Left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer is on a mission — to have President Trump impeached. The Washington Times reports that he’s spending $40 million on his “Need To Impeach” roadshow, with advertising and town halls around the country.
But Democratic congressional candidates aren’t enthusiastic about Steyer’s campaign. Nancy Pelosi, who hopes once again to become House Speaker, says she wants Democrats to campaign on “strengthen[ing] the financial stability of America’s working families,” not on impeachment.
Pelosi’s position makes sense. A national survey conducted by Marist for NPR and PBS, had 47 percent of registered voters saying they definitely would vote against a candidate who wanted to remove Trump from office. 42 percent said such a promise would earn their vote.
But Democratic candidates shouldn’t be able to finesse the impeachment issue by taking only about other issues. Every Dem running for Congress should be asked about impeachment: Do they favor impeaching Trump, yes or no?
A yes answer would alienate about half of the electorate in an average district. A no answer would alienate the Democratic base. At a minimum, it would dampen enthusiasm for the candidate.
The best response to the impeachment question would be for Democratic candidates to say the answer depends on the state of the evidence when the issue arises. That’s not an unreasonable response, though some anti-Trump voters would see it as an evasion.
The follow-up question would be whether, as things stand now, the evidence is sufficient to justify impeaching the president. That question would likely produce a fair amount of hemming and hawing.
Who will ask these questions? Clearly, the GOP candidate in each race should ask them. It’s not clear, though, how many opportunities, if any, he or she will have to do so in a setting that requires an answer.
The media will have plenty of opportunities. Whether, and how aggressively, it will try to pin Democratic candidates down on this issue of such major importance depends on the jurisdiction.
I suspect that in many races, the mainstream media will cooperate with Nancy Pelosi and protect Democratic candidates from searching inquiry into the impeachment question.