Opinion / Politics

House Democrats are Stuck – Censure or Impeachment?

censure

Arguments for censure – versus House impeachment – are growing.  House Democrats are stuck.  Poll numbers show public support for impeachment sliding, only 12 percent of Independents favoring that draconian course.  Surely, our Founders are shaking their heads.

Objectively, the two articles introduced are almost laughable, if consequences were not serious.  One makes a high crime of seeking criminal justice through foreign policy, the other asserts an inventive “obstruction of Congress” claim – for which every administration back to Gerald Ford could be found guilty.  Vulnerable Democrats are having second thoughts.  Against them is Speaker Pelosi’s whip machine, which pushes Democrats – or else.  Here is the latest.

Currently, two Democrats have peeled off, Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).  Neither supported the inquiry; their opposition to impeachment is predictable. They are two of 31 Democrats in districts Trump won easily in 2016.  Trump won Van Drew’s by 4.5 percent, and Peterson’s by 31 points.  That was before a roaring economy and misguided impeachment.

The plot thickens.  On December 9, “roughly ten” Democratic members from districts won by Trump “huddled” privately.  They caucused over an “11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options to punish the president for his role in the Ukraine scandal as the House speeds toward an impeachment vote next week.” 

The group included Democratic Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah.).  If those four peel off, six are gone. 

A public decision to vote against impeachment, if that is where the group goes, would encourage the remaining 25 in Trump-won districts to join them.  If just 11 more Democrats peel off, House leadership cannot hit 217 to carry impeachment forward.  Democrats have only 233 members, so losing 11 more (on top of the six) would put them at 216.

In other words, if Democrats are down by six, House leadership must whip this vote hard or lose votes essential to assuring impeachment.  To put impeachment to a vote on of the House and lose would be an embarrassment bigger than any faced so far.

The alternative is to back off, spin censure as a “magnanimous act,” pretending they are respecting the Constitution – in effect, adopting Republican talking points about impeachment as an inappropriate penalty for executive indiscretion.

That is why the discussion is live, and what happens next is genuinely unclear.  The Democrats are at an inflection point.  They can rush to impeach, satisfying their aggressive, vocal base – at the cost of dozens of seats, possibly control of the House.  Or they can lick their wounds, pull in their horns, and defend what they have done – without causing dozens of vulnerable members to crash and burn over impeachment next fall.

All this is based on logic, rationality and a thoughtful view of the moment, in context of both past and future.  That said, expect all this reasoning to count for little.  The Democratic House majority is alive with emotion, hurrying to a conclusion, likely unable to reassess the consequences of the headlong rush.  They have either intentionally or inadvertently painted many Democratic members into a corner.  Their leaders seem not to care.

The basis for this onrush is clear to most Americans.  Democratic leadership is infused with anti-Trump pathos.  They are excited to impeach, unlikely to pause for logic, rethinking rule of law, rationality or even the implications for fellow members of their enthusiasms.  They are more likely to cause fellow Democrats to cast the painful – probably fatal – vote.

All this said, even the House Whip, James Clyburn (D-SC), knows things are dicey. He announced this week leaders “expect to lose some” votes – with a tense smile.  The smile covers concern.  Even he knows Democratic leadership boxed members into a vote that could end congressional careers – to support articles and an outcome in which many do not believe. Worse still, rank and file Democrats know the outcome was – and remains – avoidable, despite rhetoric to the contrary.

When Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerald Nadler (D-NY), and House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) say they “have no choice but to impeach,” that is hooey.  They have choices.  One would avoid further political bloodletting, resist personal animus, and lead to an adult resolution.  That is censure. 

Where will this end?  That remains to be seen, but the closer an impeachment vote comes, the more leadership hotheads in the Democratic caucus are giving rank-and-file members cold feet.  The obvious option – least bad remaining for overwrought Democrats – is probably censure.  That outcome could still emerge, putting impeachment to bed – fully and finally – before Christmas. 

Unfortunately, as with so many prior off-ramps, don’t count on Democratic leadership turning.  The American people, time-honored traditions, sacred institutions of our Republic, and even members of their caucus seem to matter less than seeing harm done to this president.  While censure remains entirely possible, impeachment is still most likely.  Surely, our Founders are shaking their heads.      

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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AL BURMAN

I would like the impeachment to go forward to the Senate. That’s the only way these liars like Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi can be forced to tell the truth or be jailed for lying under oath.

Stephen Russell

Either way they lose, Big time, to Impeach= Civil War etc.
They got into this mess day 1.
Im glad theyre in this mess they made.
& Nancy need to act on other issues aside USMCA.
End this BS Game

Patriot Will

No matter what the Democrats decide to do, the entire impeachment fiasco is disgustingly dishonest and treasonous. I am hoping that more and more individual Democrats will start doing what’s right — demand an end to persecuting the President. It’s very hard for me to accept that so many of the Democrats in Congress are so partisan that they will help destroy the USA just to please the Trump haters. There is still a little piece of me that wants to be optimistic.

JUDE

You know, I never voted for nor did I like Barack Obama and I never considered him a good President, BUT….I would stop at impeaching someone just because you don’t like them or because you feel they are not a good President. I believe that’s what this whole impeachment proceedings against Trump is about….they don’t like Trump, they didn’t want him to win the 2016 election, & he made “asses” out of the Democratic Party, which they are & which they have shown & well deserve! The “Dumbocrats” have wasted millions of dollars on trumped up impeachment proceedings against President Trump & that money could’ve been used to fix our infrastructure, to boost Social Security payments to the elderly in this country; by the way, SS recipients are only going to get a 1.6% raise for 2020 & of course the elderly will pay an increased Medicare cost, so it’s… Read more »

Susan

I hope enough democrats in vote dangerous districts will use common sense and vote against. Pelosi needs to attend to her disgusting San Francisco district and FIX it. Retire her.

Deborah Hendricks

It’s time for the rest of the Republicans to stand up and fight for this President. If they don’t, they are going to be the losers in November. They have done nothing, except for Jordan, Collins and McCarthy to help this President and his 63 million plus supporters. Enough is enough, guys, come on. Stand up and do something!!!!!!!

Thomas

The dems are looking at another civil war, the least being ALL Democrats should lose seats. How are so many supposedly honest people making $175,000 a year turn into millionaires, that can’t be honest.

Josephine pooley

Such a travesty! I pray Americans remember this at the polls next November!

Betty Oswalt

Praying for our beloved President,family and alliance! God bless them all! I love our President and he has done a great job!!!!!!!

victor Bastianos

they are trying to destroy our CONSTITUTION and our way of governing…isn’t it obvious yet??????

Barbara Shealy

I’d be willing to bet that Manchin from WV won’t vote for impeachment. He is an old-fashioned Democrat — the kind who would work with the other party and the president.

Linda Hutson

Al Green has already stated that there is no limit on how many times they can bring Impeachment charges! 😡 Impeachment of the President all because he questioned Ukraine’s corruption! Is that not what a President should do before he shells out millions of taxpayers dollars in aid to a known corrupt government? What the Democrats realized was that a Investigation would catch many of them in the net and they are desperately trying to cover their involvement and kickbacks!

Laurie Bee

I read somewhere that a person’s hatred is like acid in a container. It does more harm to the container than to the target of theIr hatred. The dems detest our President, but they are damaged far more than he is. They’ve lost their ability to think rationally and to prioritize their goals. And yes, that means YOU, Nancy Heart-full-of-love! Ha!!

PC or not PC?

Watch in glee as the Democrat party implodes. But realize that this is only for the short term. Millennial voters are all in for socialism. Pray that these are not the last years of American greatness.

Dave Bloomer

I want the full House vote to Impeach to occur. That will put all those “moderate/will reach across the aisle to cooperate” freshmen D’s, who won in Trump-won Districts, on public record one way or the other. Those voting Yes will likely end up being electoral toast in 2020 and thereby could cost the Demo_rats their majority. So, bring it on Speaker Paloser! MAGA and KAG!

Aaron P Lopez

I hope and pray that all Americans would come to their senses and vote all these traitors out ! The Dems are out to destroy and dismantle our fine country ! This isn’t about Trump, it’s about destroying our democracy by using our tax dollars to advance their B/S narrative and agenda.
It’s time for all people of America to unite and vote all of these traitors out of office.
Remember their names, go vote and get all of them out of Washington !!!!

Marti Deputy

Our founders are spinning in their graves! If it weren’t winter, they would be causing brush fires from the friction.

Gordon SAUNDERS

AND DESPITE ALL THE BACKGROUND PROGRESSIVE NOISE, EVERYONE HAS FORGOTTEN THE BASIC ISSUE THAT STARTED EVERYTHING, AND THAT IS THE STATED GOAL OF THE ILLIBERAL PROGRESSIVES TO FORCE AMERICA INTO A WORLDWIDE DESPOTIC DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTIC ENVIRONMENT WHEREIN THEY AS THE SUPREMO LEADERS OF AMERICA WILL ASSURE THEM OF A STEADY SUPPLY OF FINANCING.

Penny Rood

I know I for one will make democrats loose members no matter what it takes if they pull off the impeachment

Irv C

This is unbelievable bullsh**. I really hope if the dumbo rats push this the consequences are a civil war. This insanity must be stopped once and for all. It disgusts me!