Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” host Fareed Zakaria warned Democrats not to impeach President Trump:
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: Consider for a moment what the growing talk of impeachment among Democrats sounds like to the tens of millions of people who voted for Donald Trump. Many of them supported him because they feel ignored, mocked, and condescended to by the country’s urban, educated, and cosmopolitan elite — especially lawyers and journalists.
So what happens when their guy gets elected? These same elites pursue a series of maneuvers to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election. it would massively increase the class resentment that feeds support for Trump. It would turn the topic away from his misdeeds and towards the Democrats’ overreach and obsession. And ultimately, of course, it would fail. Two-thirds of this Republican-controlled Senate would not vote to convict Donald Trump. Allowing the president to brandish his acquittal like a gold medal across the country.
I know, I know, many argue passionately that this is not a political affair, but rather a moral and legal one. After reading the Mueller report, they say, Congress has no option but to fulfill its obligation and impeach Trump. But this view misunderstands impeachment entirely. It is by design an inherently political process, not a legal one. That is why the standard used, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” is not one used in criminal procedures. And that is why the decision is entrusted to a political body, Congress, not the courts…
The Democrats have a much better path in front of them. They should pursue legitimate investigations of Trump, bring in witnesses, and release documentary proof of wrongdoing. But they should at the same time show the public that they would be a refreshing contrast to Trump – substantive, policy-oriented, civil and focused on the country, not on their base. America is tired of the circus of Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean they want the circus of the House Democrats.
Trump is vulnerable. With strong economic numbers, he has astonishingly low approval ratings. He will likely run his 2020 campaign on cultural nationalism, as he did the last one. Democrats need to decide what their vision will be. That should be their focus for the next two years, not the unfounded hope that if they pursue impeachment, somehow a series of miracles will take place – a deeply divided country will coalesce around them and Republicans will finally abandon their president.
The real challenge the Democrats face goes beyond Trump. It is Trumpism – a right-wing populism that has swelled in the United States over the past decade. Surely the best way to take it on is to combat it ideologically and defeat it electorally. That is the only way to give the Democrats the real prize, which is not Donald Trump’s scalp but the power and legitimacy to forge a governing majority.