News today from Washington insiders that a sharp exchange between Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler finds the speaker wanting to go much farther than mere impeachment hearings.
Pelosi wants to throw Trump in jail. From Politico:
“I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison,” Pelosi said, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with the meeting. Instead of impeachment, Pelosi still prefers to see Trump defeated at the ballot box and then prosecuted for his alleged crimes, according to the sources.
The exchange between Nadler and Pelosi erupted on Tuesday after the House Judiciary chairman pressed the speaker on moving forward with impeachment hearings, a politically risky move that Pelosi is trying to avoid.
Should the Democrats move forward on impeachment, the political consequences could mimic those of House Republicans in the late 1990s, as majorities tired of then President Clinton’s antics turned against the GOP as the media narrative turned away from perjury and towards substance. George Bush narrowly won his election against Al Gore in 2000 with a 535 vote margin in Florida.
The problem that the Democrats find themselves in is twofold. Hard-left progressives are demanding impeachment, which puts Democrats in the suburbs in the precarious position of having to go on record as supporting or opposing the measure. Second, there is the oddity of an “impeachment inquiry” — a sleight of hand that would have all the trappings of an impeachment but none of the substance, ergo not a true impeachment hearing at all:
But not all committee leaders were supportive of the impeachment inquiry. Both Schiff and Neal argued that if Democrats are going to open an inquiry, they should also be prepared to impeach Trump, which the caucus isn’t ready to do, they said. Cummings also sided with Pelosi, according to a source.
In effect, their hard-left wing is pinning their fortunes in 2020 on impeachment, and if it creates a more progressive but smaller Democratic Party? That’s something their base is willing to risk.
Meanwhile, Virginia Democrats find themselves in a similar bind on issues beyond impeachment, namely attempting to glom onto issues that motivate the progressive base in an effort to make their own legacies relevant.
Gun control, infanticide, and gender reassignment seem to have taken the place of education, transportation, and small business growth in the list of Democratic priorities, which is either a school of kung-fu hence unknown to the political world, or evidence that such priorities might be a touch misplaced among suburban Virginia voters.