On Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along mainly partisan lines to impeach sitting U.S. President Donald Trump. After months of televised drama, key testimonies and endless coverage in the international media, this conclusion came as little surprise to anyone with access to a mobile phone or an interest in U.S. politics. What comes next here seems equally predictable; although of course very little about the Trump political era can be forecast with any certainty.
As embarrassing and symbolically damaging as the impeachment process has been for Trump, it remains absolutely clear that the Democrats simply don't have the necessary votes in the U.S. Senate – the upper house of the legislative branch of government – needed to successfully impeach Trump. Barring any major unforeseen events that could sway Republican political opinion, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to marshal the votes from their among their Republican colleagues to successfully impeach the president. Key Republican opinion-makers have already made it clear that they would welcome a quick impeachment vote in the Senate, on the totally reasonable ground that their majority assures the process will meet a fast and (for them) comparatively painless death in the upper house. So game over for the Democrats, who will have wasted their energies on a plan that was risky to begin with when considering that the presidential election is looming in November and American voters remain bitterly divided.
This explains why some Democrat strategists, worried about misplaying the impeachment card, are advising their party leaders to delay sending the impeachment vote to the Senate, looking to wear down the White House by using a "death by 1,000 small and sustained cuts" tactic and hoping to pick off some Republican lawmakers who might somehow be convinced to break with the president and vote to impeach. Some pundits have joked that Trump might even simply "get bored" or quit his job if things get too intense; again, in the age of Trump, no option can ever really be ruled out.
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