On Tuesday, Fox News was reporting that Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence now sees no value in impeachment. Lawrence, a Democrat, said she felt that her colleagues should put their support behind the symbolic gesture of censure. Previously, Lawrence had supported the impeachment inquiry and measures.
This is a significant change for Democrats as they face mounting public scrutiny of the impeachment process. While polls initially showed support for impeachment, recent polls indicate that American’s are losing faith in the process. Democrats had attempted to capitalize on the public support, but now are left scrambling.
This rep is not the only person to support censure of the President. A Democratic strategist also called for Democrats to abandon the impeachment inquiry and move to censure the President. Democrats, such as Adam Schiff, believed they had support for impeachment and that the inquiry would prove to be a slam dunk. Yet, the lack of evidence has hurt their case.
So exactly what is censure and how does that work? Censure, according to the House website, “registers the House’s deep disapproval of Member misconduct that, nevertheless, does not meet the threshold for expulsion.” In other words, it’s a verbal warning to the President that his conduct was not appropriate. The Constitution grants this power to the House of Representatives along with several other measures.
Since it’s inception, only twenty-three people have faced censure from the House. The most recent was in 2010 in the case of Charles Rangel. You would have to travel back nearly 30 years before that to find the previous case. While several censure resolutions have been presented, a President has never been censured by the House of Representatives. The Senate has censured a President on multiple occasions, however.
Additional questions come to mind as I think about the Democrats’ dilemma. I have no doubt that failing to vote on an impeachment resolution will be viewed as a failure of Democratic leadership. Yet, voting on the resolution knowing it will be completely partisan and ineffective is also failure. As support fades, Democrats best option is to move forward censuring the President.
This will set a historical precedent. It will also provide President Trump amazing talking points heading into the 2020 debates and election. The Democrats failed to produce solid evidence on both the Mueller investigation as well as this impeachment inquiry. Without evidence, Americans are simply not buying it.
I predict that Democrats will hold their hearing in the judiciary committee on the impeachment inquiry, as is scheduled according to the Associated Press release today. The House will only proceed with impeachment if they can convince all of their party to vote in support. They simply cannot afford the image of those voting to open the inquiry and then voting against impeachment. As Democrats in battle states drop out, Democrats will continue their move toward censuring the President. This is a huge victory for President Trump and his reelection in 2020.
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