The Democrats Who Cried Impeachment

Democrats should stop threatening Trump with impeachment every time he makes a decision that doesn’t further their agendas.

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Lately, it’s been almost impossible to scroll through the Internet without a couple of articles titled something along the lines of “The New Reason Trump Must be Impeached” or “15 Things Trump Has Done That Are Impeachment-Worthy” popping up. Only two presidents in American history have actually faced impeachment—Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Both ultimately remained in office and served out the rest of their terms, and the threat of impeachment hadn’t plagued any president since. Despite the rarity of its historical occurrence, Democrats have now grown absolutely convinced that they can wield impeachment as a valid partisan tool to get Trump hoisted out of office.

The impeachment process is rather difficult (it typically requires the overturning of regular constitutional procedures along with a congressional supermajority), usually being reserved for convicting individuals who hold high office of serious abuses. Though that’s a rather broad category, the Constitution clarifies that “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” are valid grounds for impeachment. Even so, it can often simply mean a statement of charges similar to an indictment in criminal law—removal from office entails a crime of incredible severity, and no president has ever been forcefully removed to date.

Murmurs amongst the Democratic Party about a plan to impeach President Trump were audible even before he took office. Democratic Representatives Al Green (D-TX) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) even launched formal efforts to begin the process of impeachment as early as May 2017. Sherman’s proposal called attention to the scandal surrounding Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey while Green claimed that Trump was “sowing discord among the people of the United States” with his fiery rhetoric. The proposal cited the president’s tweets concerning Muslim immigration, transgender troops, and Charlottesville—essentially any other time Democrats found a statement disagreeable—as grounds for its claims. Other lawmakers sought to impeach Trump on the grounds that his campaign colluded with Russia during the presidential election, a claim which has never been substantiated by hard evidence nor directly linked to Trump—as opposed to his personnel (who he has since fired).

Democrats refuse to accept that President Trump won in 2016. His supporters knew about his platform and famously brash speech before they cast their votes in the ballot box—more likely than not, these were probably reasons that they chose his ticket. It’s hardly surprising that as president, Trump would try to implement changes that the people who put him in office would want to see, despite the fact that he’d have to bump heads with a bunch of powerful Democrats. “Conflicting interests” is not interchangeable with “high crimes and misdemeanors” as reasons for impeachment, and conflating the two terms doesn’t do the Democratic party any favors in terms of credibility.

Surprisingly, Republicans and some members of the Democratic leadership have found some rare common ground in agreeing that an impeachment campaign would be a disaster for both parties. Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s former White House communications director, claims, “If the Democrats move for impeachment, I think they are playing right into the hands of the president. He doesn’t have Richard Nixon’s attention span or his O.C.D. about record-keeping. There are no e-mails or tapes. He didn’t do anything wrong on Russia, so he’ll be exonerated.” Most of America agrees; according to a Quinnipiac University poll, around 52 percent of voters oppose impeachment. 57 percent even said that they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who supported Trump’s removal. Even Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, has publicly stated: “Impeachment is not a political tool. It has to be based on just the laws and facts.”

Other Democrats in high office, however, don’t echo Pelosi’s sentiments. Senators such as Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have taken pretty lengthy strides toward introducing legislation that could potentially serve as groundwork for a future impeachment. Senator Elizabeth Warren has even claimed that a major conflict of interest could be a valid reason to convict Trump, which—simply by glancing at the constitution—anyone can determine is patently false. Democrats need to stop jumping to quick fixes. Rather, they should reconcile their relationship with the president. Because judging from their arguments (or lack thereof), he’s here to stay.

Impeachment is not a phrase to be used lightly, nor is it a means to oust someone out of office based on a difference in beliefs. Democrats should stop threatening Trump with impeachment every time he makes a decision that doesn’t further their agendas. These baseless accusations only devalue the magnitude of the term to the point that it serves no purpose to American democracy.

The effect of the excessive publicity given to calls for impeachment is simple. If Trump or any future president eventually does do something genuinely worthy of impeachment, then the American public will simply be tired of hearing it. Impeachment fever will certainly subside after years of empty promises and futile attempts, and the excitement of such a political development will dull. Yet Democratic campaigns cannot remain contingent on Trump’s removal—nor can an impeachment plan take the place of meaningful policies. Eventually, it will become clear that promoting this sort of rhetoric polarizes the country instead of unifying it and ultimately hinders productivity in an otherwise progressive land. Withholding reform, even if it isn’t the kind your party supports, on the grounds that the president will sooner be removed than be allowed to implement change is unfair to the entire country.

American lawyer Charles Ruff said, “Impeachment is not a remedy for private wrongs; it’s a method of removing someone whose continued presence in office would cause grave danger to the nation.” Despite what Democrats claim, Trump has done little to truly warrant the title of a “threat” to the public. It’s time for ideological clashes to be resolved instead of having politicians opt for the most drastic solution. Impeachment is a powerful word. Let’s not wear it out.