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Will Impeachment Backfire? Here's What History Suggests.

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tags: elections, politics, impeachment, Nixon, Trump



Citing their experience in the 1990s, Republicans warned Democrats this week that an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine would backfire politically.

History, however, doesn’t back up that assertion.

Only three U.S. presidents have ever faced a serious threat of removal by Congress – Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton -- and in each case the party that initiated the inquiry ended up benefiting in the next election.

“The idea that Democrats are going to have a political loss from this – maybe they will,” said Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation. “But the Nixon impeachment doesn’t show that. It shows an amazing victory.”

In setting in motion the impeachment inquiry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi runs the risk of voter backlash in 2020, especially for Democrats who wrested seats from Republicans last November.

Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” said that Republicans who impeached but failed to convict Johnson after the Civil War “didn’t suffer politically,” as they maintained control of Congress and their party’s candidate, Ulysses Grant, won the White House in the 1868 elections.

The same was true for the impeachment inquiry that led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974, as Democrats substantially increased their majority in Congress and won back the White House two years later.

Read entire article at Bloomberg News

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