A former pollster for former President Bill Clinton is warning House Democrats about trying to impeach President Donald Trump if they win the House in November, arguing that it likely won’t pass the Senate and could cause serious gridlock within the government.
“Yet, if the Democrats do win back the House and pursue impeachment against the president, there is little on the record to suggest House Democrats have enough evidence to get a conviction in the Senate,” Douglas Schoen, a former pollster for Clinton, wrote in an op-ed in The Hill Sunday.
“We could thus see a divided government much like we encountered in 1998. Such an outcome does not serve the American people’s interests and only serves to further embroil Washington in divisive gridlock. It also, ironically maybe, would bode well for President Trump’s reelection bid in 2020,” Schoen wrote.
Many House Democrats have promised to impeach Trump if they win the House in 2018 and some have already tried in 2017.
A group of six Democratic House members introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump November 2017, arguing the president violated federal law, the public trust and should be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors.
Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Al Green of Texas and Adriano Espaillat of New York introduced five articles of impeachment at a press conference at the Capitol.
The articles had two more co-sponsors: Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio and John Yarmuth of Kentucky.
Green brought articles of impeachment against the president again in January 2018.
Schoen warned that Democrats were able to parlay Republicans’ impeachment articles against Clinton as a political ploy.
He also said Trump is already using the Democrats’ attempts for political gain during speeches.
“In 1998, for example, Democrats were able to make the case that the GOP sought impeachment for political purposes and it proved persuasive to some voters. Trump, who has already begun discussing impeachment in stump speeches, could use this to rally his base,” Schoen wrote.
“While an impeachment strategy may energize Democratic voters and serve Democratic interests in the short-term, it will not bring left-leaning Independents into their camp. These are the voters that helped bring Trump to victory in 2016 and a group Democrats should be courting,” Schoen wrote.
Schoen also said that the strategy could backfire in the 2020.
“To pursue impeachment in a divided government is a double-edged sword, as was demonstrated in 1998.
“Democrats should be wary of this path, lest it hurt their chances in 2020,” Schoen wrote.
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