Just a short post today, to clarify and qualify my last post on this subject. In that post, I argued that impeachment of Donald Trump was 1) the right thing to do—that is, justified on constitutional grounds, and 2) the politically smart thing to do.

I have no reason to modify anything I wrote with regard to the first point, but the second does require further discussion.

First, a mea culpa: I cited a recent poll that showed that a plurality of Americans—49% vs. 42%–believed Trump should be impeached. But, I should have done more homework. As we know, polls differ, and other recent polls showed a plurality against impeachment. That continues to be true. I expect that support for impeachment will grow along with Trump’s legal difficulties, but advocating impeachment now, from a strictly pragmatic standpoint, is problematic.

But note: in that post, I wrote that Democrats should be advocating impeachment. I didn’t write the Democrats, much less all Democrats, just Democrats; which is to say, some Democrats. I am glad that some Democrats—a substantial portion of the House of Representatives Democratic caucus—are openly advocating impeachment.   I’m glad, too, that the benevolent billionaire Tom Steyer is pushing for impeachment. It’s important that the option of impeachment be kept before the public. It’s important as a continuing political statement about the obscenity of the Trump presidency. It’s also important to help prepare the groundwork should impeachment become a real, practical possibility.

On the other hand, it is better that leading Democrats—including the Congressional leadership—not be advocating impeachment now. An apparent premature preoccupation with impeachment could well backfire politically for the party. So, I think the proper stance for most Democrats would be to emphasize their readiness to defend the rule of law, a readiness that recognizes the possibility that impeachment might become necessary. That will be a sufficient contrast to their Republican opponents, most of whom are ready only to defend Trump.



  1. Jeremy Graham May 11, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I think its a legal question. If there is a valid legal basis, everyone should go for it. Any action can have almost any outcome, but the more in congress go for impeachment, the more chance for success.

  2. Jeffrey Herrmann May 11, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    With his job approval rating at about 42% according to Gallup, no Democratic candidate should be talking about impeachment during this election cycle.
    The case for obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and probable conspiracy with Michael Cohen to commit various other offenses is solidifying day by day, but it is too soon to spring it.
    tRump is clearly getting ready to fire Mueller and Rosenstein, with the complicity of several House and Senate Repugnicans. Hopefully, that will cost him dearly in political support, but who knows? The House and Senate Repugs may issue a collective “Meh.”
    The few remaining Repugs in office with any sense of morality or commitment to the Constitution are retiring or dying. The ones running for re-election are spineless hypocrites and boot-lickers. The chances of conviction following any impeachment are, sadly, nil.

    • Jeremy Graham May 13, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Maybe there won’t be an impeachment or there won’t be a conviction. In a true democracy, 58% of the legislators would be talking about impeachment and Mr. Trump would be slinking away with all the money he made as president. We might not be quite as bad as Russia, but we’re getting there. Definitely if one side is bold and the other is passive, the bold side will win. Its so predictable that its like watching a play that we’ve all seen before.

      • Jeffrey Herrmann May 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        You might find informative Larry Tribe’s interview with Jennifer Rubin in her Right Turn blog in the Washington Post today (May 15):
        “Is there utility in impeaching when there is no prospect of removal?

        Generally, no….”

        • tonygreco May 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm

          Yes, a very good interview very much worth reading. I certainly agree that impeachment should be undertaken with due pragmatic consideration of all the consequences. But I’m not at all sure that an acquittal after impeachment would be bad for the Dems. It didn’t seem to hurt the GOP in 2000. It would depend on the circumstances. If a majority of Americans saw impeachment as justified, then acquittal by the Senate could well be seen as GOP resistance to the rule of law.

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