Sunday, February 2, 2020

10 Mistakes Democrats Made on Impeachment


I am not going to offer an opinion if the Senate’s anticipated acquittal of the president in the impeachment proceeding will be correctly decided.   I have nothing to add to the millions of words that have already been said, written and dreamt on this issue.  And, even if I had divine inspiration to contribute a new thought, would it change anyone’s mind?

Leaving aside the merits of the case, I do think the Democrats have committed a series of errors that contributed to the GOP’s victory and made it more palatable for senators to support the president.


Flag of the U.S. Senate

  • House members and others have been clamoring for the president’s impeachment since his inauguration.  Indeed, a resolution for impeachment was submitted to the Republican controlled House in December 2017.  This feeds the narrative that the Democrats were fixated on the impeachment outcome long before the Ukraine imbroglio developed.
  • Democrats and others in print and the airwaves were warning us incessantly over Trump’s collusion with Russia.  They presented collusion as if it were an incontrovertible fact.  When Mueller announced there was no collusion, not a single Democrat admitted error.  They simply moved on to obstruction.  This pivot supported the theory that their plan was simply to find or concoct a pathway to achieve their pre-determined goal.
  • If the charges of bribery, extortion and violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution were so serious and secure, then why weren’t they included in the articles of impeachment?
  • Why didn’t the House Democrats test the President’s claims of privilege in court for witnesses?  If they judged that this effort would be too inconvenient or lengthy, then why would they expect that this same process would proceed smoothly in the Senate?
  • Why did the House Democrats withdraw the subpoena for Charles Kuperman, who was willing to testify if so ordered by a court, before the court issued a ruling?  What changed their minds?
  • Why did Speaker Pelosi give out pens used to sign the impeachment articles as souvenirs, serving to cheapen such a serious and rare undertaking?
  • If impeaching the president needed to occur with great dispatch, informing us that our democracy was at risk, then why did the House tarry for 33 days before forwarding the articles to the Senate?
  • Why did Speaker Pelosi make futile demands to impact on the Senate trial when the Constitution plainly states that the “Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments”?  Did Majority Leader McConnell try to tell the House how to conduct their hearing?  Would they have allowed him to?
  • Should House Managers have declared that the “Senate is on trial” or that if senators voted to acquit that they would be participating in a cover up?
  • Should the House Democrats have emphasized to exhaustion that their submitted case was ‘overwhelming’?  (It was overwhelming to hear the word overwhelming used so often!)  If the case were truly overwhelming, then why would witnesses even be necessary?  Shouldn't the case have been able to stand on its own?

Yes, of course, I could have written a similar post highlighting Republican partisanship, gamesmanship and hypocrisy.  And, I hope readers will comment accordingly.  But my narrower point is that the Democrats’ feeding of their base alienated others and made crossing over less likely for those whose view on the issue was not yet fixed.  So, while they decry the outcome and claim that the trial sans witnesses was illegitimate, they bear some responsibility for this.





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