Impeachment Hysteria

We live in a schizoid time. In the world most of us inhabit, things are going extraordinarily well. We are in the midst of the longest bull market ever. Employment is at a record high, unemployment–especially among minorities, young people and women–at or near record lows. GDP is growing at a 4% clip, which liberal economists deemed impossible in the last administration. Wages are rising. We are at peace, but at the same time our government is finally taking steps to deal with long-festering problems in Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. What’s not to like?

If you listen to most journalists and pundits, none of that is important. The crisis of the hour is that Donald Trump paid two women not to talk about sexual liaisons with him. Not, mind you, because such behavior is immoral. In the post-Clinton world, “immoral” is not a word in the Left’s vocabulary, at least not when it comes to sex or anything pertaining thereto. Rather, because the payoffs constituted “illegal campaign contributions.” Which they didn’t, actually.

That isn’t stopping the Democrats. Impeachment is in the air. Because who would want to continue policies that have brought about what Target CEO Brian Cornell calls “a very strong consumer environment — perhaps the strongest I’ve seen in my career”? Not the Democrats, evidently.

Media Research Center says that yesterday, “CNN and MSNBC reporters, anchors, and paid contributors used the word [impeach] an absurd 222 times in 18 hours.” They are salivating, high on visions of Donald Trump exiting the White House on a helicopter, like Richard Nixon. But does the Democrats’ impeachment hysteria have any basis in reality?

Yes and no. Most observers think the Democrats will take the House in November, and if they do, they certainly will vote to impeach the president. Nancy Pelosi’s coy disclaimer that impeachment is “not a priority” can be understood only as meaning that she doesn’t want to rile up Republican voters by promising impeachment, but if the Democrats win, it will happen. If significant numbers of those who voted for Trump stay home in November–which is the pattern we have seen so far in special elections–the Democrats will almost certainly take the House.

On the other hand, they have little chance of winning the Senate. More likely, the Republican majority will increase. In any event, the Democrats can’t come close to the two-thirds super-majority it would take to evict Trump from the presidency. And unless I am very much mistaken, Trump is too tough to succumb to the Democrats’ vicious attacks with a needless resignation.

So impeachment hysteria is pointless, unless the idea is merely to drive Democratic turnout in November, which likely is the case. But the Democrats appear poised to fall into the trap the Republicans succumbed to in the 1990s–a drawn-out impeachment drama that appears useless, irrelevant and damaging to a large majority of voters, ending in failure. If the Democrats go to the mat, Trump wins. Where are they then?

Maybe, at last, in the position of needing to respond, somehow, to the successes of the Trump administration’s policies.

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