Among Democrats, there is much discussion of plans to impeach President Trump. Before continuing this planning, consideration should be given for unintended consequences.
Impeachment was designed by our founders to eliminate from office somebody who had committed serious crimes. Yes, President Clinton committed perjury to cover up an improper relationship, and many saw his impeachment as a partisan effort to remove a president who was disliked by many Republicans. The Republican-controlled House voted for impeachment but it requires 67 senators to vote for removal from office and there were not enough Republicans in the Senate to find Clinton guilty.
Unless a serious smoking gun is found linking the president to a serious crime, there will not be 20 Republican senators who will vote for Trump’s removal. In 1998, voters turned on Republicans because of the impeachment and Democrats prevailed in that mid-term election. Without convincing proof of a real crime, many voters will see the impeachment as a partisan effort by Democrats and will vote against Democratic candidates in 2020.
What can folks who want to remove the president do rather than go down the impeachment path? The president is loyal to very few, among who are Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Jared Kushner. Finding evidence of improper actions by any or all of these members of the Trump family will result in indictments leading to an acceleration in the president’s frustration. This might convince him to resign the presidency or to commit some vengeful act that crosses the line, for which impeachment is appropriate.
Our nation desperately needs Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to address serious problems which are not going away. Certainly, an impeachment process will not contribute to this needed bipartisan action. An attempt at impeachment without meaningful evidence will harm the U.S. and harm opportunities for Democratic candidates in 2020. Surely Democratic leaders can see the counterproductive nature of advancing impeachment.