It appears that some Democrats have come to terms with the inevitability that another impeachment circus won’t work out in their favor. Several left-leaning lawmakers are trying to convince their colleagues to vote for censuring former President Donald Trump instead of attempting to convict him during impeachment proceedings. It appears they are willing to settle for Diet Impeachment™ rather than the real thing.
The Hill noted, “members of the upper chamber are pitching their colleagues on the idea as it becomes increasingly clear that Trump’s impeachment trial will hand him a second acquittal after 45 GOP senators backed an effort this week to declare it unconstitutional because the former president is no longer in office.”
However, it doesn’t seem likely that Impeachment Lite™ would work either. The Hill also acknowledged that “few GOP senators” are “openly interested” in such a move.
“It seems to me that there is some value in looking at an alternative to proceeding with the trial. …I realize the two leaders have already locked in a schedule. But it seems to me there is benefit in looking at an alternative that might be able to garner bipartisan support. I don’t know whether it would or not,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told The Hill.
Unlike impeachment, a censure resolution would require only 60 votes to pass in the Senate, which has only censured one president: Andrew Jackson. However, it reversed its decision three years later.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who is working with Sen. Collins on the resolution, indicated that a censure resolution would be easier to pass than an impeachment conviction.
“I have been talking with a handful of my colleagues, a handful, not forty,” he said. “I think the Paul motion yesterday was completely clarifying that we’re not going to get near 67 votes. So I think there’s maybe a little more interest in could this be an alternative.”
“To do a trial knowing you’ll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time right now,” Kaine added.
On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul lodged an objection to holding an impeachment trial, utterly destroying Democratic lawmakers during his speech and arguing that voting to convict a president after he has left office is unconstitutional. When his objection was put to a vote, 45 senators supported Paul’s position, demonstrating that it is all but certain that the effort to remove Trump after he is out of office is dead on arrival.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) admitted that when if the Democrats fail to convict Trump, they will consider a censure resolution.
“We’re going to talk about it,” Durbin said. “I hope enough Republicans join us to impeach this president. If they don’t, perhaps we’ll consider some alternatives.”
“I thought the censure was definitely the way to go back on Ukraine. …This is much, much more serious than anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetime and it’s really the purpose of having articles of impeachment in the constitution,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said.
Despite the certainty that impeachment will fall flat, Democratic lawmakers are polishing off their lances to tilt at the proverbial windmill in February. But, like Quixote, Democratic members of Congress are going to look like utter fools when the Senate votes to acquit Trump.
Moreover, it also does not seem that a censure resolution would fare better. The bottom line is that Democrats will not be able to talk enough Republican senators into voting in favor of either action. Such a vote could easily be career suicide. Any GOP lawmaker voting to impeach or censure Trump can kiss their political future goodbye. Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) situation illustrates this reality. (See: Liz Cheney’s Inevitable End Gives A Glimpse Into The Future Of The Republican Party)
As I argued previously, I support the Democrats pushing for another impeachment farce because it will backfire on them in a serious way. They will cause tremendous political damage to themselves if they pursue this course of action – and it appears that if they push for a censure resolution after impeachment fails, they will make things even worse for themselves. But, as I am fond of saying: These people can’t help themselves.