Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Bombshell — Five Take-aways
Author: Greg Valliere
March 12, 2019
WASHINGTON WAS BUZZING LAST NIGHT about a bombshell from Nancy Pelosi, who declared that she doesn’t favor impeaching Donald Trump, “who’s not worth it.” Left-wing activists were outraged, while moderates recognized this as still another clever move from Pelosi, who totally out-maneuvered Trump on the government shut-down. Our five quick takes:
Aiming for 2020: Pelosi undoubtedly realizes that no one in politics today can play against a foil like Trump, who plans to mock Democrats in the next campaign as socialists who tolerate anti-Semitism. She doesn’t want to give him still another foil — running against the impeachment party. Pelosi has concluded that if voters really want to remove Trump (over half do) they can vote him out of office in the 2020 election, which could be all about Trump, with potentially disastrous results for the GOP.
Remembering the Clinton impeachment: Republicans badly miscalculated when they impeached Bill Clinton in late 1998; he was acquitted by the Senate in early 1999 as the public rallied behind Clinton. Pelosi can count votes and must realize that there aren’t enough in the Senate to convict Trump, based on what we know presently. It would take 67 votes to oust him, but the Democrats hold only 47 seats. An impeachment trial thus could be futile, with Trump boasting that there was never enough evidence to convict.
Leaving some wiggle room: Pelosi is careful to say she opposes impeachment unless there’s a smoking gun — and there could be, from Robert Mueller, the Southern District of New York, or some fresh controversy such as blanket pardons from the president.
Preparing for the next battle: Pelosi has other wars to wage — primarily the budget, where she’s aiming for another smackdown of Trump. She’ll have the upper hand in a messy debt ceiling fight this fall because Trump doesn’t have enough Republican votes in the House to avoid default. He’ll have to beg Pelosi for votes from Democrats, and she’s already thinking of her price: more domestic spending and no border wall with Mexico.
A very divided party: Pelosi’s bombshell is not sitting well with some Democrats, most of whom want to see all the evidence before deciding on impeachment. There will be plenty of sniping at her from the left in the coming days, so she’ll give progressives plenty of leeway, while inoculating herself by aligning with party moderates like Joe Biden, the frontrunner — today — for the 2020 nomination.
BOTTOM LINE: Pelosi isn’t eyeing support from the fanatic Trump base or her own left wing activists — she’s aiming for voters in the center; blue collar workers in Pennsylvania are already weary of investigations and impeachment talk. Trump is counting on winning those votes by claiming he’s the victim of a rabid impeachment mob, but Pelosi won’t be part of that mob; she’s always a move ahead of him on the chessboard.
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