With support for impeachment having hit a plateau, some are beginning to wonder if Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) played herself.
But for those doubting her skills in political judo, one conservative writer has a theory: Pelosi wants to hog up the time of radical Senate Democrats running for president, clearing the way for an establishment Democrat to take the nomination, writes GOP consultant and Trump 2020 advisory board member Harlan Hill.
Pelosi the kingmaker?
Long respected even by her foes for her shrewd political tactics, Pelosi’s decision to impeach Trump this September took many by surprise. Why had Pelosi, after resisting calls from the radical left to impeach Trump, suddenly caved?
Now, after weeks of investigation and dramatic “hearings,” support for impeachment has reached an apparent ceiling. The immediate, obvious takeaway is that impeachment will lead to Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, vindicate Trump, and help him win re-election in 2020.
But according to Hill, Pelosi may be thinking along another track: by impeaching Trump, progressive senators like Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Bernie Sanders (VT) will stay occupied with a drawn-out Senate trial right as primary seasons kicks in. In other words, Pelosi’s “blunder” is a veiled kingmaker move.
The theory assumes that Sanders and Warren are unelectable — or, at least, worse choices than the current frontrunner, Joe Biden, which is by no means certain. But it’s something to think about.
Moreover, Hill notes in his piece for RealClearPolitics, it’s no secret that Pelosi is an establishment Dem who would prefer a liberal Democrat over a fire-breathing socialist. Hill notes the curious timing: as Democrats move towards finally impeaching Trump, billionaire centrists like Mike Bloomberg have jumped in the race.
Kingmaker or fool?
It’s probably true that Pelosi would prefer a liberal over a hard-lefty, but then again, she’s not much of an ideologue. It wouldn’t be very Pelosi-an of her to factor personal preferences factor into finding a candidate to defeat Trump.
Certainly, Pelosi always knew that Trump’s removal from office was unlikely, and there was always going to be some pressure on her to impeach Trump anyway. One could say Pelosi blundered, but she might just be a victim of circumstance.
Another theory is that Pelosi does not want to drag things out, but rather, just the opposite: the longer this takes, the sooner voters lose interest. If her goal is not removing Trump from office, then it doesn’t much matter if Democrats get bogged down — except that she’s setting up Trump for a victory lap in the Senate when Republicans likely acquit him.
At any rate, one could hardly describe the impeachment process as a slow-moving one, and Pelosi reportedly urged members of her caucus Wednesday to prepare to cross the Rubicon — that is, assuming it hasn’t been crossed.
Is Pelosi really thinking this many steps ahead, or is she just doing what she was always expected to do? Either way, it’s not obvious that she’s doing her party many favors.