I’ve been critical of the Trump administration since he was elected in 2016. I remember sitting up in bed with my television on, the bright illumination of CNN filling my pitch-black room, the scroll reading “BREAKING: Donald Trump elected 45th president of the United States.”
I remember thinking about how the country would change that night. This is a moment I often look back on. I’ve opposed Trump on his travel bans and trans military statements. I’ve been against his trade war with China and his continued inaction on climate change regulations. I’ve been displeased with his presidency, as have many of my contemporaries.
I’ve looked forward to the 2020 election. The Democratic debates were a topic of conversation in my blue bubble over the summer. My friends and I would laugh at minor candidates, such as California Rep. Eric Swalwell and Author Marianne Williamson.
We would praise enormous moments like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ rebuttal of “I wrote the damn bill!” when Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan challenged the Medicare for All bill. Or with California Sen. Kamala Harris’ powerful bussing debate with former Vice President Joe Biden. We debated who was the right candidate for the 2020 election, who could bring the country back to our preferred “normalcy”.
We pondered if it was time for a progressive candidate like Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or if a more moderate candidate like Biden could beat Trump in 2020. The idea of impeachment was floated around at the time, but the idea was simply that, an idea. That is, until Sept. 24th, 2019. I had just pulled into a parking spot on my way to the paper’s office when my phone chimed. The New York Times and Washington Post relayed the same message. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had announced a formal impeachment inquiry.
My heart sank.
I dreaded the possibility of an impeachment inquiry for same the reasons some celebrated. I wanted to see President Trump defeated. My fear comes from the possibility of a potential impeachment giving Trump more support in a possible re-election.
Donald Trump could use the attempt against democrats, in debates and on Twitter, laughing as he says “they tried to take me down and they couldn’t.”
My fear of impeachment also comes from past attempts and the 0% success rate of actually evicting a president. Two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached, although neither had to leave office.
President Nixon was never formally impeached and voluntarily left. He was later pardoned by President Gerald Ford. The reason Johnson and Clinton were not evicted from the White House is that impeachment doesn’t end in the house. Once the House of Representatives votes to impeach, impeachment proceedings go to the Senate.
A jury will hold a trial and if 65% of the Senate votes to remove the president, they’ll be removed. Johnson and Clinton were not voted out of office, and I believe a Trump impeachment would die in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51 to 49 majority over Democrats.
With at least 65% of the Senate needed to impeach, it would mean that Republicans would have to join Democrats in the vote to remove Trump from office, an act of political suicide at this time in American history. So this is where I find our country. It’s too late to turn back, that would mean that we were wrong to call for impeachment in the first place.
Proceeding with impeachment inquiry seems pointless, seeing that even if evidence of constitutional violations are found and presented, Republicans would not cross the aisle to impeach their President.
In my eyes, this is a lose-lose situation that will hurt any democratic candidate for office. The question of whether a candidate like Sanders or Warren could be the democratic nominee died Sept. 24. The Democratic National Committee will have to go with a safer candidate, like Biden.
I believe the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump may be the democratic shot in the foot the party already didn’t need. I fear how these inquiries will proceed.
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