constitution. It is about power.
In the meantime, we remain a nation of chumps — played by both parties in a hardened duopoly of power.