Remember when Democrats admitted that a partisan impeachment would be a disaster for the country? It wasn't very long ago.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn was on CNN in June, before Trump even made his call to the president of Ukraine, discussing Speaker Pelosi's methodical and calculated plan to "efficiently" impeach the president. But Clyburn admitted then that if the public ever felt like Democrats were being political with impeachment, they "will have done a tremendous harm to the country, to the constitution, and to the people that [Democrats] are sworn to serve."
.@JakeTapper: “It sounds like you think that the President will be impeached, or at least proceedings will begin in the House at some point, but just not right now?"@WhipClyburn: "Yes, that's exactly what I feel." https://t.co/Y0gTFkzqeM #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/LPvGXjuzc0— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 2, 2019
The speaker herself has admitted that “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi told The Washington Post back in March.
It's true that in 1998 House Republicans suffered losses in the midterm elections, following the Senate's refusal to remove President Bill Clinton from office. And if the pushback in 1998 against House Republicans for pushing a "partisan" impeachment was bad, it should be much worse for the Democrats.
For starters, 1998 was just a midterm election. The so-called partisan impeachment of Bill Clinton only hurt the House Republicans who had pushed it. But in 2020, pushback on the Democrats for a partisan impeachment also stands to cost them the presidential election.
And Trump's impeachment is way more partisan then Clinton's had been. 31 House Democrats joined with Republicans in 1998 to open the impeachment inquiry into Bill Clinton. No Republicans joined with the Democrats to vote on the impeachment resolution against Donald Trump that was recently held in the House. In fact, two Democrats joined every single Republican to vote against it.
So Democrats knew the stakes going into this that a partisan impeachment would be an utter disaster. Well, it's a partisan impeachment, so stay tuned for the disaster. Perhaps this is why Trump has chosen not to participate in the House proceedings, giving the Democrats all the rope they need to hang themselves.