They couldn’t take it any longer. Rather than just let him bumble, shout and tweet his way to a humiliating electoral defeat, they are going to try to impeach him.
This is despite the fact that poll after poll has shown the majority of Americans do not want to go down this road, and that the sensible yet ruthless Nancy Pelosi, who effectively leads the Democratic Party, has said she wants to avoid impeachment because she is (rightly) worried about defying America on this issue.
She has constantly said she will only support impeachment in the case of “high crimes and misdemeanours”, as mentioned in the Constitution. Perhaps only partly because it is a lovely phrase. It really sounds great. Those old slave-owning guys in wigs could really write
Anyway, she knows that unless President Donald Trump has done something seriously bad that people can understand, it will just look like Republicans and Democrats are once again using arcane laws and rules to tear each other to pieces. Former president Richard Nixon ordered a burglary of the Democratic Party’s national committee offices in the Watergate building.
This is something people can understand. Crossing over an ethical line on a phone call to Ukraine’s president is unlikely to elicit the same level of universal outrage, no matter how well deserved that outrage might be.
Furthermore, thanks to the cannibalistic nature of current politics, no matter what Trump has done, his supporters will defend him.
The Democrats will need about 19 Republican senators to vote to impeach him.
To keep their plush offices and their lovely jobs as senators, these people (okay, most of them are men) need to win primary elections among Republican Party members.
These people love Trump. A lot. They love him more than they love guns and type 2 diabetes.
During his latest travails, according to a recent poll by The Hill, his support among them did drop 2%.
That’s right. 83%.
One of lowest measures of his support — about 75% — is from the Rasmussen Group, which services a variety of heavy construction companies. In a Monmouth University survey he achieved numbers of about 84%.
So the Democrats will need to convince Republican senators to risk not being senators to impeach Trump.
And as we know, the only thing on Earth that politicians care about is staying in power.
Service delivery, roads, education and healthcare to prevent poor children dying in the street come a very distant second to this. In fact I’m not sure that they even come second. Flying in private planes probably comes second. And something to do with prostitutes probably comes third.
So the idea that Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump is a dangerous and deluded pipe dream. They would struggle to do so if he were photographed by 10 different official photographers stabbing a nun to death, and then signing a full confession.
The fact that some Democrats imagine that Republican senators will vote to impeach the president over something he said on the phone about the son of Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden is fascinating. Because it is so clearly something that will never happen.
Are they so blinded by outrage that they imagine everyone sees the world the way they do? Are they high on recently legalised marijuana? It’s an intriguing question. That may involve urine tests.
Because the only thing that the drive to impeachment can achieve (unless a truly dramatic fact that nobody on Earth is yet privy to emerges) is to energise Trump’s base, super-charge his fund raising, and divide the United States even further — which did not, until now, seem possible.
John Davenport is the chief creative officer at Havas advertising agency. These are his own views