A new midterm elections strategy has appeared among Republicans this year, and is being supported by President Donald Trump. The strategy is to stoke fear among the voters that if Democrats take back control of Congress then Trump will be impeached.
One can easily understand why Trump would support this strategy. But what is not clear is whether or not it is a viable strategy that will work.
This has been an interesting week in Trumpworld. Even though special counsel Robert Mueller has not made much news recently, new Trump legal team member Rudy Giuliani has more than made up for it.
On Sunday the former New York mayor kept digging himself (and is boss) deeper into the hole that he had created in his Wednesday Hannity interview where he said that Trump had reimbursed attorney Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Giuliani said that there might be more such payoffs out there, made by Cohen on Trump’s behalf. He also said that Cohen may “flip” on Trump and start cooperating with prosecutors.
Giuliani spoke to the Washington Post and at least gave an explanation for all of his antics this past week: “Everybody’s reacting to us now, and I feel good about that because that’s what I came in to do.”
So Rudy feels good, but how about everybody else? Democrats are loving it because they think all of the Trump sleaze and chaos helps them. But what about Republicans?
According to Politico,
“The White House appears to count on Trump’s base continuing to forgive his alleged moral lapses — and as his team seems to bet that GOP voters will turn out in November if they believe it’s the only way to save the president’s political skin.”
So in effect Republicans believe that impeachment talk will drive voter turnout for their benefit in the midterm elections. And that’s what Trump is saying also.
At a recent rally in Michigan Trump had this to say:
“We have to keep the House because if we listen to Maxine Waters, she’s going around saying, ‘We will impeach him.’ We gotta go out and we gotta fight like hell and we gotta win the House and we gotta win the Senate.”
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon also believes the fall elections will be (and should be) about Trump:
“You’ve got to make it an up or down vote Nov. 6. I want Trump on the ticket in every district,” Bannon said in an interview. “You have to put Donald Trump on the ticket. You’re not voting for Congress. You’re voting for Donald Trump.”
Democrats are split on the issue. Many want to go for Trump’s blood and start impeachment hearings in January of 2019, if they take back control of Congress. Others — including many in leadership — believe they will do better to downplay impeachment talk and focus on issues like the economy and healthcare.
In The New York Times, California Democrat Adam Schiff warned against impeachment talk. “Let President Trump arouse his voters as he will,” Schiff wrote, “while Democrats continue to focus on the economy, family and a return to basic decency. And in the meantime, all Americans should reserve judgment until the investigations have run their course.”
This is probably good advice. Democrats need to talk about what is important in the day to day lives of voters, and they need to convince them their party will do a better job of solving problems than the current GOP Congress. Rather than impeaching Trump, Democrats should focus on winning elections.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.