While the Senate ultimately acquitted Trump, with Sen. Mitt Romney being the lone Republican dissenter, the event was historic and Trump joined a short list of three US presidents who have been impeached (the others being Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton).
Glossing over Trump’s impeachment in the run up to the election is a mistake. The inquiry brought to light key issues that remain at the heart of the warnings Democrats are now making to voters about President Trump.
Republicans managed to cast the impeachment proceedings as a politically-motivated witch hunt, and Democrats are rightfully terrified of triggering another backlash by harping on about it. But it’s important to remember that impeachment — a Constitutionally mandated mechanism to check the President — was necessary and legitimate.
Democrats are trying to build a case for voters that centers around their respect for democracy and their willingness to protect our institutions from irreparable damage. If the party wants to show that it can deliver on this promise, it shouldn’t overlook one of the most historic moments of the past year. Democrats took a major political risk then to do what was right and took a principled stand in voting to impeach. Even though the President survived the Senate trial, the process produced an extraordinarily damning record.
Democrats don’t need to focus on the impeachment for the next three months, but they should remind voters of what they uncovered last fall and reiterate what they did to check the President. Doing this will only reinforce Biden’s campaign message that Trump must be stopped for the sake of our democracy.
Before President Trump uses the impeachment as evidence of how radical the Democrats have become, the party should ensure that voters remember exactly why the President poses such a grave threat to the health of our republic.