Unsurprisingly, President Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial by the United States’ Senate on Wednesday. However, the big story may not be about Trump himself, but the political miscalculation that could destroy the Democratic Party’s reputation and aid Trump’s re-election efforts.
Trump was acquitted by 52 votes to 48 on charges of abuse of power and 53 to 47 on obstruction of Congress.
For Trump to be found guilty in his impeachment trial by a two-thirds majority in a Republican controlled Senate was always a long-shot. And now, as many predicted, Trump appears to be emboldened by the result of the Senate trial.
“President Trump has been totally vindicated and it’s now time to get back to the business of the American people,” the Trump re-election campaign said in a statement, according to the BBC. “The do-nothing Democrats know they can’t beat him, so they had to impeach him.
“This impeachment hoax will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history.”
Trump’s approval rating was reported by Gallup to have reached a personal best of 49%. Mitt Romney (Utah) was the only Republican senator to have crossed party lines and voted against Trump, while moderates, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) did not vote with Romney, as Democrats hoped they would have.
Meanwhile, Democratic senators that voted with Republicans include Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Doug Jones (Alabama).
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said that Trump is “an ongoing threat to American democracy” and that Republican senators have “normalised lawlessness”, while Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer regarded that there will always be “a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal.”
“No doubt, the president will boast he received total exoneration,” he told BBC. “But we know better.”
However, this matter is far from settled with the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic chairperson, Jerry Nadler, hinting that the House will subpoena former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who claims that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. The Senate opted not to bring Bolton in to testify on the claims made in an unpublished manuscript for his memoir. It is still possible that the impeachment process can restart should new evidence come to light.
Trump’s acquittal comes days after the horror show that has been Monday’s Iowa caucus, where there have been massive issues over the results with “inconsistencies” and has hurt the Democratic Party’s reputation. Combine this with Nancy Pelosi’s decision to rip up Trump’s State of the Union speech (which now looks somewhat petty), as well as Trump’s acquittal, and the Democratic Party looks in shambles; a party lacking direction and making short-sighted decisions.
This is likely to hurt the Democratic nominee’s chances of winning the Presidential race, with the vote taking place on 3 November.
With 59% of Millennials being registered Democrats and Americans under the age of 30 voting for Democrats by a 35-point margin in 2018, the recent failures, especially with regards to principles of protecting democracy, is threatening the party’s current hegemony over young voters – who will likely play a decisive role in the general election. The Iowa debacle could appear to be an assault on free and fair elections, while Trump’s acquittal may reinforce doubts over the party’s respect for foundational principles of democracy.
The Democratic Party needs to start making smarter decisions, should seriously consider any potential decision to reopen articles of impeachment and should rather focus on ensuring that their primaries are smoothly run and votes tallied in time.