There’s a reason why Nancy Pelosi was so reluctant to impeach Donald Trump for so long. She knows that when Republicans launched the same attack on former president Bill Clinton, it hurt them in the next round of elections. She doesn’t want impeachment to have the same end for Trump and his Republican cronies that it did for the Democrats when Clinton was impeached. Trump, after all, thrives the most when he is enveloped in chaos.
That’s why impeachment might just help him get reelected in 2020.
There’s also a more critical matter to consider: all the news surrounding inevitable impeachment is stealing time away from the Democratic candidates for 2020, who haven’t been seen or heard from since the whole Ukraine situation exploded — even though they’re still on the campaign trail, fighting hard for their chance at the highest office in the world.
If the impeachment inquiry were to drag on, this trend would likely continue. That’s why it’s in Pelosi’s best interest to end it as quickly as possible. And that seems to be her gambit, which is why the White House is doing its best to run interference and stall for as long as possible. The fiasco emboldens Trump supporters and mutes everyone else’s.
There’s also the reality that impeachment will likely end up going nowhere. Mitch McConnell has no choice but to move forward with a “trial” if Trump is impeached, but he also gets to decide how long the trial takes. He’ll probably hurry it along, but he could also delay or spread out proceedings to interfere with Democratic campaigns.
Then there’s another possibility: the Senate might actually remove Trump from office, even though they seem to be in complete support. The loudest Republican voices have already turned on him for abandoning the Kurds to a potential invasion by Turkey. For a party that has continually defended him no matter what, this is a huge change of pace. It’s not like this is the first egregious decision Trump has made while in office. It’s only the most recent, and the cacophony of voices deriding his choice is loud and clear.
Add that to the fact that Republicans voted alongside Democrats in the Senate to pass a non-binding measure saying that Trump should release the whistleblower complaint and call transcript (he subsequently did), and something funny seems to be happening in Congress.
If all that weren’t enough, former Trump executive Barbara Res said she believes he will resign to save face before properly impeached. We know he doesn’t want the stain on his presidency, and we know he’s always out for himself. Leaving office would catapult Pence into the spotlight for reelection prospects, and while we know how Trump’s base feels about Trump — we have no idea if that excitement extends to the vice president.
Democrats might have an easier path to the presidency in 2020 than anyone expects.