No one is talking about the real and significant benefits the Republican Party can gain from supporting impeachment.
So far, news sources are talking about how Democrats might suffer for looking into impeaching Donald Trump. They posit that pursuing impeachment may persuade many voters away from voting for Democratic candidates. (Or at least that was the argument before the recent Ukraine scandal; more voters are on board with impeachment now than with previous assertions of presidential impropriety.)
But Republicans have a real opportunity here.
First, if Donald Trump is impeached (and, in turn, vacates the Oval Office), the GOP can launch a clean-slate Republican presidential candidate. Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh, and William Weld, the three current Republican challengers to Trump, aren’t perfect, but compared to the tornado of baggage Trump whirls around in, these three look squeaky clean.
Plus, some of their imperfections (infidelity, bigoted comments about Obama) are already known and confessions — and even apologies — have been made. It would behoove Republicans to align themselves with a man or woman able to admit imperfection.
The “Emperor Wears No Clothes” farce that Trump continues to thrust on the American people is insulting.
In addition, with only a year until the 2020 presidential election, there isn’t that much time for sullying the names of these other candidates. The timing is right to ride the wave right into the White House.
Second, with each misstep, lie, unearned boast, controversy, abrupt staff dismissal, and guilty plea of an ally, Trump alienates another handful of (or a few thousand) Republican voters.
Even Republican lawmakers, who have stoically stood firmly by his side, are drawing the line at the quid-pro-quo language of the Ukraine’s Zelensky wanted to buy more Javelin missiles, with President Trump answering, “we’d like you to do us a favor, though.”
A fresh Republican presidential candidate will potentially return millions of alienated Republican voters happily to the fold. If Trump remains on the ballot, the GOP risks losing the 2020 election in the same way Hillary Clinton lost in 2016: Republican-leaning voters will simply leave the presidential vote vacant.
In 2016, innumerable ballots — enough to lose entire states, like Michigan for example — with Democratic votes for all local and regional candidates were submitted with no vote for president. Democrats who didn’t like Clinton simply didn’t vote for president. There is a very real chance this can happen again in 2020 with Trump.
Replacing Trump with a candidate who can re-unite the Republican Party will help return the GOP to normalcy. It’s been a long time since the Republican Party resembled the party of Lincoln and the party of Teddy Roosevelt. (In fact, one could argue that the Democratic Party, which does more for minorities and public lands, represents the ideals of Lincoln and T. Roosevelt more than the Republican Party does.)
Many, if not most, Republican lawmakers have been more than a tad queasy at many of President Trump’s tweets, antics, and actions. We’ve reached a tipping point with this latest (and one of his most blatant) scandals.
Republican lawmakers now need to choose whether they will put their names on the side that is protecting our democracy and upholding our constitution. It is that simple and that serious. We are at a crossroads.
We need to declare once more our independence from foreign influence, and at the same time reform our protective alliances.
Republicans have the opportunity now to be on the right side of history. If GOP lawmakers have questioned some of their previous votes of support for President Trump, they can rest assured that history will remember them most for whether or not they defended the Constitution, American democracy, and American decency in this unprecedented time.
Let’s start over, Republicans. Let’s rebuild the party in the dreams of our founders.