[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
As it stands now, there’s a roughly 50-50 chance that a Democrat will defeat Donald Trump next year, and roughly the same odds that the party will retain its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But Democrats will do themselves no political favors if they give in to their baser political instincts and move forward in an effort to impeach President Trump.
Such a move is only going to give Trump the chance to pound Democrats while galvanizing pro-Trump forces and potentially alienating independents, who would much rather see Congress actually accomplish something, and leave action on Trump’s future to the voters.
Most Democrats in the House of Representatives must know this, but they seem unable to restrain themselves – even after the lead balloon of Robert Mueller’s testimony.
We’re not surprised that some of the more far-out among Capitol Hill’s nattering nabobs of nincompoopery (our twist on Spiro Agnew’s famous line) continue to chase the issue. Nor are we surprised that impressionable newbies like U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-10th) are going along for the ride.
But we are a tad flummoxed as to why U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11th), a relatively serious legislator and adroit politician, thinks it’s a good idea to bring forward an impeachment effort.
Connolly’s press release on the topic last week enunciated four somewhat muddled and constitutionally dubious reasons for hopping aboard the impeachment train. And perhaps he wants to inoculate himself against the prospect of an intra-party challenge from his left next year. Or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t want to be left behind on this quixotic quest. Or perhaps it’s all for fund-raising.
Connolly likely is betting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who knows the risks involved, will continue to be able to keep this movement bottled up. We’re not so sure.
Whatever the reason, Connolly and the Democrats are toying with matches, and it plays directly into Trump’s hands. Republicans were taught this lesson when they ill-advisedly went the impeachment route against President Clinton. Democrats may face a similar comeuppance.