The impeachment of Donald Trump will claim more casualties than Democrats could possibly be aware of. Indeed, by moving ahead with such a destructive political process, Democrats are calling in an airstrike on their own position.
Sure, they may get their guy — at least in the House — but they will also eviscerate their front-runner, Joe Biden, while blowing up any meaningful media coverage the rest of the Democratic field needs to sustain itself. Speaking of the Democratic field, most of the big dogs also happen to serve in the Senate, which means they’ll be stuck in Washington, D.C., throughout the trial portion of the impeachment process.
It is foreseeable that Sens. Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker are essentially sequestered in the solemn chamber right up to and through the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary, and even Super Tuesday. Using the Clinton/Nixon impeachment timelines this is very possible.
That would leave the second- and third-tier candidates to rampage through diners in New Hampshire and bowling alleys in Iowa and fill inches in local newspapers while the establishment national media is wall-to-wall impeachment. Can the Mayor of South Bend, Ind., and the businessman preaching universal basic income capture enough hearts and minds to make a difference?
If the first-tier candidates assume the role of austere senators by day — serious jurists in the historic impeachment process — can they moonlight as candidates by night without the American public perceiving the entire production as unserious?
If the Brett Kavanaugh hearings are any guide, they’ll try to straddle both roles with over-the-top antics and theatrical performances so wacky that voters will have to look away and settle on the one chance all of the polls indicate they have of winning in 2020: Joe Biden.
Though Biden is not burdened with employment at the moment and free to crisscross the country, it is very likely his handlers will attempt to keep him in the bunker. After all, this impeachment is literally about the Biden family’s unseemly deal-making in Ukraine and Trump’s motivation for rooting out corruption.
Hunter Biden didn’t wait a nanosecond before rushing in to Ukraine to fill his pockets, as soon as it was determined his father would be handling the administration’s business there. Unqualified for such work in any possible facet, save for having the vice president of the United States as his dad, Hunter Biden was paid more than $83,000 dollars per month.
Republicans want to call Hunter Biden to testify in the impeachment inquiry. If that were to happen the results would likely be disastrous for Biden, the elder. Hunter — to put it lightly — does not inspire confidence.
There is no guarantee that the Democrats in the majority will allow that to happen, and denying testimony from Biden would only add to the perception that they were merely using impeachment as a political weapon rather than their constitutional charter as a check against the executive branch. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., already launched the narrative on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If you can’t call Hunter Biden and you can’t call the whistleblower, that’s sort of a sham. That’s not really even a trial,” he said.
In the end, it is a real possibility that impeachment will fatally wound the presidential campaign of Joe Biden and leave Liz Warren as the party’s nominee. Warren will have to win Pennsylvania after promising to “ban fracking everywhere,” and win the rest of middle America after tweeting things like, “Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy.”
She’ll also have to defend stripping Americans of their health care and replacing it with a Medicare-for-All plan that cannot possibly be paid for without taxing the middle class into oblivion.
The entire impeachment saga will be politically destabilizing, and for what? The Republican Senate is likely to acquit the president and then it will be up to elected Democrats to explain to voters why they, the elected elite, deserved the privilege of throwing the president out of office more than the citizenry, who will be given the opportunity just a handful of months later at the polls.
If Congress’ self-serving attempt to dunk on Trump in impeachment in 2019 ultimately results in a Trump re-election in November of 2020, that will be a self-inflicted event and Americans will have little inclination to tolerate kvetching about the electoral college or Russian tampering.