Let’s face it: The Dems never had much to run on in the first place. The candidates have invested their energy and political capital on pie-in-the-sky proposals — the Green New Deal, reparations for slavery, climate change — that most voters rank low among their priorities, if at all. On top of that, the economy, which their candidates have assiduously ignored (with an assist from the media), has been robust, and a strong economy has been a perennial winner for incumbents in presidential elections throughout history.
And now that the Democrats have decided to bet the farm on impeachment, they are about to become a single-issue party. Some within the ranks are already sending up warning flares. Via Fox News:
New Hampshire Democrats said Wednesday that blowback from the impeachment inquiry in the House will only hurt their party’s presidential candidates and will mobilize President Trump’s base before the 2020 election.
“Of course, I want impeachment from a moral perspective,” Michael Ceraso, a former New Hampshire director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, told Politico. “But from a political perspective, I don’t want to spend a year talking about how Democrats tried to impeach him and couldn’t pull it off.”
Indeed, pulling it off will be anything but simple with the case the Democrats plan to make. For one thing, the transcript of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky is out (and may be read here), and as LU’s J.E. Dyer notes, it’s a “nothingburger”:
As suspected, Trump’s query about the Bidens’ activity was made in the prior context of Ukrainian links to the larger saga of the 2016 election. Trump opens with a reference to CrowdStrike and the DNC server, and that, along with a couple of other references and the fact that he asks President Zelensky to call Attorney General Barr as well as Rudy Giuliani, makes it clear that this is about the Justice Department investigation of Spygate, assigned by Barr to John Durham. (I mentioned that assumption in the article about the “impeachment inquiry” on Tuesday.)
For another, as Politico observes:
And the move [to impeach] comes with risks. Public opinion, for now, still remains against impeachment, and the inquiry could jeopardize her [Nancy Pelosi’s] majority in 2020 while giving Trump a boost in his reelection bid.
Finally, impeachment as a legal instrument, even in cases that appear open and shut, is anything but simple and clear-cut, which is perhaps how the founders intended it to be. “There’s a lot of ambiguity around the types of behavior that can be construed as impeachable offenses,” writes Vox, which further cautions, “Because it is a political process that apes a judicial one, there is a huge amount of subjectivity here.”