There’s actually a more important story for political observers to talk and write about than Representative Rashida Tlaib’s profane screeching at President Trump which dominated more headlines than it deserved. And that’s the content of what she promised: impeachment of President Trump.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that impeaching the president was the tantalizing undercurrent of the 2018 Democrat campaign for a blue wave. You heard it from many candidates who purposefully dangled the possibility as red meat (or should I say blue meat) in front of angry progressive crowds at rallies and campaign stops. But for those paying attention to the social media and cable news outlets, getting rid of President Trump was the unifying battle cry of leftists coast to coast.
And here’s the more important point: it remains so today.
That puts Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in a precarious position: they understand the political futility of an impeachment push, they also understand the political cost of giving Republicans a perfect campaign talking point heading into 2020. But they also know that the fury from the progressive base that is calling for Trump’s political head will feverishly turn on them if they demur or shrink from the moment.
Jonathan Tobin recently wrote a fascinating assessment of Pelosi’s tough spot:
Trump’s trolling of Democrats has been an effective political tactic in many respects, but it also makes impeachment an attractive option for the Left. The anger of the Democratic base toward him should not be underestimated or seen as merely another tool in the party’s toolkit. It is given expression on a daily basis in the mainstream media, whose coverage, as former New York Times editor Jill Abramson recently noted, long ago crossed over from merely critical to openly biased against him and has a power and force that the septuagenarians at the head of the House Democratic caucus may not be able to control in the coming months.
Pelosi also should not underestimate the possibility that the investigations begun by Nadler, Schiff, and other committee chairmen this month will take on a momentum of their own. The leadership hopes that they will merely harass the administration with subpoenas and negative news cycles, making it harder for Trump to govern. But whether or not they find any real criminality, the atmosphere created by the plethora of charges will inevitably encourage pro-impeachment members of the House — egged on by activists such as billionaire Tom Steyer, who has advocated impeachment — to take steps Pelosi would rather avoid.
Then factor in what was just initiated with a beer bottle broken open by Senator Elizabeth Warren – the 2020 presidential campaign. Who knows just how many Democrats are going to enter the fray, but it will be more than just a handful. And in order to make their mark, how many of them will take the plunge to call for impeachment, hoping to ingratiate themselves with the progressive faithful who make up the majority of Democrat primary voters? Will it be enough to pressure others to do the same? And how many others will it take in order to force Pelosi’s hand?
It’s hard to see Nancy Pelosi being politically foolish enough to pursue impeachment, but then again it’s hard to see Nancy Pelosi being politically foolish enough to not pursue impeachment. There’s a reason I wrote the day after the midterms that the elections may have just done the unthinkable: re-elected Donald Trump. Time will tell.