Kevin McCarthy: Joe Biden should pledge not to campaign while his rivals are stuck in D.C. for the impeachment trial

Gotta respect his commitment to this mischievous troll. He made the same point last night on Hannity’s show, feeding the longstanding grievances of progressives by reminding them how unfair the DNC was to Bernie Sanders in 2016. Surely, surely, the Democratic establishment should make amends this year by having the frontrunner leave the trail so long as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren are shanghaied in Washington for impeachment.

He went further this morning, as you’ll see in the first two minutes of the clip below, by claiming that Pelosi’s “impeach and withhold” strategy can only have been a secret establishment plot to damage Sanders. The point wasn’t to pressure Mitch McConnell into calling new witnesses at Trump’s trial; Pelosi had no leverage to make that happen and everyone knew it. The point was simply to delay the trial so that Bernie would be forced to stop campaigning before Iowa and New Hampshire. She’s sabotaging the progressive to benefit the squishy DINO, Grandpa Joe!

Conveniently, McCarthy is offering this critique in front of the cameras on the morning of a Democratic debate, no doubt hoping that the moderators tonight will seize it and put Biden on the spot by asking if he has any intention of suspending his campaign while the trial is happening. (Sneak preview: No.) I’m guessing Trump will either tweet about it or say something similar to reporters this afternoon in hopes of amplifying the point. McCarthy can be ignored, the president cannot.

He might as well have had a neon “STAY HOME IN NOVEMBER, LEFTIES” sign blinking next to him here for all the subtlety that’s involved in this strategy. But although McCarthy’s not going to persuade any Democrats, I don’t think he needs to. If Biden ends up eking out wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is entirely possible, progressives will draw their own conclusions about who should be scapegoated for the great socialist failure. The main scapegoat will be Elizabeth Warren, who’ll be blamed for everything from dividing the left-wing vote by running in the first place to kneecapping Sanders with her last-minute “sexism” hit on him. But Pelosi will be scapegoated too for precisely the reason McCarthy suggests, pulling Bernie (and Warren) off the campaign trail during crunch time before Iowa. Did she hold the articles of impeachment because she wanted to give Biden a leg up in the final few weeks before the big vote?

Probably not, no. But there’s a 0.0 chance that the DSA crowd will attribute any blame to Bernie for falling short. They’re convinced America is ready for socialism and he’s the purest expression of it in America’s political establishment. He can’t fail, he can only be failed. Necessarily, the Democratic establishment will take the fall for having failed him and the timing of Pelosi’s “impeach and withhold” gambit will end up operating as a gift-wrapped excuse.

The most goofy thing about this idea is that Bernie et al. aren’t going to stop campaigning during the trial. They’re going to stop campaigning in person due to the logistical constraints of having to attend the trial but they’ll try to compensate by loading up with TV interviews, Skyping in to “virtual” town halls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and jetting off to those states for some hectic one-day barnstorming every Sunday while the trial is in recess. What’s Biden supposed to do with that? Agree to only appear on television during the trial? Only to campaign on Sunday? Sanders and Warren will be fine.