Democrats have failed to truly shift public opinion and build a national consensus that Trump deserves to be impeached and removed from office. After two weeks of public testimony and depositions, Democrats were unable to persuade Representative Will Hurd of Texas, a moderate Republican that many Democrats had hoped would cross party lines and come out in favor of impeachment. At the hearing, he said he had “not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.”
Indeed, the impending articles of impeachment will certainly be voted on along party lines, thus making it impossible for Democrats to achieve the majority required for conviction in the Senate. Once this process comes to a close, Democrats will essentially be handing Trump an exoneration, adding fuel to his claim that Democrats are solely focused on their smear campaign against him instead of trying to work with him.
In the coming weeks, it will be crucial for Democrats to consider the political implications that this inquiry will have on the election next year. When the first votes are cast, it will be issues like health care, economic equality, climate change, and gun control that drive people to the ballot box. If Democrats are going to be successful in 2020, they will have to pivot from impeachment and focus on the core issues that everyday Americans are concerned with or risk another four years of Trump.