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Impeach Trump? Why top Democrats say it's too soon

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Billionaire Tom Steyer was outraged that Fox News stopped running his ads that call for the impeachment of the network's most famous fan, President Donald Trump.

Fox claims the ads received "strong negative reaction" from viewers. That's not hard to believe for Trump's favorite network, especially after he tweeted his own predictable condemnation of Steyer as "wacky & totally unhinged, who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning, never wins elections!"

That last part is odd, since Steyer, a hedge fund manager-turned-environmentalist and the Democratic Party's single largest donor, has not run for election, although he sounds like a man who might.

For now, Steyer accuses Fox News of censorship, but he's moving on. From this week through New Year's Eve, Steyer is spending $10 million on more ads -- bringing his total reported personal spending to $20 million -- including digital billboards in New York's Times Square that call for the president's impeachment for 10 minutes every hour.

That should make an interesting backdrop for crowd shots when the Times Square ball drops.

Meanwhile, back on the ground, Democrats are rushing ahead with impeachment efforts, mostly in the party's left-progressive wing, even as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top establishment Democrats try to put on the brakes.

It's not a question of "whether" to impeach, establishment leaders say, but "when." Without strong, concrete evidence of impeachable offenses, they argue, the currently Republican-controlled House and Senate would make Trump's removal from office all but impossible.

More pressing is the party's need to win seats in next year's midterm elections. Appearing to be too eager and overzealous in their opposition to Trump would play right into Republicans' hands, party leaders insist.

They make a good point. Republicans overreached in their failed impeachment of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. In the 1998 midterms, Republicans lost five seats in the House and barely broke even in the Senate. Clinton's approval ratings, buoyed by a booming economy, actually went up.

These days, patience may be a virtue, but the Democrats' restless left wing seems to think it is next to impossible, too. Trump's impeachment has become for Democrats what the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, became to Republicans under President Barack Obama: an effective crowd-pleaser and rallying cry to fellow partisans, even when party leaders think it doesn't have a chance to actually happen.

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(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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