Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Impeaching Trump Voters

Photo: Evan Vucci/Associated Press
It’s revenge for 2016, and nervousness about Democratic prospects for 2020.
For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that Donald Trump is everything Democrats say he is: a president who abuses his national-security powers by siccing a foreign government on his political rival, a racist/bigot/nativist constantly using “dog whistles” to stoke division, a man uniquely unfit to sit in the Oval Office.
Assume Mr. Trump is all these things. With an election scarcely a year away, the question then becomes: Why impeach him now? Surely a president as abominable as this ought to be easy to defeat at the polls. Mr. Trump would appear to be especially vulnerable, given that last time he lost the national popular vote and won several battleground states by razor-thin margins.
The answer speaks as much to what Democrats think of Trump voters—they don’t trust them—as it does to what they think of Mr. Trump. In this sense, the push for impeachment now may reflect a lack of Democratic confidence that they can persuade enough of the voters who went for Mr. Trump last time to give them the margins they need for victory come November 2020.
The lack of confidence extends to doubts about each of their leading candidates. It’s no secret that many Democrats worry Joe Biden isn’t up to the job of taking on Mr. Trump. So long as Ukraine is in the news, stories about Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deal with a Ukrainian gas company will be in the news as well. Other Democrats, meanwhile, worry that Elizabeth Warren is too far left to win. And Bernie Sanders’s heart attack probably spells the end of any chance he might have had at the nomination.
A year ago, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told Roll Call that before using impeachment to overturn the results of the last election, Democrats would have to answer this question: “Do you think that the case is so stark, that the offenses are so terrible and the proof so clear, that once you’ve laid it all out you will have convinced an appreciable fraction of the people who voted for Trump, who like him, that you had no choice? That you had to do it?”
We are nowhere close to meeting the Nadler standard. True, public support for impeachment is up since news of Mr. Trump’s phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart broke. A average of all the impeachment polls finds 46.5% for and 44.8% against. More telling is the divide the numbers show when they are broken down by party. While 79.1% of Democrats want impeachment, the number drops to 41.3% for independents and only 12.5% for Republicans.
So why the rush? Maybe because in addition to concerns about 2020, there’s an itch to punish Trump voters for what they did in 2016. In other words, it isn’t enough that Mr. Trump be defeated. His whole presidency must be delegitimized—along with the people who voted him in.
Read the rest from William McGurn HERE.

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