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Democrats' wimpy impeachment has made Trump stronger than ever

Ted Rall on

"Many Democrats fear that Trump may be laying an impeachment trap," Stephen Collins wrote for CNN last May. "It's possible that the wider political divides get, the more Trump benefits. The spectacle would help him charge up the political base he needs to turn out in droves in 2020 with claims their 2016 votes were being stolen by political elites."

Give that man whatever passes for a cigar in this smokeless age.

Any number of metaphors serves to illustrate the unintended effect that the hapless failed impeachment of President Donald Trump is having on his base of support. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger; the Democrats did just that with an attack that didn't stand a chance of felling its target.

If you're thinking about taking a swing at a bully at a bar, be sure you can deliver a roundhouse punch that's going to lay the bastard out flat on the floor. But if you don't have what it takes to bring him down with the first blow, sneak out to the parking lot.

The new coronavirus outbreak has me thinking about disease. There's a medical metaphor that I like best: When fighting off an infection, it's better not to use any medication than to take a weak antibiotic and risk strengthening what ails you.

No matter the analogy, President Trump emerges from his Senate impeachment trial as a more formidable adversary. While his overall popularity remains at about 46%, the number of voters who "strongly" support him just hit a three-year high, indicating that he is better off than before impeachment. This should come to the surprise of no one who remembers the humiliation of former President Bill Clinton. Republican overreach over Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky led the Democrat to leave office in 2000 with soaring popularity.

 

Probably the biggest movement in favor of Trump has been with formerly "anti-Trump Republicans" who now see the truth of Trump supporters' claims that Democrats would do and say anything in order to get rid of a sitting Republican president. The ranks of never-Trumpers are shrinking, throwing a wrench into the strategy of centrist candidates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.

Polls in key swing states show disproportionately high disapproval for impeachment. Voters in these places tend to prefer antiestablishment candidates. Impeachment allows Trump to frame himself as the rebel getting picked on by the in crowd, congressional Democrats.

Impeachment -- more specifically, this very lame, rushed, pro forma impeachment -- also dispirits Democratic voters who see, once again, that the Democratic Party only seems to wage wars it knows it can't win. What's the point of voting for these clowns?

One thing is for sure: No matter what perfidy is discovered or comes to light in the future, it's going to be all but impossible to take a second stab at impeachment. Now Trump really could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Impeaching the same president twice is all but inconceivable.

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