“The only conduct that merits the drastic remedy of impeachment is that which subverts our system of government or renders the president unfit or unable to govern.”

Charlies Ruff

With the release of the redacted Mueller Report, some Democrats have renewed calls for the House to begin proceedings to impeach President Trump.  Just this past week, Senator Elizabeth Warren, in an effort to recharge her faltering presidential ambitions, became the first announced 2020 candidate to call for the president’s impeachment.  

When Donald Trump took his oath of office, he pledged, “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”   His critics contend he has failed to do so.

Far from exoneration, the Special Council’s findings provide ample evidence of obstruction of justice by the president. 

More significant, President Trump has engaged in a concerted campaign to challenge and even flout, the separation of powers, ignore the rule of law, and disregard civil liberties.  Even some Republicans are disturbed his by-passing Congress, appointing “acting” Cabinet secretaries rather than sending nominees to the Senate for its advice and consent.

The president has deliberately fanned the flames of social, religious and racial divisiveness; potentially violated the Emoluments Clause; and continues to rebuff justifiable Congressional oversight requests for documents and access to potential witnesses. 

Equally disturbing, he has engaged in a proactive strategy to frame many of our nation’s most fundamental institutions and groups; including the FBI, CIA, news media (singularly exempting FOX), immigrants, Muslims, journalists, environmentalists and even Democrats , as part of a “deep state” and “enemies of the people.”

His words have poisoned the American landscape where civil political discourse, the lifeblood of a vibrant democracy, has become nearly impossible.

He insults our country’s historic allies while lavishing praise and refusing to take to task such dangerous autocratic bullies as Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, the Philippines’ Duarte, North Koreas Kim Jong Un and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

His instincts and actions are not unlike many democratically-elected, wannabee despots claiming to speak for the people, inventing perceived threats to the country, relishing the approval of adoring crowds, making bold promises and then blaming “our enemies” when they aren’t delivered.

For many Americans and Democrats in particular, Trump’s actions have risen to such a level that his removal from office is essential for the protection and preservation of our fragile democracy.

Yet, they should be careful what they wish for …

However satisfying and justified such a course of action might be, the impeachment of President Trump would be unwise and a potentially fatal waste of the political capital and the public goodwill Democrats have enjoyed since the 2018 election victories.  Moreover, it could turn off moderate voters while greatly incentivizing Trump’s base.

While the House might pass (clearly not a given) a Bill of Impeachment, the odds of obtaining a ⅔ affirmative vote in the Senate to convict the president are near non-existent.  History also records both prior impeachment attempts failed.

Proceeding down an impeachment path will invariably consume Congress’ efforts to the exclusion of any realistic opportunity of passing such critically important legislation as improving access to affordable health care, immigration reform, fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, providing medical leave and job training initiatives, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, tackling the impacts of climate change (absent pursing the fiscally-irresponsible Green Deal),reclaiming its enumerated powers which have been usurped by and/or delegated to the Executive Branch and protecting our democracy by finding bullet-proof ways of preventing the type of Russian and other foreign influence and money which permeated the 2016 elections.

If their goal is to see Donald Trump leave the White House, the ballot box not impeachment is the preferred tactic.  However, Democrats running in 2020 must transcend simply being anti-Trump; and articulate an optimistic vision for the future, focus on a record of social and fiscally responsible legislative accomplishments, demonstrate they will engage and compromise with Congressional Republicans and commit to bring ethics, integrity and civility back to Washington. 

To defeat Donald Trump, the party must also nominate a presidential candidate who will attract and be attractive to not only Democrats but also disaffected Republicans and the 40% of the electorate not affiliate with either Democratic or Republican parties.

Other than having Howard Schultz enter the 2020 presidential sweepstakes as an Independent, an all-out war over impeachment could be the president’s ticket to a second term!