Everyone in the Capitol seems to want impeachment except for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Her children in the House foam at the mouth at the prospect of putting President Trump on trial, and like children eating themselves sick with sugar, the most vociferous and hysterical of Pelosi’s caucus are blind to the obvious practical ramifications of their political bloodlust.
Trump knows he won the Russia rampage. By any objective standard, his conduct was dishonest, immoral, and unpresidential. But Democrats spent the better part of two years swearing that Trump’s conduct was illegal, impeachable, and cooperative with a foreign adversary. They missed the mark, and Trump’s still taking a victory lap and doing what he does best: exacting vengeance on his enemies.
Actually, scratch that. Revenge is Trump’s second-greatest skill. His first is just plain trolling. And right now, Pelosi has found herself in his crosshairs. Just a few of the greatest hits of the past two days alone from our very stable genius in the Oval:
Insinuating that Pelosi’s losing it or slamming back bottles nightly is fine enough trollery. Though who among us would actually fault Ilhan Omar’s babysitter for needing a bit of booze to make it through the day?
The real master class is Trump’s abrupt embrace of sunlight as the best disinfectant.
Trump knows that even if he’s unpopular, impeachment is even more so. Trump’s approval ratings have been bouncing safely within the 40s since the beginning of 2018, not coincidentally aligning with his public falling out with Steve Bannon and the alt-right as well as his first legislative success with tax reform. His personal approval rating probably faces a ceiling, but two key factors bode well for the president: his economic job approval, which has remained well above water, and polling on the direction of the country.
People liked Obama, but fewer than 3 in 10 Americans felt the country was on the right track for the vast majority of his second term. People don’t like Trump, but they’re pretty satisfied with Trump’s America. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans now think the country is on the right track, and the proportion of Americans who think that the country is on the wrong track decreased by roughly 10 percentage points since three years ago.
More importantly, the public is tired of hearing about Russia and outright opposed to Trump’s impeachment. The majority of Americans want Congress to move on from the Russia matter and just 34% want impeachment proceedings. Trump knows how spectacularly impeachment would backfire on Democrats, and more importantly, it would dominate the whole narrative of 2020.
If Joe Biden secures the Democratic presidential nomination, the former vice president could pivotally reclaim Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and even Florida by simply offering a return to normalcy. But if Democrats initiate impeachment proceedings, Trump can direct his ire not at the affable and broadly appealing Uncle Joe, but at Adam Schiff and Rashida Tlaib. That’s a much more politically expedient race for Trump to run, and he knows it.
Pelosi’s now being backed into an impeachment corner by Trump and her own party. She’s tried to have her cake and eat it too, amping up her rhetoric while avoiding actual impeachment. But at this point, Pelosi’s insinuated that Trump is mentally ill, a criminal, and unfit to govern. There’s not much more she can say without pulling the impeachment trigger.
CNN says that Trump “keeps taking Nancy Pelosi’s bait.” In reality, the reverse is true. Trump just needs to avoid saying the quiet part out loud: