US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is always quick to embarrass US President Donald Trump following his State of Union addresses. From sarcastically clapping at him to ripping up his speech this week, her latest antic shows that her relationship with the sitting President has reached an all-time low. Pelosi’s gesture was slammed by the likes of Piers Morgan on Twitter, who called it the ‘political equivalent of throwing one’s toys out of one’s pram.’
But one could argue the House Speaker’s move signifies a deeper problem for the Democrats- now that Trump has survived impeachment, they have run out of tactics to defeat him. If Pelosi was trying to hide her disappointment at this week’s events, then she failed.
It has been an awful week for the Democrats. The race to become the party’s next presidential candidate started off badly, and the Senate overturned the House of Representatives’ bid to impeach the President, which seemed like the only tactic they could deploy to oust him in a ‘constitutional’ manner.
The vote brings to an end the third presidential impeachment trial that bitterly divided the nation. It will be a huge relief to the President’s campaign team as they focus on re-electing Trump.
Trump was always likely to survive impeachment as the Republicans control the Senate. Few GOP senators like Mitt Romney sided with the opposition to vote to impeach him, but the chamber voted 52-48 to acquit the President of abusing his powers, and 53-47 of obstructing Congress.
In a further blow to the Democrats, Trump’s approval ratings on one Gallup poll have hit 49 percent, with 94 percent of Republicans approving of the President’s performance so far, compared to 47 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats.
When the House of Representatives voted to impeach Bill Clinton during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Senate then acquitted him. Clinton also experienced a poll bounce following the incident, but Richard Nixon discovered that his poll ratings plummeted when he resigned over the Watergate scandal. Trump has been fortunate that his fate proved to be similar to Clinton’s so far, particularly when there is an election coming.
But Pelosi has not surrendered yet. She made a statement suggesting the President will be ‘forever impeached’ and she intends to renew her efforts to investigate Trump’s finances and allegations of self-dealing. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) said his party has not made any decisions on what is next. Therefore, the House Speaker has no concrete plans on how to impeach the President.
Even if the Democrats produced new allegations against Trump, they must realise that as long as the GOP remains the dominant party in the Senate, they will never be able to impeach the President. This week’s events proved that, and their attempts to do so are only boosting Trump’s support in the polls. All this drama is likely to do is enrage the President’s supporters before the 2020 election.
If the opposition truly want to defeat the President, they must focus on selecting a candidate for 2020 who can beat Trump during the leadership debates and offer attractive policies. So far, Pete Buttigieg seems like the best hope the Democrats have to win, as this week’s Iowa caucus proved.
From constitutional and legal perspectives, the game is up for Pelosi. Even her gesture of ripping up the President’s State of Union address proved to be a PR disaster. It is almost impossible to impeach Trump, and following the devastation of this week’s Iowa caucus, even a presidential election might not be enough to oust him until the opposition find a candidate capable of doing so. But even that is looking unlikely for now.