The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Not-So-Persuasive Sales Pitch for Impeachment

The committee room where the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to take place in Washington, U.S. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

There’s a certain “heads I win, tails you lose” mentality to the way Democrats are attempting to sell impeachment to Trump-weary Republicans.

Democrat: President Trump tried to withhold congressionally approved military aid in order to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into investigating the Bidens!

Trump-skeptical conservative: Yeah, that’s pretty bad. The president just can’t secretly refuse to send out funding that Congress authorized and appropriated, and he can’t use foreign aid as leverage to push a foreign government to investigate a potential rival. But let’s not act like Burisma Holdings appointing Hunter Biden to the board wasn’t an attempt to ensure they had a powerful friend in Washington.

Democrat: That doesn’t really matter right now. The only moral course of action is for twenty Republican senators to join 47 Democratic senators to achieve the required 67 votes to remove Trump from office!

Trump-skeptical conservative: Yeah, but if that happens, most of those twenty will be ending their Senate careers. They’ll get beaten in their next primary, or they’ll lose their next general election as their home state Trump fans stay home to punish them for their impeachment vote.

Democrat: Well, you’ll just have to accept a Democratic Senate majority, maybe a sizable one, as the consequence of doing the right thing. Either way, Pence would become president, so this can’t really be called a coup.

Trump-skeptical conservative: That’s true enough as far as it goes, but we all know that President Pence would have a really rough road ahead after a successful impeachment — he would probably get a bunch of last-minute primary challengers, the GOP would be furiously divided, and a lot of MAGA Trump fans would probably stay home or go third party in 2020.

Democrat: Well, you’ll just have to accept a deeply divided party and higher odds of a Democratic victory in 2020 as the consequence of doing the right thing. Either way, if impeachment falls short, you’ll have to vote against Trump, it’s just the right thing to do.

Trump-skeptical conservative: Well, he’s given me a lot of reasons to not vote for him — abandoning the Kurds, tariffs and trade wars everywhere, the Twitter rants and the incendiary rhetoric, doesn’t give a hoot about the deficit and national debt. He constantly overpromises and under-delivers on stuff like securing the border. But he’s also passed tax cuts, ended the Obamacare mandate, and appointed judges I like. If I’m willing to vote for the Democrats, what kind of policy concessions are they willing to make?

Democrat: Oh, absolutely none.

Trump-skeptical conservative: Really? If you guys get control of the House, Senate, and presidency, what do you want to do?

Democrat: Repeal the Trump tax cuts, end private insurance and make everyone get their health care through the government in Medicare for All, provide taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants, decriminalize crossing the border, abolish ICE, guarantee taxpayer funding of abortions, at least begin the discussion on reparations for slavery, ban “assault weapons’ and maybe institute a nationwide mandatory buyback for AR-15. Oh yeah, and maybe add more Supreme Court justices to the nine we already heave.

Trump-skeptical conservative: So in your view, “doing the right thing” just happens to end up with your side getting everything you want, and I get nothing I want.

Democrat: Why yes, but that’s just coincidental. Hey, where are you going?