Nancy Pelosi has a major impeachment problem

House Democrats look well-positioned to retake the House majority in the midterm elections, fueled by their ...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 3:09 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 3:09 PM

House Democrats look well-positioned to retake the House majority in the midterm elections, fueled by their base's animosity toward President Donald Trump and absolutely committed to using the vote in 55 days' time to send a message to him.

Should the energized Democratic base deliver Nancy Pelosi the speakership she lost in the 2010 election, it would be a remarkable journey for the California Democrat, who has weathered eight years of speculation about her political future and growing calls within her caucus for her to step aside.

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Impeachment

Nancy Pelosi

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Political scandals

Politics

Scandals

US Democratic Party

US political parties

Government bodies and offices

Liberalism

Society

US federal government

White House

Continents and regions

Eastern Europe

Europe

Investigations

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

It would also present Pelosi with a massive dilemma -- as made plain by a new CNN-SSRS poll released on Wednesday morning.

Asked whether they believe that Trump "should be impeached and removed from office," or not, 47% said Trump should be impeached while 48% said they don't feel that way. Support for Trump's impeachment has grown from 42% in a CNN-SSRS poll conducted earlier this summer. (By comparison, 29% of people said then-President Barack Obama should be impeached and 70% said they didn't feel that way in a CNN poll conducted in late November 2014.)

Those numbers, on their face, are stunning. Less than two years into Trump's term, half the country would like to see him impeached. Like, now.

But dig into the party and ideological breakdowns of that impeachment questions, and Pelosi's potential dilemma becomes very, very clear. Almost eight in 10 (78%) Democrats believe Trump should be impeached immediately, while only 16% don't feel that way. The numbers among self-described "liberals" are nearly the same; 79% want Trump impeached as compared to 17% who don't.

You don't have to be a political genius to see the writing on the wall there: hardcore Democrats, the sort who are likely to turn out in droves come November 6, want Trump gone. Or at the very least, they want their leadership to push for articles of impeachment to be brought against him.

Which brings me back to Pelosi. She has been crystal clear for the last several months that she believes talking about impeaching Trump is a major mistake for her party. "I do not think that impeachment is a policy agenda," she told CNN's Chris Cuomo back in May. Last month, after longtime Trump attorney and personal fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a number of charges including campaign finance violations, in which he suggested Trump was an active part of an effort to conceal hush payments to two women alleging affairs, Pelosi remained adamant that impeachment was not the right choice for the party. She called it "not a priority," adding: "Impeachment has to spring from something else."

As the new CNN poll shows, that stance puts Pelosi out-of-step with the overwhelming majority of her party's base. Which, politically speaking, is never a good place to be.

Now. Pelosi's arguments about impeachment deal with the here and now. Wary of handing Trump and Republicans an issue to campaign on, she has sought to downplay the idea in the context of the midterms. (Trump, of course, has seized on the idea of Democrats pushing for impeachment -- asking how he could possibly be impeached when he is doing such a good job.) Pelosi's stance on not talking about impeachment right now, her allies would argue, doesn't preclude her from embracing such a move post-election if circumstances change. In fact, Pelosi has nodded to the ongoing special counsel probe by Robert Mueller as something that needs to play out before the party even seriously engages with the idea of impeachment.

But for now the fact remains: Pelosi, who is widely seen as the next speaker of the House if Democrats can re-take the majority in 55 days' time, is not in the same place as the preponderance of the rank-and-file within her party on the impeachment question. It speaks, I think, to the broader disconnect between a base that wants to employ any means necessary to obstruct and remove Trump, and a party establishment -- even among avowed liberals like Pelosi -- that remains concerned over the potential political backlash to the move.

I've covered too many of Pelosi's successful leadership elections to predict that her dilemma on impeachment could lead to her defeat for the top job if Democrats take back the House. But it does speak to a larger divide within the party that will play out between now and 2020 as Democratic politicians try to find the right way to position themselves against Trump.

If the CNN poll is any indication, for the base, the more anti-Trump and pro-impeachment you are, the better.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300913

Reported Deaths: 5332
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41330845
Lake26364448
Allen17299290
Elkhart16665212
St. Joseph16319220
Hamilton12459164
Vanderburgh9428112
Tippecanoe826727
Porter791279
Johnson6139164
Hendricks5807154
Vigo574474
Monroe525247
Clark495374
Delaware4789103
Madison4760119
LaPorte446894
Kosciusko446139
Howard325575
Warrick316072
Floyd306177
Bartholomew303262
Wayne295261
Cass293431
Marshall289944
Grant258747
Noble246846
Hancock243749
Henry237136
Boone235154
Dubois230430
Dearborn208829
Jackson206033
Morgan200643
Knox178017
Gibson177022
Clinton174920
Shelby174554
Lawrence171646
DeKalb171229
Adams165219
Miami155114
Wabash153018
Daviess152243
Fayette145233
Steuben141113
Jasper138311
Harrison137624
LaGrange136629
Montgomery131226
Whitley129910
Ripley123714
Decatur123542
Huntington122310
Posey118913
Putnam118326
Wells118327
Randolph117819
White117421
Clay115621
Jefferson114214
Greene100253
Scott99818
Jay95012
Starke89221
Sullivan86615
Fulton81117
Perry80921
Jennings80514
Spencer8047
Fountain7378
Washington7176
Carroll66813
Franklin65925
Orange65728
Vermillion5832
Owen5816
Parke5416
Newton54012
Tipton53726
Rush5216
Blackford51211
Pike50218
Pulaski36810
Martin3485
Brown3263
Benton3251
Crawford2781
Union2621
Switzerland2473
Warren2352
Ohio2257
Unassigned0265

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 363304

Reported Deaths: 6020
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin49267665
Cuyahoga35214736
Hamilton29462371
Montgomery19636225
Butler14472144
Lucas14033409
Summit12962310
Stark8529197
Warren798975
Mahoning7068299
Lake662766
Lorain623697
Clermont563946
Delaware540335
Licking535875
Fairfield523763
Trumbull5159144
Greene510563
Clark501064
Allen460685
Marion457751
Wood4394107
Medina428654
Miami416465
Pickaway396448
Columbiana339597
Portage334471
Tuscarawas317557
Wayne314993
Richland306732
Mercer284737
Ross239259
Hancock232736
Muskingum231910
Auglaize223230
Putnam221449
Erie217165
Darke217058
Ashtabula215753
Geauga197351
Scioto193615
Union18658
Lawrence185436
Shelby184815
Athens18454
Seneca173118
Belmont158529
Madison156218
Sandusky152327
Preble148421
Huron147518
Defiance137921
Holmes137739
Logan123613
Knox122518
Fulton122025
Crawford119116
Ottawa118930
Washington116427
Clinton103414
Ashland102722
Williams10238
Jefferson10124
Highland99517
Henry98422
Brown9644
Champaign9345
Jackson90312
Van Wert8976
Fayette89217
Hardin86118
Morrow8552
Guernsey83313
Coshocton81413
Perry77012
Adams75012
Pike7261
Wyandot70516
Gallia70413
Paulding62710
Hocking61011
Noble59722
Carroll44310
Meigs37612
Monroe31021
Morgan2395
Vinton2105
Harrison1913
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 28°
Huntington
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 33°
Van Wert
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 33°
Snow/Rain Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events