If Democrats Take the House, They’ll Impeach Trump

© 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.

Historically, the first mid-term elections in a new president’s first term result in major losses for the President’s party. The most famous recent example was in 1994, following the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. In spite of Clinton’s oratory skill, favorable media coverage and appealing looks/smooth demeanor, the 1994 mid-terms were a disaster for the Democrats.

Led by the “villainous, scary” Newt Gingrich, Republicans won 54 House seats. In what came to be called the “Republican Revolution,” they wrested Congressional control away from Democrats for the first time since 1952. Once in control, Gingrich instituted his Contract with America programs, a series of Congressional initiatives designed to implement what the Republicans felt was their electoral mandate from the populace. The liberal media hated Gingrich and the Republicans and resented their victory tremendously, ceaselessly deriding the Republican-controlled efforts and referring to it as the “Contract on America.”

Similarly, during Ronald Reagan’s first term in 1982, his Republican Party lost 27 Congressional seats, despite Reagan’s overwhelmingly lopsided presidential victory over the hapless Jimmy Carter just two short years prior. It appears that even popular presidents coming off strong wins are susceptible to profound Congressional losses in the first contest out of the gate.

The Republicans may well lose control of Congress in 2018 for the first time since 2006. This is significant, because one of the things a Congressional majority has the power to do is bring articles of impeachment against a sitting president.

In recent (post-World War II) history, this has only been done once, when the Republican House voted in 1998 to impeach President Clinton for his alleged lying under oath and obstruction of justice during the Monica Lewinsky matter. It certainly would also have happened during the President Nixon/Watergate affair in 1974, but President Nixon resigned before any formal charges were brought.

The standard for Congress to level charges against a sitting president are a clear and willful commission on the president’s part of “high crimes and misdemeanors” against the country, such that the rule of law, national security or the common good is grievously threatened. It’s an inexact standard, to be sure, subject to the political whims and mood of the controlling Congressional party.

To say that Democratic politicians in DC, Hillary’s 60+ million voters and the liberal mainstream media regard President Trump as an illegitimate president is an understatement. They have been complaining and protesting his presence in the Oval Office since day one, starting with their invention of “Crowdgate,” where they purported to show how much bigger President Obama’s Inauguration Day attendance was than President Trump’s. That day—Day One of his presidency—gave birth to liberal “fake news” coverage of his tenure in office, as the liberal cable stations shamelessly and disingenuously compared early morning photos of Trump’s crowd with peak afternoon pictures of Obama’s crowd.

So it has continued, unabated, non-stop for over a year. Each roughly-worded Trump Tweet, every criticism by him or his staff of the liberal media, every non-sugar-coated statement to the press, every matter where he calls it as most people think it (but politicians would never actually say it) is trumpeted by his political and media adversaries as yet more proof of his astonishing unsuitability for the Presidency.

“Had enough yet? What more do you want? See? This is unbelievable, isn’t it?”

The lowest possible, arbitrary, inexact standards of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to which the Democratically-controlled Congress can possibly stoop will undoubtedly be fulfilled very early on in the new Congressional year, as the Democrats rush to satisfy their highest priority—removing President Trump—to the complete and total exclusion of anything else the country needs to be done.

One can only imagine the breathless, frantic, grandstanding speeches and Floor declarations from the likes of Maxine Watters, John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi, Shelia Jackson Lee, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings as they compete for national liberal media adulation with one overwrought, hyperbolic performance after another.

Their impeachment effort will not be successful, of course. Once the Democratic House passes the Articles, it goes to the Senate for trial, where a super majority is required for a conviction leading to removal from office. This is a high threshold for passage, as it should be. In the face of actual “high crimes”—such as a president transferring military secrets to an adversary in exchange for personal financial gain—no doubt that threshold would be met.

But President Trump’s “crimes” are stylistic, not legally substantive. He does say things in a manner offensive to many and certainly well outside the bounds of historically-normal Presidential behavior. Yet the Russian “collusion” issue—the only controversy with any legal overtones whatsoever– is vaporware. There is no “there” there, not even with a fully-armed battalion of partisan Democratic investigators looking under every pebble for well over a year. In contrast, Hillary’s illicit e-mail server containing unauthorized classified material was tangibly illegal, yet she was not charged or prosecuted. In today’s political climate, the perception of criminal activity in DC is inextricably linked to party affiliation.

Trump’s supporters will point to his many actual policy successes, accomplished in only his first 12 months in office:

  • The appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
  • Punishing Syria for their humanitarian crimes with a 59-cruise missile strike
  • Withdrawing from the disadvantageous Trans Pacific Partnership agreement
  • Withdrawing from the pointless, expensive, anti-American Paris climate accords
  • Approved Keystone Pipeline
  • Reducing/eliminating hundreds of Obama-era business regulations, leading to a surge in business sector confidence and hiring
  • Over one million new jobs added since he took office
  • S. unemployment at 17-year low due to expanding economy
  • Stock market at record highs, boosting individual retirement accounts and institutional pension solvency alike
  • Black unemployment at a 17-year low due to expanding economy
  • Hispanic unemployment at all-time low due to expanding economy
  • Food stamp usage at a 7-year low, due to expanding economy
  • Passed sweeping tax reduction, leading to many companies raising wages, distributing bonuses and making immediate plans for expansion and additional hiring
  • Opened previously restricted areas (like ANWR) to energy exploration

His opponents will argue that these are not pluses to be bragged about; rather they’re examples of bad policy decisions—calamitous, even— that will have far-reaching negative consequences for the country. That’s fair: disagreements over actions on major economic, foreign-policy and social issues are the lifeblood of a vibrant, working democracy. In fact, the out-of-office party always says that the opposing president’s decisions will permanently harm the country. That’s as predictable as the sunrise.

However, there is a major difference—an order-of-magnitude difference—between vociferously opposing the President on policy grounds on one hand and fabricating non-existent legal transgressions in order to justify the gratuitous political theater of groundless impeachment on the other.

If the “good of the country” is the Democrats’ goal, this won’t happen. If it does, it will tell us all we need to know.

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