Democrats have heard the statistics ad nauseam.
During the Obama Administration, the party lost more House, Senate, state legislative, and governors seats than under any other president. The losses effectively left the party in the political wilderness.
For some Democrats, the call for impeachment of Donald Trump has served as a rallying cry and a bone to “the resistance.” Perhaps the first suggestion of such was from Reps. Al Green (D-TX) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who following the termination of then-FBI Director James Comey, argued actions of the president were tantamount to obstruction of justice.
In American history, a sitting president has been impeached on two occasions: Andrew Johnson when northern Republicans disagreed with his treatment of the southern states during reconstruction and Bill Clinton when he committed perjury in front of a grand jury. In both incidents, the Republican controlled Senate failed to remove the president from office.
Proceeding with impeachment would be a disrespect of the process. Essentially, one party would seek to unseat a duly-elected president due to moral objections. At this point the Mueller investigation has yet to deliver any substantial evidence that the president openly colluded with the Russian government. However, such cannot be said without acknowledging the convictions, indictments, and cooperation of former advisors and campaign personnel.
Impeachment without substantial criminal evidence would be a fool’s errand, according to freshly aired polling from NPR/PBS NewsHour, and Marist. According to Independent respondents, whom Democrats are going to need the votes of come the midterms, impeachment is disfavored 47%-42%. In the south and midwest, where Trump performed “bigly” in 2016, 53% and 49% of respondents, respectfully, disprove of impeachment. Democrats do, on the other hand, have a chance to gain new voters by correcting the direction of the country, to which respondents across all regions feel is going in the wrong direction. While Republicans, by 71% to 22% believe the country is going in the right direction, Independents feel 58% to 33% the country is not. That 22% of disaffected Republicans may pose a challenge for Republicans who will desperately need their votes, should they decide to abstain from voting or support a third party candidate.
Matters that are ripe for attention are: stricter gun control, reform to health insurance, and granting legal status for dreamers.
Across all regions, at least 49% of respondents feel that stricter gun legislation should be an immediate priority. While the south responded with the lowest belief of immediacy of the issue, Republicans are divided with 51% believing it to be an issue, with disagreement over expedience, while 47% contend there is no priority.
Health Insurance Reform
The inquiry on health insurance reform was identified to have the most expediency for resolution, regardless of ideology. 73% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, and 73% of Independents responded that health insurance reform should be an immediate priority. That response held true across all regions, as each responded with 71%.
Granting legal status to dreamers received high level of immediacy from Democrats at 73% and 51% from Independents, but the matter nearly equally split the Republican party. 32% believe in an immediate response, 35% indicate not an immediate priority, and 29% say the status is no priority. Each region responded that granting legal status was a priority by at least 49%.
While this poll suggests that the aforementioned matters are of importance, there is no guarantee that Republicans nor Independents will cross over and vote for Democratic candidates, nor support their policy positions. A blind allegiance to impeachment proceedings, especially given the acquittal previously from the Senate, may erode the inroads Democrats have made in special elections since Trump took office.
Instead, the Democrats should return to address issues importance to their base that Republicans have gleefully welcomed in the past several decades. Blue collar Democrats are not concerned about impeachment insomuch as they are about affordable healthcare, retirement security, economy prosperity, immigration reform, and foreign policy, which happen to be matters that Independents and moderate Republicans are concerned about. In an example of a newly disaffected Trump base, farmers in the midwest are concerned over how much they stand to lose if the president starts a trade war with China.
As a point of reference, the party would be well served to revisit the platform from the 1948 convention in Philadelphia:
“Ours is the party which rebuilt a shattered economy, rescued our banking system, revived our agriculture, reinvigorated our industry, gave labor strength and security, and led the American people to the broadest prosperity in our history.”
In this platform, the Democratic party made the case for a mélange of positions of significant importance still today, including: reciprocal trade agreements, equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, tax-relief for low-income earners, protection of racial and religious minorities, protection of farmers, social security protections, and a national health insurance program.
Should Democrats pursue impeachment, the chance to correct re-alignments of the past, especially the loss of blue collar labor in the midwestern and southern states, may be indefinitely lost. Without correcting that paradigm, Democrats should expect to remain in the Congressional minority in the foreseeable future.