“So. Your President Got Acquitted.” 3 Takeaways from the Trump Impeachment Trial
As I write this article, emotions run high over the outcome of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Knowing the process as well as the current political clime, I decided to follow it as little as possible.
Colin Jost: “Do you think that our political system is broken?”
Michael Che: “Um, no, I think it’s fixed.”
Still, there’s much to gain from the last few months for those who seek it.
Opponents shouldn’t be upset over the outcome.
Anything short of acquittal would have been the greatest turncoat event of the GOP’s history. The senate casted 47 (obstruction of justice) and 48 (abuse of power) votes out of the 67 needed to remove Trump from power.
At least 19 more votes were needed to change the outcome. Each representative’s party base is solidly in support of the president and an expedited trial (a longer, more thorough trial would not have made a difference in changing their minds).
One Democratic senator (Joe Manchin West Virginia) voted with the GOP majority on both counts while one Republican senator (Mitt Romney, Utah) voted with the Democrats on one count. These were the only “surprises” — and they’re catching a lot of media attention and little more.
Is this upsetting? Sure, if you’re not a fan of Trump, the GOP, or punting on congressional due process. However, it was expected. Impeachment was never going to be the means by which Trump would leave office — at least not with this congressional configuration and in these hyper-partisan times.
But there’s now a scar on Trump’s presidency that will never heal.
Trump and the GOP should be concerned.
While it helps to look at past historical events to guide what will happen next, Trump is largely an … unprecedented president in many respects.
- He’s the first elected president impeached within the first term (Clinton was in his second term, Andrew Johnson was sworn-in).
- By the end the trial, 48.5% overall American voters favored impeachment (43.3% independent voters) 47.7% favored Trump’s removal (42.4% of independent voters). Source: FiveThirtyEight.
- 50% of registered voters disapprove of Trump (42% independent). Source: Gallup.
Of course, these numbers are much higher than they were in 2016, where Trump had a 37.5% approval rating compared to Clinton’s 41.8%. It’s likely that the GOP will be able to continue their run, but the path ahead is far from a lay-up.
Now it’s a question on whether their opposition can capitalize.
It’s time to play chess, not checkers.
Election 2020 is only nine months away. Can the Democrats leverage impeachment in a way that will encourage votes, focusing on those undecideds, disenfranchised, independent, and regretful 2016 voters? Or are they still scrambling to identify a candidate that will unify the party?
Neither. It’s not about justice or candidates. It’s about what voters want.
Most people don’t list impeachment as a high priority for their decision-making. Instead, these are the areas that preoccupy independent voters (who comprise of 9% of voters, which could make the difference). Here are the some of the core issues they care for and stand by:
- Maintaining the 2nd Amendment but encourage background checks
- End the separation of immigrant children from families
- Increase the minimum wage, guarantee jobs, and make college debt-free
In short, the candidate that will speak clearly to the basic need, rights, and compassion of American families may be able to bring about the change that impeachment intended but was ill-designed to execute.
If you haven’t already, register to vote. It’s the last real hope to keep any of this system accountable. Support a candidate who believes in America but also it’s people as well. Encourage others to vote for them with positivity.
Or don’t. Stop complaining, and start doing something.