According to an opinion piece in the New Yorker, Democrats would be wasting their time bringing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. For one thing, the Republican-controlled Senate would never let it happen even if the House successfully started the process.
But perhaps more importantly, Democrats may win politically — and harm Trump more — by holding off on impeachment for now. This will allow them to continue to hold hearings (including possibly more public testimony like Michael Cohen’s) and also let them see the results of the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
This may help rid the country of Trump and Trumpism more effectively than bringing articles of impeachment before the House right now, according to the New Yorker.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has sent letters demanding documents and emails from eighty-one individuals and agencies connected to Trump. This is sure to keep Trump’s crimes and corruption before the public for the rest of the year and probably into the 2020 campaign season.
In fact, even Nadler is “slow-rolling” the idea of impeaching Trump — at least for now.
According to the New Yorker:
“There is a real and reasonable argument among congressional Democrats—and, indeed, among the public—about whether pursuing Trump’s impeachment, even assuming that we get the facts, is a wise idea.”
“The arguments against it range from the hyper-practical point that a President Mike Pence would be worse, to the procedural-minded one that, since impeaching Trump would mean that two of the four most recent Presidents would have been impeached, and since articles of impeachment can be passed by a simple majority in the House, every President from now on would risk facing it the moment the opposition has a majority.“
A bigger practical issue is that the GOP can block impeachment in the Senate, making the whole exercise a waste of energy and political capital. It would also allowTrump’s supporters in Congress and in conservative media to scream that Democrats were trying to stage a coup that would be illegitimate.
The New Yorker suggests that when dealing with Trump, Democrats take their cue from the way the good guys often dealt with villains in old movie westerns. They would often say “Hanging’s too good for him” when dealing with an especially heinous bad guy, and that could apply to our current president:
“In this case, impeachment is seen as too rarefied, too technical a proceeding to end Trumpism. Trump should be defeated at the polls; ejecting him in any other way provides too many opportunities for after-the-fact stab-in-the-back recriminations, and will only further convince his base that the ‘deep state’ conspired against him.”
The New Yorker goes on to point out that Trump — and his family — are facing multiple investigations that will continue to hurt him at the polls. And, while going through the motions of impeachment might make some Democrats feel good, it also might help the president by allowing him to play the victim (which he is very good at).
Despite Support for Impeaching Trump, Democrats Will Be Better Off Waiting
Lately we have seen increasing support for impeachment in public opinion polls, especially those taken after Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress.
Last week we reported:
“Democrats in the House of Representatives are planning to roll out a lengthy series of investigations into President Donald Trump’s finances and his administration over the next few months as part of a long-term strategy to remove Trump from office.”
And there is no question that the many probes that Trump, his family, his associates, and his administration will face in coming months will hurt the president politically.
It’s Better to Bleed Trump Slowly
So the New Yorker is probably correct. It is better politically for Democrats to “bleed Trump slowly” through upcoming indictments and public hearings. Ultimately it may be more emotionally satisfying as well.
Donald Trump is the kind of villain for whom a long, slow, painful death is much deserved. In his case it is indeed true that “hanging’s too good for him.”
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.