An impeachment too far

Europeans are salivating about the prospect of President Trump being tried in the Senate under the impeachment procedures. They are going to be disappointed for the simple reason that if the Democrats think with their heads, they will eschew a Senate trial that as things stand now will not result in a two-thirds vote to terminate the Trump presidency.

Many foreign observers and self-proclaimed experts on America do not understand that impeachment is a political, not a true judicial process where even the charges (including high crimes and misdemeanors) are notoriously vague and fairly concocted. And yet, it is a process that wrecks for a short time the political life of the nation, paralyzing the congressional agenda and instigating quasi-hysteria in the media. The main reason why Trump will not be mortally wounded by an impeachment process, no matter how far the Democrats will be able to push it, is that at this stage of the political game (and we are still more than a year away from the presidential elections) the large majority of minds are made up and little of what is said and done in Congress will change them decidedly. It should be recalled that when President Bill Clinton underwent the impeachment procedure in December 1998, the bill of impeachment passed by the House was not supported by a majority of Americans. It should also be recalled that barely a year later Bill Clinton was again popular and enjoyed a 50% approval rating.

Europeans are wrong when they look at the present U.S. political convulsions and believe that this is the time when Americans decide what to do with their erratic president. Needless to say, Americans will decide the future of Donald Trump when they vote in November 2020, and to some temporary extent in the primaries in the first semester of the year. This is not to say that a majority of Americans have made up their minds about Trump. What should be said is that they may still reserve their vote in spite of the evidence that links Donald Trump to egregious violations of the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

Public support is a strange beast in the United States; it is fickle and unpredictable. Europeans rely on their ideological platforms too much to accept the simple fact that Americans use different patterns of judgment, especially about the sheer political persona and the impetuous temperament of a president such as Trump.

Nancy Pelosi, a shrewd political agent who has already left a big mark in Washington politics, knows by experience that the American public is not that enthusiastic about impeaching a president. And she knows something else, that the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, would disrupt the impeachment proceedings, making sure that the whole process would boomerang on the Democrats. And finally, she knows that the power base of the Republican president will not collapse. The redde rationem, that is the final score, will come in November 2020, a milepost that promises to be fatal to a president who is supported by less than 50% of the probable voters.

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