The term “impeachment” has been the Democrats’ favorite phrase during Trump’s time as president. Driven by a refusal to accept that Americans rejected “the chosen one” Hillary Clinton in 2016, it seems like the American Left are determined to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, regardless of the lack of any substantive evidence in their favor. First it was the spurious Russian collusion allegations, which slyly morphed from allegations of corruption to collusion when evidence of the former never materialized. Most recently, it seems that the Democrats are falling over themselves to impeach Trump over speculative allegations of illegal activity regarding his communication with Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky.
While many conservatives are mocking the apparent desperation of the Democrats in their pursuit of impeachment, we should remain wary that beneath any short-term and shallow “Trump Derangement Syndrome” actions, there may be lurking a far more dangerous long-term strategy.
First, the Democrats are capitalizing upon a general public ignorance of what impeachment is. Under the United States Constitution, Congress can remove a sitting president from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This vague and subjective definition plays into the Democrats’ extraordinarily loose application of the term “impeachable offense,” allowing them to slide seamlessly from one area of investigation to another.
The Democrats are also being careful to wait until it is politically advantageous to acknowledge the likely outcome of impeachment proceedings. The term “impeachment” refers to the House of Representatives bringing formal charges against the president. All that is required is a simple majority of the 435 members of the House to approve “articles of impeachment.” While we can assume that the Democrats would succeed in passing this stage, we should take note that they are comparatively silent regarding the “trial” procedure which follows.
After “articles of impeachment” are approved by the Democratic House, a two-thirds majority vote is required in the Senate to actually succeed in removing the president from office. Given that the Republicans currently hold a majority in the Senate of 53 to 45, it is difficult to imagine that a Republican Senate would vote against their own interests.
Despite what we may often wish to believe, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party are not so stupid as to fail to understand the basic math which implies that impeachment proceedings would not culminate in Trump’s removal from office. Given their clear determination to forge onwards with impeachment, with full knowledge that it is likely to fail, American conservatives should question their underlying motives.
The potential motive which should concern us most is that the Democrats have their sights set far beyond the White House. While many are dragged into politics of personality, the true strength of the American government does not lie in the hands of the president alone. The upper chamber of the United States Congress - the Senate - holds significant power, especially when it comes to controlling the long-term ideological direction taken by the country. The Senate approves treaties, confirms Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, and federal judges. Given the increased tendency of the legislative branch to defer authority to the judiciary in recent times, the party which controls the Senate controls the political direction of the country far beyond 2020.
Even a basic analysis of the Democratic Party’s rhetoric since Trump’s inauguration indicates a clear shift of focus towards the Senate. In 2016, Donald Trump was the lone monster of conservative evil. As we approach the end of 2019, notice how often Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is vilified as the sole malevolent gatekeeper to any “progressive” proposals.
With this in mind, it’s quite possible that the Democrats want their impeachment attempt to fail in the Senate, and will present this failure as indisputable evidence in favor of a Democratic Senate. While we focus on the presidential election, we cannot forget that 33 Class 2 seats of the Senate will be contested in 2020, along with two special elections. With Republicans defending 23 seats, and Democrats defending 12 seats, the Republicans find themselves with everything to lose, with Democrats needing only a handful of seats to secure a majority.
In preparation for this eventuality, it’s deeply important that conservatives work to preemptively sabotage the Left’s plot. We must remember that the United States is not a monarchy, but a complex balance between branches of power. We cannot become distracted by battles for the executive branch while the Left rally to overcome the Senate, thereby handing them control of both the legislative and judicial branches in their long-term quest to enact radical Leftist policies.
The Democrats might seem like they’re playing checkers in their attempts to impeach Trump. Let’s at least consider the possibility that they might be playing chess.