Even so, censure strategy makes no sense. For censure to be of any importance, Democrats would have to convince their base that it is something more than a partisan wrist-slap to a president they have already criticized for everything, including retweeting wrestling GIFs and having opinions about pro football. But the harder they try to sell it as something comparable in significance to impeachment in, say, 30-second television spots (“Following formal impeachment proceedings before the House Intelligence Committee, he was censured for his conduct involving the president of Ukraine”), the more likely they are to invite all the bad things associated with the “i” word itself. If they go the other way and insist that it is nothing so bad as all that, voters — including the ones who do want to see Trump impeached — will ignore it, and rightly so.
There is a reason that Nancy Pelosi was reluctant to allow her party to go down this road in the first place. The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary are next month. The election itself is less than a year away. Their front-runner is a geriatric who cannot speak for more than 30 seconds at a time without producing a Buzzfeed ranking of his 10 favorite segregationist colleagues or theorizing about when it is is appropriate for men to hit women; behind him are two avowed socialists and the mayor of a small college town in Indiana. The party should devote its time and resources to deciding which of these four people has the best chance of beating Trump when it matters, not on entertaining lunatic theories from conservative op-ed writers.