Port: Does impeachment really matter?

Suffice it to say that Democrats started with a desire for impeachment and went in search of a justification.

Thousands fill the Target Center in Minneapolis Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, to hear President Donald Trump in a campaign rally. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

MINOT, N.D. — We are on the cusp of the House of Representatives taking a historic vote on articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump.

Does it even matter?

Democrats have been cavalier, throwing around the word "impeachment" almost since the day Trump was inaugurated.

They wanted to sack the President for allegedly violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

After that failed to gain steam, Democrats seized on what some of them alleged was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Once that fizzled, they turned to President Trump's dealings with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he allegedly tried to used foreign aid as leverage to get an investigation into the dealings of Hunter Biden, son to 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.

Suffice it to say that Democrats started with a desire for impeachment and went in search of a justification.

Indeed when Rep. Rashida "impeach the motherf***er" Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, introduced one of the several impeachment resolutions brought before the House this year — House Resolution 257 , specifically — it provided no specific reason for impeachment.

I guess she didn't think she needed one.

We've had years of public debate and months of committee testimony on impeachment, yet the public is unmoved.

At the end of March, the month when resolutions of impeachment were first introduced in the House, the Real Clear Politics polling average for Trump's approval sat at 52.3% disapproval and 43.4% approval.

As I write this, those numbers sit at 52.8% and 44.0%, respectively. Essentially unchanged.

How can this be?


This is the politics of personality at play.

In 2019, political movements don't organize themselves around ideas. Political parties like the Democrats and the Republicans used to represent principles (imperfectly, I'll admit). A platform of policies built around a unifying philosophy for how we ought to govern.

Today politics isn't about advancing ideas. It's about getting our team's personality elected.

Republicans, specifically, used to at least pay lip service to tenets of fiscal conservatism. Today they're not even pretending because Trump doesn't care.

The soaring national debt has become an "orphan issue" says former Republican Governor, one-time presidential hopeful, and current Purdue University president Mitch Daniels.

“Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore," right-wing icon Rush Limbaugh said earlier this year . "All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it's been around."

For many Republicans, being conservative today means supporting whatever President Trump wants to do in a given moment, principles be damned.

Snicker if you like, Democrats, but your party was the same with Barack Obama, and his leadership gutted your party . Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate declined more than 10% during his tenure. It was almost 20% in the U.S. House, another roughly 20% in state legislatures, and over 35% among the governorships.


The sound and fury of the impeachment process has been a waste. Worse, a distraction from the very real problems facing the republic.

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Rob Port, founder of, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.

Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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