Earlier this year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly stated that it wouldn’t be worth impeaching Donald Trump unless the Mueller report or other criminal investigations exposed significant dirt on Trump. Today the redacted Mueller report was released, and sure enough, it’s chock full of dirt on Trump. Yet Pelosi’s top lieutenant, Steny Hoyer, looked at the report and said that it’s still not worth impeaching Trump. So what gives? There’s a highly strategic, and in fact psychological, strategy at play here.
Actually, it starts with simple math. House Democrats could impeach Donald Trump right this minute if they wanted to. But once the process moved to the Senate, it would not result in Trump’s ouster unless twenty Senate Republicans joined all of the Senate Democrats in voting to oust him. As of right now, this would not happen. So Trump would survive impeachment, then he would spin it as an exoneration, and he would campaign on it in 2020. It would be an utter failure. But this is only half the story.
The above is what would happen if Trump were impeached right now. If you look on social media today, you’re seeing a whole lot of people who are really ticked off that Trump isn’t being impeached right now. In fact a lot people are specifically ticked off at the Democrats for not having started impeachment yet – and that’s good news for the Democrats. Why? The only way impeachment can succeed is if so many people are demanding it so angrily, Senate Republicans decide to go along with Trump’s ouster, for fear that they’ll take the brunt of it when they come up for reelection if they don’t do something about Trump.
What we’re surely seeing right now is a coordinated effort by House Democrats to ramp up public enthusiasm for impeachment, even while fanning anger at themselves for not having done it yet. It’s why you’re seeing influential but lower ranking House Democrats like Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez publicly calling for impeachment, even as leaders like Pelosi and Hoyer continue to say it’s not time yet.
Once the majority of Americans are angry at the Democratic leadership for not having pulled the impeachment trigger yet, that’s when impeachment will work. That’s the whole point. The Democratic House can only corner the Republican Senate into ousting Donald Trump if the push for impeachment is coming from the teeming hordes, and not from the Democratic Party leadership itself – and Nancy Pelosi knows it. It’s why she’s doing this the way she’s doing it. She’ll impeach Trump if and when she can get things to a point where impeachment will actually work.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report