House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (d-calif.) said Monday that she would open an impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump. Since Trump took office, the outside world has continued to hype the so-called "impeachment drama." It finally came out. Trump is likely to become the fourth sitting US President to face impeachment.
There have been calls within the Democratic Party to impeach Trump since the Democrats won the 2018 midterm elections and returned to the majority in the House of Representatives. Some extreme liberal Democrats, in particular, have a strong incentive to push the agenda because they promised to impeach the President during the electoral campaign. However, at one point, Pelosi was cautious and even opposed to it. Because even if the House of Representatives could approve Trump's impeachment with a Democratic majority, the Senate, with a 53-47 Republican majority, would hardly pass the impeachment proposal, meaning they would not win back the White House. Such a move can only satisfy some individuals’ political expediency as gesture responding to the support of extreme liberals.
Now, Pelosi's decision to move forward with an impeachment investigation is mostly due to mounting pressures from the Democratic Party. According to American mainstream media, in the wake of the phone-gate controversy, support for impeachment among House Democrats soared from less than half to two-thirds. Faced with her party's overwhelming winds of change, Pelosi has no choice. Ironically, current mainstream polls show that, support for impeachment has not increased since the scandal broke. It means that the Democrats' decision to impeach the President is not a popular vote, but just another fighting between the Donkey and the Elephant.
In terms of political impact, the impeachment process initiated by the Democratic Party makes no sense. In addition to the Republicans' advantage in the Senate, the Trump campaign is sure to call the Democrat’s impeachment attack a "witch hunt", and seize the opportunity to strengthen the base of Republican voters and mobilize them to vote for Trump. In the end, the Democrats' claim to convict Trump may instead turn into a campaign for the President’s re-election.
The logic behind the impeachment farce lies in the absurdity and hypocrisy of current American politics. Both parties present themselves as responding to the needs of people and country, but their actions are explicitly in their interests. In order to realize this particular interest, both parties used all constitutional and institutional tools to attack and crush their opponents in the name of "defending order and public interests." Sadly, a vicious fight between politicians from both parties has further riven the electorate. The antagonistic structure of the electorate has created room for politicians of both parties to escalate their rivalries, creating a vicious circle that has accelerated the decline of American politics.
Such a farce is nothing new throughout American political history. Even if the impeachment of Trump succeeds, it is not a victory, but the beginning of the next farce.
Diao Daming, Research Fellow at National Academy of Development and Strategy, Renmin University of China
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