It looks almost certain now that Obama is going to proceed with amnesty by executive order. Such an overreach of executive power would clearly result in calls for impeachment – as it should. Which is exactly what Obama and the Democrats want. The President is unpopular and there’s a very good chance they’re going to lose the United States Senate. Why? Turnout. Without Obama on the ballot, Democratic voters are much less likely to go to the polls.
Their various attempts to whip their voters into an emotional frenzy have failed. Gun control, raising the minimum wage, yammering on endlessly about birth control … they’ve made some headway, but their voters are still disturbingly unenthusiastic about voting in November. This time, though, it appears they’ve found their silver bullet: getting the President impeached. Democratic voters will turn out strongly if they feel the President is in danger of getting booted from office. It’s the same reason African Americans astonished GOP strategists with massive turnout in 2012: preventing Obama from being a one-term president was a huge motivating factor. By provoking Republicans into impeaching Obama, Democrats are effectively putting Obama at the top of the ticket once again.
How should Thom Tillis respond, when asked the inevitable impeachment question? Like this: “Impeachment would be pointless. Even if Congress impeached the President, there’s not nearly enough votes to remove him from office. The only way we can hold Obama accountable is by giving Republicans huge majorities in both chambers of Congress.” To which Obama and Kay Hagan will respond: “We know what they are up to. They say they don’t want impeachment, but just wait until after the election. Instead of talking about impeachment all the time, like we are, let’s talk about real issues that matter, like jobs and the economy and helping middle class families.”
You can see the trap for Republicans. For Democrats, an executive order from Obama legalizing millions of illegal aliens is a twofer: in the short-term, it provokes the GOP base into demanding impeachment for Obama, which will alarm the Democratic base and lead to a spike in turnout – which for the country, is political suicide. And the long-term benefits are obvious. That’s why an executive order from Obama, probably shortly after Labor Day, appears so certain. It’s a win-win situation.
Or is it? There’s the chance that the President’s plan could backfire. Americans won’t react positively if they see impeachment as a partisan witch hunt. But what if they come to see it as many GOP voters do – the only way to reign in a President who no longer thinks the rule of law applies to him? And any attempt at amnesty would certainly get conservatives even more fired up than they are now, if that’s possible. If that’s the case, then some Democratic incumbents could find themselves in for a rude surprise come November. Especially those who have been hoping that state issues, not national issues, are paramount in this election, and especially those who have stood with Obama 95% of the time.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.