There has never been a president as corrupt and dangerous to our democracy as Donald Trump. Democrats—with more than 77 percent of the party’s voters supporting impeachment—can use this to their advantage by listening to the Democratic base leading up to the midterms.
In an election year that is going to come down to energizing the base of the party, talking about impeachment is not just politically smart for Democrats, it’s the morally right thing to do. That doesn’t mean Democrats should avoid talking about policy issues that matter deeply to the electorate. It means standing up for what’s right and recognizing the reality of the moment. The disdain among Americans for this president’s corruption and criminal behavior is only matched in the country’s history by the public dislike for President Richard Nixon before he resigned from office.
There is a growing sense of urgency that something needs to be done to hold this president accountable and keep him in check. A growing number of Americans—approaching 50 percent of the country—support impeachment and removal of this president. That number is growing daily.
Yet Democratic voters’ desire for Congress to hold Trump accountable is regularly met with apathy by congressional leadership. Even after a former CIA director called the president’s actions “nothing short of treasonous,” Congress stood still as most Americans looked at Trump as a traitor. Americans wonder every single day how Congress can sit on its hands and watch Trump apparently enrich himself by taking foreign money, obstruct justice in plain sight, attack our free press, and conspire with foreign powers who interfere in our elections.
Beltway insiders like Matt Lewis and members of the Democratic leadership want to continue to throw cold water on Democratic voters by telling them to stay silent on impeachment. They want the voters to keep their concerns about this treasonous, corrupt president to themselves. They view Democratic voters’ stance on impeachment as an inconvenience to be castigated.
The pallbearers of failed D.C. conventional wisdom fear it will energize Trump’s base even when there is no polling or election result to support this claim. In fact, all indications point to the opposite: The top concerns for Republican voters are immigration and taxes; Democrats, on the other hand, will go to the polls this November with Trump’s corruption top of mind.
When Tom Steyer launched the Need to Impeach campaign in October 2017, 1 million Americans signed the petition within a week. Now at more than 5.5 million, the list is the most active in American politics and even bigger than the NRA’s. More than 60 percent of the petition signers are infrequent midterm voters who are angered by Trump’s corruption and energized to do something about it. Even in districts like Pennsylvania’s 18th and Ohio’s 12th—without a candidate supporting impeachment—impeachment petition signers are voting at higher rates than other Democrats.
Falling short of impeachment, Americans still want Congress to rein in Trump’s power. On the loaded topic of a president’s authority to launch nuclear weapons, 72 percent of Americans do not trust Trump with the ability to launch nuclear weapons. Just as alarming, former military doctors have warned that Trump would not pass the military’s Personnel Reliability Program standards to handle nuclear weapons—a standard that every other man and woman in the nuclear chain of command must pass to work in the vicinity of nukes.
Every week the Democratic leadership refuses to take a stand on impeachment and rein in this reckless, dangerous, and lawless president is another week that energized Democrats are overlooked. Maybe that’s why Democratic representation is the lowest it’s been since the 1930s.
Democratic voters are demanding bold and courageous leadership. Congressional approval is at 17 percent, and it’s become abundantly clear to people living outside the Beltway why this is the case. The American people—from both sides of the political aisle—don’t feel like their leaders are listening to them. Democratic leadership is once again at risk of proving them right.