More Americans blame President Trump for the current government shutdown, and Democrats are feeling emboldened. After taking at least 40 seats in the midterm election, House Democrats finally have subpoena power and can investigate the president and his administration, seeking evidence of crimes they can use to impeach Donald Trump.
But despite the shutdown, and recent news on multiple criminal investigations of the president, and even the shuttering of his charitable foundation by the New York Attorney General for a "shocking pattern of flagrant and repeated illegality," Donald Trump enjoys a job approval rating of around 90 percent with Republican voters. In fact, President Trump is gaining popularity with Republicans. Remember, when first elected, Trump’s approval rating with Republican voters stood at about 80 percent.
Trump’s overwhelming support from Republican voters means that GOP members of Congress will not abandon the president, nor use impeachment proceedings to remove him from office, unless a large percentage of Republican voters first abandon him themselves.
Still, many Democrats – who overwhelmingly despise President Trump – hope that, when Robert Mueller finally issues his report on Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government, the findings will be so damning that Republicans in Congress will remove the president from office.
That’s wishful thinking for Democrats.
Understand, many Republicans already believe that while Donald Trump may not be the world’s most ethical person, he represents their best chance to have a government that reflects their conservative world view. The president’s own acting chief of staff, former Congressman Mick Mulvaney, said as much in 2016: “Yes, I’m supporting Donald Trump…I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can, given the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad.”
Impeachment is a political process. All elected officials, a majority of the House of Representatives, and two-thirds of the Senate, must vote to impeach and remove the president from office. Next year, Democrats will control the House of Representatives, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the votes to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. But with the Senate’s 53 Republicans, to get to the two-thirds threshold (a total of 67 votes) required to lawfully remove the president from the White House, 20 Republicans will have to vote with all of the Democrats to convict Donald Trump.
Even if all the Republican Senators running for election in 2020 – and generally considered as potential targets for Democrats – voted to impeach the president to protect themselves politically, the Senate would still fall far short of a two-thirds majority required. This does not even take into consideration that a conservative Democrat, like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, could vote to oppose impeachment.
To those Democrats disheartened by this situation, my suggestion is to look on the bright side: Our founding fathers created a system of government that was overtly political, meaning our leaders are selected through elections and not based on lineage or divine providence. Hence, the impeachment process reflects the realities of an elected government and gives the American people the opportunity to vote for a new president, or to re-elect Donald Trump, less than two years from now.