I support Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House. I think she has done a good job in both stints in the position. But in the recent Democrat on Democrat squabble she’s had with members of the Squad, I think I side with the freshmen congresswomen over the 79 year old Speaker.
The Speaker has been a good foil for Trump. She stands up to him and he doesn’t like it. It makes for some good political theater. I also understand that the Speaker has to balance a lot of different factions in keeping her caucus together. She takes the hits so that more moderate Democrats in swing districts don’t have to take politically uncomfortable votes. She’s doing what she can to help ensure that the next House, after the 2020 election, still has a Democratic majority.
On the question of impeachment, the Speaker has walked a fine line. I kinda think that Pelosi, personally, would be for pursuing impeachment of Trump. But the strategy of Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership team is to let it be a slow build. Investigate, document the administration’s intransigence, win a court case to force their hand, and then investigate some more. Maybe then bring the impeachment.
The problem with this strategy is time. There are 15 or so months until the 2020 election. Once we hit January 2020, I think many Americans will say, just vote him out of office in November. Why bother with impeachment? That’s also probably the point of view of many people right now.
The problem for Democrats with that strategy is that the next election is going to be won on the margins. Republicans have the advantage of gerrymandered districts and a policy of trying to make it harder for people to vote. On a national level, the electoral college system benefits the Republican candidate. Democrats have demographics on their side. There are more Democrats than Republicans. If they come out to vote in big numbers, Dems will win in a landslide. But getting them out in big numbers requires a lot of things. One of the biggest is enthusiasm of the Democratic base. Dems won the House back in 2018 based on the enthusiasm of its voters. The implicit promise that a Democratically controlled House would act as a check on the Donald. And what they’ve gotten out Democratic leadership is inaction and slow-rolling. Worry that an impeachment will be seen as overreach and hurt Dems in 2020 like it hurt Republicans in 1998. Here’s where the Squad has it right. Bold action is needed. Get people fired up. The Speaker could use the fire of the Squad and help direct it toward a Democratic win in 2020, both in the House and in the White House.
Likewise, I don’t believe the pundits who worry that impeachment could backfire on the Democrats. Fall of 2019 is your window, Madam Speaker. Televised hearings. Put together a solid impeachment inquiry and get it through the House. Make all of the Senators take a vote and announce where they stand. He won’t get convicted, but an impeachment can actually work as a boost to the enthusiasm of Democrats leading into the primaries in 2020. Clear this off the books by New Years and then let all of the candidates go forth and make their case. Dems have enough actual policy ideas to run on – Healthcare being first among them – but getting rid of the Donald should also be part of the equation. His base will support him, but your base is bigger. He’s underwater on approval. Use that to your benefit.