Call this the counterintuitive take on impeachment and polling. Despite overwhelming opposition to the idea and the obvious lessons from 1998 in hand, Rep. Al Green told MSNBC this weekend that Congress has to impeach Donald Trump to save its soul. Green also argued that Trump would win in 2020 without impeachment, a point that even caught the ear of the president:
I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected. If we don’t impeach him, he will say he’s been vindicated. He will say the Democrats had an overwhelming majority in the House and didn’t take up impeachment. He will say we had a constitutional duty to do and we didn’t. He will say he’s been vindicated.
Talk about pessimistic. Democrats have 387 choices in the upcoming primary — a rough count, to be sure, but fairly accurate. Most Republicans are at least somewhat more optimistic about Democrats’ chances in 2020 than Green, as they worry about having an incumbent with low-40s job approval and even lower personal approval heading into a re-elect cycle. Given the nature of Trump’s win in 2016, anything’s possible, but as long as Democrats don’t run Hillary Clinton again they have a pretty decent shot without impeachment.
With impeachment, though? Trump seized on the moment this morning:
“Democrat Texas Congressman Al Green says impeachment is the only thing that can prevent President Trump from re-election in 2020.” @OANN In other words, Dems can’t win the election fairly. You can’t impeach a president for creating the best economy in our country’s history…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2019
Green played right into the GOP narrative on impeachment, which is that Democrats are so afraid of running against Trump again that they’ll do anything to avoid it. They know they can’t win, Trump argues, and so they want to rig it so that they can. With two-thirds of Americans opposing impeachment (and 70% of independents), it might well look that way to the electorate as well, who will wonder why we’re still talking about it after Robert Mueller found no collusion.
Green made the other usual arguments, which neglect the fact that Green’s been talking about impeachment almost since Trump’s inauguration:
Here’s what I say, we’re confronting a constitutional crisis as I speak to you. As I look the people of America in the eye, I’m telling you, we have a constitutional crisis. the chief executive office of the president of the United States refuses to comply with subpoenas and says he will order others to do so, this creates a constitutional crisis. …
We must impeach this president. If you don’t, it’s not the soul of the nation that will be at risk only, it is the soul of the Congress that’s at risk. Congress has a duty, a responsibility and obligation that only it can fulfill. No one else can no. No other entity can. It is Congress that will have to act. If we put people above party, we’ll act properly. But if we allow a party to be above principle, we will not. If we allow political expediency to trump moral imperative, we will have created a shameful situation that this Congress that will never live down, history won’t be kind to us. We must impeach him.
Green’s so useful to the Republican Party that one has to wonder whether he’s secretly joined the GOP. Pelosi might have been thankful that this got buried on a Saturday MSNBC broadcast when few were watching … but apparently Trump did, and so did the GOP.