Well, that didn’t work, so I will move on to the subject of impeachment. In the past seventy –two hours I have read and listened to endless discussions of the question, many from people I respect. I am sure this is true of all of you as well. I am going to offer my opinion, painfully aware that it rests on predictions and factual estimates of which I am not at all confident.
In brief, here is what I think the Democratic majority in the House should do:
1. Launch detailed hearings in several different committees, supported by subpoenas and, if necessary, by legal proceedings to obtain as much precise, detailed evidence and sworn testimony as possible. It would be well if these proceedings extend well into the fall.
2. Meanwhile, continue drafting, holding hearings on, and passing legislation dealing with health insurance, drug prices, infrastructure, student loans, voter suppression, equal rights, minimum wage, and so on, clearly acknowledging that the Senate will not even take these bills up but presenting them as a promissory note to the American people, to be redeemed when the Democrats take back the Senate and the Presidency.
3. Some time in the fall, complete its investigations and vote to censure the President, an action I believe never before taken by either chamber.
4. Then, in late fall, launch full scale impeachment proceedings, leading early in 2020 to a vote to return a bill of impeachment against the president. Speaker Pelosi should deliver a speech on the occasion of the vote openly acknowledging that the Senate Republicans will not vote to remove the President from office and indeed may not even take the question up for deliberation.
Then, the Democrats should run on a robust platform of specific legislative proposals based on the bills already passed in the House, and call on their base to turn out in record numbers in order to complete the removal of Trump that the Republicans were too craven to carry out.
All of this is based on three assumptions: first, that the election will be decided by turnout; second, that our base is bigger than their base; and third, that we can motivate our base sufficiently to win. I am reasonably sure of the first assumption, quite sure of the second assumption, and not entirely confident about the third assumption. But I think what I have proposed gives us our best chance.