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Trump Is Baiting Democrats

David Frum
 

Don’t impeach Donald Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached that decision early, and she reached it firmly.

The Senate will not remove him, so the impeachment drive will end in failure. In the aftermath of a failed impeachment, holding President Trump to account will become even more difficult than it is now. He’ll think, Why comply with subpoenas? What will they do—impeach me? They already dropped the atom bomb and it went fzzzzt. They’re not going to do it again!

A failed impeachment will rally hesitant and embarrassed Republicans to Trump’s side, risking the seats of moderate Democrats elected in 2018. Meanwhile, it will commit all Democrats, even in safe seats, to a year of talking about process issues. Important as those issues are—Who doubts that Pelosi feels them?—they are not the issues that will mobilize the voters Democrats need in 2020. Pelosi wants to set the board to run on two themes: (1) Trump will take away your health insurance, and (2) Trump wants to deport your husband or wife or nephew or neighbor.

That’s the message, she seems to feel, that can beat Trump in a year when 56 percent of Americans rate their personal finances as “good” or “excellent,” and 57 percent expect even more improvement for themselves and their family in the months ahead.

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