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Politics & Policy

The Smaller, But Louder and More Confident, Crowd of Pro-Impeachment House Democrats

House Democrats may be divided about whether to pursue the impeachment of President Trump, but the two sides are not expressing themselves in a similar manner. Pro-impeachment Democrats are loudly putting their argument front and center. Tom Steyer, who has funded a campaign arguing for impeachment for the past year and a half, boasts, “We have won the argument. Period. It’s impossible to ignore.” In the presidential race, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg have endorsed impeaching Trump.

Anti-impeachment Democrats disagree, but do so quietly, or simply say that it’s “too soon.” They’re almost apologetic in their tone when they discuss their opposition, which they are quick to emphasize could change. Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania said, “I have tremendous respect for my Pennsylvania colleagues who have come out and said that it’s time to proceed . . .  I’m not there yet.” Very few House Democrats are arguing, outright, that impeachment is not warranted or should not be pursued.

When one side of a debate is confident and outspoken, and the other side is reticent and tentative, it’s not hard to see which side is likely to win out in the long run. In the end, House Democrats may not be comfortable publicly stating out loud that an effort to impeach the president is only worthwhile if it is likely to end in his removal from office.

One other note: Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee — he of chicken-eating fame — estimates that about 40 House Democrats support impeachment. If his count is accurate, then maybe some Trump-supporting GOP House members might want to start a discharge petition for the articles of impeachment, trying to get the vote to the floor of the House as quickly as possible. If you thought it was embarrassing when the Green New Deal got no votes in the U.S. Senate, imagine if articles if impeachment fell well short of a majority?

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