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Why impeachment obsession could help keep President Trump in office

Watch the nightly news and you will hear that President Donald Trump is finished for real this time. Apparently his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has all of the hallmarks of a defining moment of his time in office, and comes complete with an impeachment inquiry to boot. However, the last three years of polemic and bombastic “scandals” touted by Democrats mean that many Americans have already tuned out.

This is not because of some deep character flaw or disinterest in civic life. Instead, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have beaten impeachment fever on a politics weary country since before Trump even entered office. Many of the same people who would have normally been glued to the television watching acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testify are now ignoring the impeachment circus.

Does this mean that Trump is innocent? It is too early to say. There are likely going to be consequences for his conversation with Zelensky. But the negative impacts may not translate into traction with the public. A Politico Morning Consult poll published as the story broke shows support for impeaching Trump actually went down to 36 percent. Moreover, only 33 percent of independents want to have the president impeached. A Business Insider poll shows while most Americans want to learn more about what occurred in the call by a plurality of 43 percent to 32 percent, the public also thinks that the inquiry will ultimately benefit Trump.

The impeachment inquiry may not yield the damaging effect the left seeks due to the almost nonstop drumbeat from the Democrats and the media about the legitimacy of Trump in the White House. Earlier this year, The Atlantic published the stark headline “Impeach Donald Trump.” Efforts over the last two years in Congress include failed House Resolution 646, which charged the president with racism and “inciting hatred.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler filed a resolution calling for possible criminal charges tied to the Stormy Daniels hush money payments. The Democrats also wanted Trump out of office for supposed violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The largest letdown for the liberal crowd was the Robert Mueller affair. By the end of three years of talking about the Trump campaign selling out the country for Russian assistance in the 2016 election, the results returned clearly in a four word summary of no collusion and no obstruction.

Each and every one of these efforts created a barrier between Trump and legitimate criticism. With every action by the administration declared an impending national crisis by the media, Americans are starting to tune out the clamor. Many Republicans and independents now wait several days before making a judgement on a breaking story, because the facts of such news reports are usually completely different than what was originally presented by the media. How many times do we have to hear the phrases “beginning of the end” or “the walls are closing in” or other dramatic descriptors of the demise of Trump before they lose all meaning?

I am very interested in the outcome of these House inquiries. We will likely know more about the motives and tactics used by Trump, as well as the role Joe Biden and his son played in Ukrainian business dealings and possible corruption. But when it comes to the general public or Senate Republicans, the stunts of the last three years will all lead to the same place of natural resistance to rush of judgment and media narratives.

Remember, the House can vote to impeach for any reason, although the Constitution holds up the template of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The power to remove the president, however, is in the Senate controlled by Republicans. Just as Republicans found out in the Bill Clinton years, launching an impeachment trial right before an election year without the votes to actually remove the president is a losing political maneuver.

The last thing Democrats want is what they may be setting themselves up for. Trump could declare himself the target of a “deep state coup” and give himself a unique posture for an incumbent. As a sitting president, Trump could again run as an outsider during the campaign. The message to Republican candidates for the House and Senate then becomes “drain the swamp of Democrats who voted for impeachment.” Democrats in swing districts may learn their votes on this will cost them their seats.

Democrats have a chance to collect their energy into a knockout blow against Trump in the 2020 election. Instead, they are embarking on a risky strategy. They may get the impeachment they want, but the inquiry may also sink Biden. For the left wingers eager to notch this hollow victory against Trump, the message is attached. Be careful what you wish for.

Kristin Tate is a libertarian writer and an analyst for Young Americans for Liberty. She is an author whose latest book is “How Do I Tax Thee? A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.

Tags Democrats Donald Trump Government Impeachment Joe Biden Robert Mueller

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