“We can not defeat the armies of Mordor.”
“No. We can not. But we’ll meet them in battle nonetheless.”
Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King.
Democratic Congress needs to start impeachment proceedings even if they think the impeachment will die in the Senate. Yes, it probably will. But that’s not the point of the proceedings. The point is the process, not the outcome. The process will demonstrate to the public that there are still some public institutions that are functioning as they were intended to.
Democrats are very good at stroking their chin and weighing pros and cons in different complex situations that, instead of arriving at a concrete course of action, they twist themselves into an eventual paralysis. Already now, some leftist intellectuals are calling on Democrats to avoid going through with impeachment, arguing that it will turn the public against them. But where is the evidence that it will? A more popular Democratic president was impeached for a far lesser crime, but the opposition party still won the next election 2 years later. There’s no evidence of the possible damage to the brand as the Democrats brand has been damaged already from an opposite end: not that they’re too aggressive, but that they’re too timid. No, this situation opens an avenue for Democrats to flex some muscle. There’s a real public hunger out there for a more muscular opposition party. If Democrats show that they have a willingness to fight, it may sway some swing voters or disaffected voters back into Democratic fold. It will show the public that here’s another party, and it’s willing to fight for the rule of law.
Further, the process will keep Trump’s treachery in the spotlight. Like in 1998, it will force the low-information voters to pay attention to Trump’s conduct in office. No, he did not collude with Russians, but he welcomed their help. He obliged their entreaties with a shrug and a wink. A man like Trump can sit behind his desk and commit no crime, while knowingly allowing private entities and foreign agents to do the job for him. No court would convict him, even when it is clear to anyone who cares to look that he’s a traitor to the republic. For this reason impeachment was not supposed to be an instrument of a criminal justice system; no proof beyond the reasonable doubt is required. It was designed to be a political process. This is the reason why founding fathers placed the impeachment powers within the Congress and not within the Supreme Court.
And finally, Pelosi is a shrewd and seasoned politician. She will have credibility on the issue as she repeatedly spoke against impeachment. Now she can come out, with a grave posture and concerned look, and declare in an urgent tone: “I don’t want to do this but it must be done”.