Past 1998 History Shouldn’t Inform Dems’ Decision Making About Impeachment In 2019

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HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIR REP. JERRY NADLER/ SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI

Because the Democratic Party US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was around in 1998 when the very popular Democratic President Bill Clinton was being impeached, it’s only logical, that the 1998 experience has informed her current resistance towards commencing an impeachment inquiry against the republican President Donald Trump based on the numerous felonious acts that he has allegedly committed as per the 3/22/2019 FBI’s final report regarding its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III.

Here’s what really happened post the House republicans’ led 1998 impeachment that failed in the US Senate against a very popular Democratic Party 2nd term president where the charges pertained to his lying under oath about an adulterous consensual affair in the work place.  In 1998, the Democrats did gain a handful of House seats in midterm elections but then, the Republicans maintained control for eight more years, until disapproval of the Iraq war flipped the US Congress to the Democrats in 2006.

In 1998, the US Senate Republicans maintained their 55-45 majority. With the exception of a 17-month window in 2002 and 2003, Republicans maintained control of the Senate until 2006. Contrary to the myth that the Republican Party lawmakers suffered significantly in 1998, the Republican wave of 1994 endured for nearly a decade after the failed impeachment.”

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US HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

Are the US House Democrats going to let a run-a-way Justice Department go unchecked without at least commencing an impeachment inquiry?

On May 15, 2019, Perry Bacon Jr. of FiveThirtyEight penned the following analysis, “Would Democrats Really Face A Backlash If They Impeached Trump?” (“Would impeachment boost Trump’s job approval ratings in the near term?”)

Excerpts:

“Probably not.”

“Pelosi has suggested that Trump’s base would be extra energized by impeachment. I’m skeptical of this claim simply because Republicans are already strongly behind Trump. Trump’s job approval rating among Republicans is at 91 percent, according to Gallup. Could it increase by a couple of percentage points? Sure. But he has only so much upside left.”

“Could Trump become more popular among independents, who might view impeachment as an overreach by Democrats? Maybe. But I think the much safer prediction is that Trump’s poll numbers wouldn’t change much. Indeed, that’s been the norm during his presidency so far.”

NOTE DIFFERENCE IN POPULARITY BETWEEN PRESIDENTS TRUMP AND CLINTON

“Sentiments towards President Trump seem remarkably stable given the often tumultuous nature of his time in office,” Robert Griffin of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a group of scholars who research the views of American voters, wrote in a recent analysis of the president’s public standing.”

Would impeachment hurt Democrats electorally in November 2020?

“Maybe in down-ballot races.”

“Midterms are usually won by the party that doesn’t control the presidency. It’s as close to a universal rule as politics has. But in November 1998, when Clinton was in the White House, Democrats gained a net of five House seatsExit polls that year found that the public was wary of the GOP push to impeach Clinton, and Democrats at the time believed that anti-impeachment sentiment helped them.”

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1998

“Pelosi was in Congress in 1998, so she may be particularly inclined to see the potential for an impeachment backlash. And Pelosi has reason to be attuned to the potential dangers of pushing for impeachment — she is speaker in part because 31 Democratic candidates in 2018 won districts that Trump won in 2016. For those House members, deciding how to vote on impeachment would be really challenging — reject the president who was supported by most of your constituents or reject your party’s most intense supporters. Democrats running in gubernatorial and Senate races in states where they clearly need Trump voters to win (Montana, for example) might also be leery about supporting impeachment.”

“That said, we shouldn’t overstate the impeachment backlash from 2 decades ago. Even though the impeachment effort against Clinton was unpopular, Republicans kept control of the House and won back the presidency in 2000. And even though Clinton’s approval rating remained high, the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2000, Al Gore, distanced himself from Clinton. Gore reportedly felt that the controversy around the president and his impeachment made voters wary of Clinton even if they said they approved of him.”

See: Dems Worry About Negative Repercussions Based On 1998 Impeachment Of Bill Clinton, A Myth

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“If Trump were impeached, would that hurt the general election prospects of the Democratic candidate, especially if the nominee had supported impeachment? There are swing voters, and they matter. The question is what issues will be motivating them in 2020. Republicans will probably campaign against what they cast as Democratic extremism, both on policy (the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all,” for example) and politics (anti-Trump fervor).”

“I’m not sure impeachment would change that dynamic too much. Even if Democrats don’t try to remove the president, Republicans can easily cast Democrats as extremely anti-Trump, because they are. Impeachment or not, 2020 is likely to be a referendum on Trump’s leadership and whether voters feel Democrats would govern the country better.”

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SPEAKER PELOSI 2019 (R)

Would impeachment help Trump’s reelection prospects?

“Maybe, but probably not.”

“Above, I dismissed the idea that Trump would get a short-term boost from impeachment. But what if he can spend a year saying the Democrats tried to remove him from office? Well, here’s the thing: Impeachment or not, Trump is likely to act as though Democrats tried to get rid of him. He has already cast the Mueller investigation as akin to a “coup.” The idea that Democrats are obsessed with taking Trump down will likely be in the president’s campaign commercials and echoed by Republicans in Congress and on Fox News no matter what Democrats do in the next 17 months.”

“Americans’ views on Trump’s presidency appear to be fairly set — the safest bet is that impeachment doesn’t change them too much.”

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“To emphasize the obvious: The electoral impact of impeachment is really difficult to predict. It’s not clear that an impeachment push would hurt Democrats electorally (or help them).”

“So that leaves Democrats with an underlying question: How strongly do they believe in the case for impeaching Trump, electoral considerations aside? As long as Republicans remain behind Trump, impeachment would be a symbolic action to some extent. But it’s a powerful and important symbolic act.”

Link to article: fivethirtyeight.com/Would Democrats Really Face A Backlash If They Impeached Trump…

One comment

  1. Gronda, good post. Check out Jill’s post today on the highly commendable efforts of Republicans for the Rule of Law. These go beyond the commercial calling for impeachment which will air during Fox and Friends. They sent a highlighted version of the Mueller report to every GOP legislator.

    Concerned American citizens need to write or call their Senators and Congresspeople and share their concerns and ask what they plan to do about it. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

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