Several Democrats have observed that a long, sometimes muddy debate over Trump’s alleged high crimes and misdemeanors might not be the best use of airtime to win back the White House next year. Better to get this business over with before the summer conventions—and then get back to attacking Trump for his positions on health care, education, and other issues where the Democrats’ views are more popular.
On the other hand, the limited impeachment might also make Democrats appear weak—and the Republicans emerge more triumphant—by presenting a less-than-full-throated pair of indictments and yet still failing to oust Trump from office.
In a way, Trump has placed the Democrats in a trap. On the one hand (this was Pelosi’s position until recently), impeachment might be a distraction from the election and so might hurt Democratic candidates. On the other hand, Trump’s actions, especially after the Ukraine scandal, have been so abusive and obstructive that anyone devoted to the rule of law would have to go down this road. If Trump’s actions aren’t impeachable offenses, we might as well scratch out the impeachment clauses of the Constitution.