Impeachment is a sinking ship

Democrats should focus on getting crucial legislation through Congress and on nominating a 2020 presidential opponent who can take Trump out at the polls.

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President Donald Trump speaks in late May in support of farmers and ranchers hurt by the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Farmers hurt by Trump’s tariffs will get additional $16 billion bailout to those most affected. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Impeachment scares me to death.

More and more elected officials are jumping on the impeachment boat —from California to New York City to Chicago.At least 60 members of Congress have called for an impeachment inquiry, according to a count by The New York Times.

Not yet a critical mass, but a terrifying trend.

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Opinion

Impeachment may offer a short-term gain, but it promises long-term pain:four more years of President Donald Trump.

An impeachment drive by U.S. House Democrats would cheer Trump haters everywhere.It would humiliate and infuriate the man himself.That would be a beautiful thing to watch.But impeachment also would burn through the Democrats’ political energy and distract vital attention from the 2020 presidential campaign.

It would make Trump a victim and solidify his base. It would also alienate centrist Republican and independent voters who would abhor the partisan circus of an impeachment drive.

The “Impeach!” crowd keeps forgetting that winning impeachment in the U.S. House will not remove Trump from the White House.After that, the U.S. Senate must vote to remove Trump from office.There is no chance the lily-livered, Republican-controlled Senate will go there.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows that.That’s why she is furiously trying to keep her Democratic caucus off that political ship.

Last week at a closed-door meeting, Pelosi heard from fellow congressional honchos who are calling for impeachment hearings.

U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler pushed Pelosi to OK an impeachment investigation.Pelosi “stood firm, reiterating that she isn’t open to the idea of impeaching Trump at this time,” Politico reported.

According to several sources, Pelosi responded, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.”

Democrats should focus on getting crucial legislation through Congress and on nominating a presidential opponent who can take Trump out at the polls.

Then convict him for his alleged crimes after he leaves the White House.

Yet the turbulent waters are rising.

Right here at home, four Chicago congressmen are on board.

U.S. Rep Mike Quigley dispatched a fundraising email last weekend.Its subject line read: “Impeach.”

“It’s never been a question for me whether President Trump was fit for office — he is not,” the North Side congressman said.“It has never been a question of whether he has abused his powers — he has. Whether he obstructed — he certainly has, and I believe he and his cohorts conspired with the Russians.”

Now, he says, “It’s time.”

Why?

“The president’s unacceptable obstruction and his abuses of power have left Congress only one option to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities:We must open an impeachment inquiry,” Quigley tweeted.

He joins three other Chicago representatives — Danny K. Davis, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Bobby Rush — in supporting the proceedings.

They are outraged by Trump’s lies, cover-ups and misconduct and are ready to declare, “full steam ahead.”

But many voters are not there yet.

A national poll conducted in late May byHill.TV and the HarrisX research firmfound 35% of registered voters supported impeachment proceedings against Trump, compared with 45% who did not.Another20% said they were unsure or didn’t know. That’s down from a similar survey taken in November, when 40% of registered voters favored impeachment.

The voters have it right.

Impeachment is a sinking ship.

Send letters toletters@suntimes.com

Laura Washington is a columnist for the Sun-Times and a political analyst for ABC 7-Chicago. Reach her on Twitter @MediaDervish

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