Ever since the Democratic Party took back the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms, congressional Democrats mulled over the idea of impeaching President Donald Trump.
Impeachment proceedings, while unlikely to ever yield a conviction in the Senate, would serve as a ‘vote of no confidence’ from the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and be the most substantial House impeachment vote since that made against former President Bill Clinton in 1998.
In the last two months, the House Judiciary Committee has intensified its consideration of articles of impeachment. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., continues to oppose the idea—justifying her disapproval of impeachment measures by the “lack of public support” behind such measures. Here’s why she is making the correct decision.
First and foremost, Speaker Pelosi is correct about the public’s views on impeachment. A July Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 59 percent of Americans don’t believe the House should begin impeachment proceedings, compared to the 32 percent that do. In fact, the number of Americans opposing impeachment proceedings has only grown in the last year—rising a shocking 13 percent since August of 2018. It seems that, even in the wake of Robert Mueller’s findings and testimony (fun fact: only 10 percent of Americans believe the Mueller report completely exonerated Trump), the American populace simply doesn’t want the House of Representatives to adopt articles of impeachment.
In addition, it remains unclear whether all the evidence against President Trump is out in the open or if there is more to come. More than a dozen congressional and legal investigations, from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the president’s relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin to an investigation by the New York attorney general into the business practices of the Trump family, still plague the president more than three years into his presidency (per Newsweek’s Alexandra Hutzler).
The House Ways and Means Committee is still attempting to retrieve President Trump’s tax returns, which have been a source of controversy for years. Why should House Democrats pursue impeachment now when more information on the president—perhaps even information that would force congressional Republicans to take action—could still emerge? Another misstep by the president, be it one surrounding his tax returns, foreign influence on the Trump administration or malpractice within the Trump Organization, could force action by the president’s supporters in Congress and investigate the process of impeachment.
However, Speaker Pelosi has an ulterior motive for not pursuing impeachment: She’s considering the best interests of her party. Impeachment proceedings have the potential to muddle the party’s message in the 2020 elections. The president’s past controversies, from his boasts about sexual assault to his racist tweets, haven’t lost him support—in fact, they have often done the opposite.
Following President Trump’s July tweets directed towards “The Squad,” his favorability actually increased five percent among Republican voters (per Vox’s Catherine Kim). It’s clear at this point that another controversy won’t shake Republicans’ support of the president, so the Democratic party should not risk invoking Trump’s wrath going into the 2020 election year. In an election that could shape the United States’ future, why take any chances?