Impeachment: why do it and how risky is it?
The Democrat-dominated US House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings against Trump for "incitement of insurrection." Ten out of 207 Republicans also voted for the move. The proceedings will now be handed over to the Senate, where Democrats need several Republican votes to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority.
Repudiation - for good
There is a lot at stake politically, Spotmedia explains:
“Impeachment is a tool that both parties can use to control Donald Trump. In the event that he is convicted and punished by the Senate, Trump will never again be allowed to hold public office. So he would be out of the next election. The Democrats' calculation is simple. They are counting on securing the support of at least 15 Republican senators. ... Soon, new information will come to light about the events in the Capitol and accusations and court cases against Donald Trump will multiply as everyone tries to distance themselves from a person who has been so harmful to democracy.”
Too much revenge could backfire
The Democrats must react in a measured and rational manner, The Times warns:
“Joe Biden himself has had relatively little to say about Donald Trump's offences, making it clear that his priority is the country's recovery from the pandemic. In that sense, as one observer said, he will be the anti-Trump president. That leaves Congress to deal immediately with the departing president. They will know that taking too much relish in revenge on the man whom Schwarzenegger described, rightly, as the worst president ever will only widen the divisions he leaves behind him - and make his successor's job harder than it already is.”
Few Republicans will break with Trump
For De Volkskrant there is no other alternative:
“A democracy that wants to defend its integrity has no other option than to prosecute this offence. If inciting a violent insurrection against the Capitol is not grounds for impeachment, what is? ... The Republicans are under pressure. How much longer will they let themselves be coerced and intimidated by Trump and his followers? How Republicans vote in this impeachment process is a first indicator of how prepared the party is to break with Trumpism and its undemocratic excesses. In view of the electoral significance of Trump's following and Republican opportunism in recent years, the chances of this happening should not be overrated.”