What if the Democratic Party’s impeachment effort fails before it even gets to the Senate?
Vice President Mike Pence raised that very prospect this weekend, saying, “I don’t think it’s a forgone conclusion … that the Democrats will be able to get the votes to pass articles of impeachment.”
It has long been taken for granted that President Trump will inevitably be impeached by hyper-partisan House Democrats, so that was a pretty explosive remark. But what if the conventional wisdom is just another false assumption made by the media?
Democrats have done little to give their more vulnerable members assurances that a vote to impeach President Trump will not put their political careers in serious jeopardy. They seemed to be hoping that their one-sided impeachment inquiry would sway public opinion, but instead their blatantly partisan tactics have only alienated voters in swing states. Instead of being awed by the parade of witnesses hand-picked by the Democrats to overwhelm the limited testimony Republicans were allowed to present, the American people are disgusted by such strong-arm tactics. (RELATED: Andy Puzder: Impeachment Has A Silver Lining — Trump’s Killer Trade Deal)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was long reluctant to initiate impeachment proceedings, arguing that it would only hurt her Party’s electoral prospects unless the effort had “overwhelming” bipartisan support. Pelosi’s caucus contains 31 members who represent districts that President Trump won in 2016, and she knew that a politically motivated impeachment would likely cost her Party its House majority.
With those members in mind, even the most blatantly partisan Democrats initially insisted on a bipartisan basis for impeachment. Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler, as well as Pelosi, all publicly affirmed the necessity of significant Republican support.
Now that leadership has abandoned that standard, Democrats who represent pro-Trump districts have to decide whether to risk their seats for an impeachment that will inevitably end in acquittal by the Senate. Respecting the wishes of their constituents by voting against impeachment sounds like a no-brainer, but any members who chose that course would become permanent pariahs within the Democratic Party.
Whatever they decide, it is clear that Pelosi’s impeachment gambit has proven a huge miscalculation. With only 18 votes to spare, the Democrats will have to put their majority at risk in 2020 in order to get articles of impeachment through the House of Representatives, exposing some of their most imperiled members to potentially career-ending votes. (RELATED: FARRELL: Obama Wanted To Know Everything His Trump Spies Were Doing, And It Looks Like He Did)
However, if they fail to get their own party on board with the effort, they will disappoint their base while admitting to swing voters that impeachment was a political witch hunt all along, just as President Trump has repeatedly claimed.
So what happens if impeachment fails in the House? Pretty much the same thing that will happen if it passes.
Harlan Hill is president of the Logan Circle Group and an advisory board member for the Trump-Pence 2020 re-election campaign.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.