Democrats have been pledging to impeach President Trump from the moment he was elected in 2016. And on Dec.18, 2019, more than three years later, they finally succeeded.
But it will be a fleeting victory, as acquittal in the Senate is assured. The outcome was never in doubt and this entire endeavor has been an enormous waste of time.
Which raises the question: Why pursue a partisan impeachment that was doomed to fail?
Answer: Removal from office was never the goal.
Democrats have always had only one goal in mind: Defeating Mr. Trump for reelection. Their entire mission is to weaken the president’s political standing next year.
Doubt me? Then consider this: A sitting president has never been impeached in his first term.
While the case for impeachment has never developed, Democrats held hands and jumped off the cliff together, taking vulnerable members from Trump districts with them. Their votes to impeach him will make it impossible to run as independent, bipartisan members of Congress next year.
For Mr. Trump, while impeachment has surely been unpleasant and must feel deeply unfair, it has helped him politically. Republicans have never been more unified than they are right now. Democrats are somewhat divided, with vulnerable members not wanting to pursue impeachment but ultimately voting for it from fear of their base.
The Trump campaign has seen an astounding 600,000 new donors since impeachment began. There is new enthusiasm for Mr. Trump because of this impeachment debacle. Public polling has shown a decrease in support for impeachment and an uptick in the president’s job-approval rating.
As 2019 ends and the 2020 election year begins, Mr. Trump should put impeachment behind him and refocus on reelection, keeping one thing in mind: Success is the best revenge.
Voters have the final say on impeachment, and they will either ratify it by not reelecting Mr. Trump or invalidate it by reelecting him.
Demonstrating popular support for his agenda and an endorsement of the direction of the country will undermine the meaning of impeachment.
At the same time, Congressional Republicans should make Democrats own impeachment and hold them accountable for ignoring the problems facing the country in pursuit of a hyperpartisan goal.
The cost of impeachment is not insignificant.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, needlessly delayed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement for more than a year as a bargaining chip with moderate Democratic members in return for supporting impeachment. No meaningful legislative progress has been made toward an infrastructure bill or other key legislative priorities. And next year will be worse, as legislation dies in election years.
What do Democrats have to show for their majority?
Their two years in control will be dominated by impeachment, which made no one’s life better and was not even a promise they made to the electorate in 2018.
Impeachment was an overreach, much like Obamacare was in 2009, and Mrs. Pelosi has pushed both through Congress. In 2010, she lost her majority. The question now is whether that can happen again in 2020?
In history, this impeachment chapter will appear small and meaningless.
There was no crime, no victim and the Ukrainians said they weren’t pressured. Democrats claimed bribery and extortion, but never came close to proving it and chose not to pursue articles of impeachment of these accusations.
Democratic crocodile tears over Ukraine are absurd. They made no defense of Ukraine when the Obama administration refused to provide defensive weaponry to Ukraine after Russia seized Crimea.
Mr. Trump cannot formally erase the House impeachment vote, but he can erase its significance.
Earning reelection in 2020 will permanently state public opposition to impeachment.
Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.