It happened. Before Speaker Pelosi could control every single Democrat, one, from a very safe Democrat district, stated that the Democrats should censure, not impeach Trump. This is the bind that Democrats are in. Pelosi tried to corral the psychopaths as she recognized the Mueller Investigation was to catch a process crime, straightjacket Trump, shift the midterms in the Ds’ favor and hide intel community malfeasance. Rep. Nadler wanted a show… he failed. Rep. Schiff wanted a show… he failed. The Democrats now have to press forward and get no payoff or stop the impeachment train and face an angry base.
Predictit is a thin market but even impeachment there has trailed off. The testimony ended up benefiting Trump by showing nerds upset over the president not doing what they wanted. The two sides are hardened and there is very little left to the middle but that middle shifted towards Trump. Ambassador Sondland was the best that Schiff got, and he gave each side things they could use. It still works out worse for the Democrats that all they got as a gift was Sondland’s opening statement.
Speaker Pelosi is horse-trading now. No Republican gave a sign they’d vote for impeachment, even retiring squishes like Will Hurd. There are 233 Democrats in the House. Dozens won their elections in ’18, a massive GOTV year for Democrats, by under 5%. Can Pelosi build 217 votes (I assume Justin Amash will vote yea)? How does Rep. Lamb in Pennsylvania vote? He won by a comfortable margin after a squeaker of a special election, and he has been radio silent on impeachment. How do all those recently elected swing district delegates vote?
Pelosi is not dumb. After the Scott Brown upset Senate election, Obama and Reid wanted to stop the Obamacare process. Pelosi pushed on and told them all to do it. She sacrificed a gigantic majority in the House to get Obamacare rammed through, and look at us now, health care will always be an issue and the Democrats now have a built in constituency that considers Obamacare their lifeblood (pathetic, yes, but true).
Setting up a censure vote is easy. Getting to impeachment is tough, but not impeaching is likely a worse outcome. A Senate trial does open up the possibility that facts previously kept to the right wing news ghetto will be aired, and the vote will put some pressure on Republican senators in tough races this year. Sending the vote to the Senate may be the end of Biden’s run but that just means the Democrats have to find a new way to screw over Bernie.
After all the leaks of secret testimony, after all the public testimony and after all the faux outrage and shock at broken norms, Americans can see this is political theater. This is QAnon for the left but backed by government procedures.