In the inside-out, upside-down world that is Washington, D.C. these days, here is a startling idea: No one wants to see the impeachment process of Donald Trump get underway this summer more than Donald Trump. A source inside the White House has recently confirmed as much to CNN, suggesting the president is fairly panting for the impeachment hounds to grab that pork chop and run with it.
Which raises a question: Why?
Impeachment is a serious matter which is rarely undertaken. In a presidential sense, it is Congress raising an official accusation of wrongdoing, law-breaking, treason or other misconduct. When any president is impeached by the House of Representatives, the stain will stay on his record for eternity, even if he holds on to his office. Which is a fancy way of saying impeachment is definitely a bad thing.
Unless…perhaps…you are Donald Trump.
Remember, Trump’s entire campaign — his rollicking, raging, road show of rallies which have never stopped — is predicated on the idea of enemies. His supporters are whipped into frenzies over his fantastic tales of greedy Democrats trying to take their health care, sneaky immigrants lurking to take their jobs, and a murky “Deep State” of conspiratorial bureaucrats out to thwart the will of the voters. At every stop, he stokes his fans’ fears of economic and political disenfranchisement, while insisting he is the only person strong enough, determined enough and wily enough to save them from social annihilation.
In Trump’s “us against them” universe, impeachment could serve not as proof of his badness, but rather as validation of his victimhood: evidence that D.C. is such a swamp, even the superhero of the “MAGA” crusaders must fight for his political life. Of course, he’s not being particularly brave in daring the Dems to take action. Trump’s Republican party controls the Senate and there is virtually no chance they’ll convict him. What’s more, he’s apparently convinced an impeachment effort would rally his base for his re-election. Win-win.
So even as the Democratic drumbeat for impeachment grows louder, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is urging a go-slow approach. Because she knows her party’s jubilation over winning that vote would be short-lived if it helps Trump win the much more substantial vote next fall.