Democrats' wimpy impeachment has made Trump stronger than ever
How did this happen? Democrats made one mistake after another.
First and foremost was the lousy choice of impeachment counts. Pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden looked and felt too much like political business as usual, not a breach of normality so outrageous as to justify removal from office. Shades of Rob Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois.
The Ukraine line of inquiry prompted as many questions as it tried to ask. If Trump is corrupt, what about the Bidens? Why were we giving aid to Ukraine in the first place when millions of Americans are homeless or poor? Why should Americans care about Ukraine? The country certainly isn't, as Democrats alleged, important to American national security.
A slim majority thought the Ukraine call was wrong. But they didn't care enough to impeach him over it.
Americans did care about emoluments and the president using his office to enrich himself. They did care about his wacko temperament and erratic behavior. They did care about separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Inexplicably, the Democrats let the good bad stuff go.
Democrats screwed up badly with timing. You don't have to be James Carville to know that it's foolish to start an impeachment trial at the beginning of a presidential election campaign. You certainly don't do it when many of your big-name candidates are senators who can't campaign because they are stuck in Washington. Yet that's exactly what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff did.
Starting the impeachment process so late in Trump's first term forced Democrats into a rushed pro-forma process. Because Trump administration officials broadcasted their intention to resist congressional subpoenas and the courts might have taken months to compel them to testify, Democratic prosecutors didn't bother to subpoena key Republican witnesses or documents. (GOP obstruction became the basis for a dubious second count, "contempt of Congress.")
None of this would have been a problem had the "resistance" started working on impeachment in 2017. If they were worried about the politicizing effort of impeachment on the midterm elections, they could have begun impeachment in December 2018, which would have given them enough time to work through the court system last year.
No serious student of politics thought there was a real chance that this process, rushed over a relatively inconsequential issue, could convince 17 Republican senators to vote to remove a president for the first time in American history. Nevertheless, Democrats started a fight they knew they couldn't win.
Now liberals are dispirited. The president goes into his reelection campaign stronger than ever. A second term looks likelier than ever. Heckuva job, Nancy and Adam.
Ted Rall, the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of "Francis: The People's Pope." He is on Twitter @TedRall. You can support Ted's hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.
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