There are many silver linings in the crashing of the Democrats’ unsuccessful attempt to impeach and remove President Trump. His approval rating surpasses Obama’s corresponding rating at this time, with Trump attaining a 49% approval rating in the latest Gallup poll.
The impeachment failure has a long-term benefit too. Impeachment should never again be a viable option for one political party merely to retaliate against the president of another political party.
The lack of bipartisan support in the House for the impeachment of Trump set off alarm bells which Democrats failed to heed. In our two-party system, no president can be impeached and removed without significant support by members of his own political party, which the impeachment of Trump never had.
Instead, Democratic leaders with delusions of grandeur thought they could make this another Watergate, when President Nixon was forced to resign amid threats of impeachment. Our society no longer takes as gospel truth the liberal television news and other media the way we did in the early 1970s.
Public approval of Congress has been abysmal in recent years, but it was not much higher during the Watergate era. What has dramatically changed between then and now is the lack of public confidence in the media which spins the news during an impeachment proceeding.
Public confidence that the media will report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” dropped to 41% last September prior to impeachment, and only 15% among Republicans, according to the non-partisan Gallup. Two decades ago, a whopping 55% of Americans had confidence in the fairness of the media.
It was the media that drove President Nixon from office, using congressional Watergate hearings as fodder for accomplishing that goal. Democrats were hoping for a repeat this time, but the liberal media’s high level of influence is gone now, thanks in large part to Trump himself.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings generated far more public interest and protests than the impeachment of President Trump did. Missing from impeachment were confrontations by protesters with senators in the elevator, like the one with then-Senator Jeff Flake which caused a one-week delay of the Kavanaugh confirmation vote.
Is the confirmation of one new justice for the 9-member U.S. Supreme Court really more important than an impeachment and attempted removal of the President of the United States? Many apparently think so, perhaps because the Supreme Court has wielded so much power over domestic issues like abortion, border security, LGBTQ, and the Second Amendment.
The lack of interest in the impeachment of a president may be due to how there was never any chance of it making any difference. Without bipartisan support there could never be the 67 votes required in the Senate in order to remove a president from office, and thus the impeachment is merely an exercise in futility.
Most working Americans have no interest in a parade of legal eggheads pontificating about whether an action by a president is an “impeachable offense.” If anything, the tiresome rants against President Trump demonstrated how broken Washington, D.C. is, and another election sweep by President Trump is necessary so he can complete the job he was sent there to do.
Some Republicans are suggesting that what is good for the goose will be good for the gander. Now that Democrats have lowered the standard of an impeachable offense to something as trivial as a delay in sending American taxpayer funds to a corrupt foreign country which had no entitlement to the money, Republicans could easily impeach a Democratic President at the next opportunity.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), up for reelection in Iowa, has already pointed out that Joe Biden could be impeached using the new low standard adopted by Democrats who tried to get Trump. A future Republican House and Senate could return the favor of routine impeachment in spades, if they wanted to stoop as low as the House Democrats have.
Senator Ernst’s observation should cause Democrats to think twice before voting to remove President Trump. While it is unlikely that future Republicans would ever start this kind of impeachment drivel against a Democratic president, if Democrats persist against Trump then it is comforting to know that it could boomerang on them.
The historical significance of this impeachment fiasco is its death as a purely political weapon. The impeachment antics have struck out with the public, with television, and with protesters.
Never again should an impeachment be based on secret hearings, refusals to charge a crime, or reliance on Deep State bureaucrats with gripes over policy differences. When a presidential election is less than a year away, the people should be ones who decide whether to reelect a president, not inside-the-Beltway career politicians who are too biased to be credible.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.