Impeachment Groundhog Day


It was a bitter morning in February 2021, with a blanket of fresh snow on the lawn. Nancy Pelosi woke up on the wrong side of the bed. “I got you, Babe” was playing on the radio as she took her motorcade to the Capitol.

“Really? Again?” an exasperated Chuck Schumer asked Nancy as she strode into the storied hallways.

“Chuck, I’m in no mood,” she responded.

“But it’s the fifth time this year!” Chuck shot back.

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“The base gets what the base wants,” Nancy replied.

Then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walked by. “Really, Nancy, we’re not including an article on his latest misogynistic tweet?” AOC thundered. “This is a sham!”

Nancy ignored her. She had work to do.

Ever since the fourth impeachment vote had failed, the exasperated House speaker had tried to whip her caucus in favor of another successful run, so the base would be happy and she could stop trying to convince the 218th representative to vote “yes” on impeachment.

Gone were the rosy days of December 2019, when Democrats mostly fell in line and impeached Donald Trump on a party-line vote. Ever since Trump won re-election the following November, it had been one hard fight after another. “If it weren’t for that pesky Karen Bass and Al Green, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” Nancy thought. Their insistence that Democrats could impeach Trump again after his re-election had come back to bite them.

The Democrats had held on to the House by the thinnest of margins, but Republicans had actually picked up seats in the Senate. The first impeachment had dragged on through a long Senate trial that actually made Trump look better, not worse.

Of course, Democrats had tried again mere weeks after Trump’s re-election. Nancy had reluctantly agreed, sensing the anger in the base. How could HE win again?! But of course, it was no use. Nancy got a few more votes for the second impeachment, but this time the Republicans in the Senate mostly just mocked them.

Everything got so much harder after January 20, 2021. The third attempt to impeach Trump, an opening salvo for the new Congress, had failed spectacularly. Nancy had let the more radical Democrats smuggle in too many articles of impeachment. The articles barely got 100 votes!

The second time, Democrats pared the articles back. Those two articles in December 2019 seemed to work, so why not run just a handful again? But Maxine Waters, Al Green, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez couldn’t agree. There wasn’t enough condemnation of Trump’s racism, misogyny, anti-Palestinian bigotry, transphobia, yadda yadda. So that vote failed, too.

Congress had settled into a familiar rhythm. Democrats would set forth their articles, Republicans would shoot them down, then some Democrat from the far left or the moderate wing would complain about an article or two. More debate, more revisions, and finally a vote.

All four votes had failed.

Nancy was sick of it, but she couldn’t stop now. This was the worst president in American history — couldn’t the voters see that? Sure, he had won with a slim majority of the popular vote in 2020, but his approval numbers were still horrible. Americans didn’t like him, and Nancy was certain one more successful vote would be enough.

If only this Congress could pass one more impeachment, they could move on to the other issues Americans cared about.

She had tried to stop the impeachment train before, and that did not end well. A record 900 protesters had been arrested after a massive sit-in in every single House office building. Mark Ruffalo, Jane Fonda, and many other celebrities showed up, and even Greta Thunberg glowered disapprovingly from Sweden. Much as she wanted to, Nancy couldn’t let it go.

The caucus had 6 articles this time — not too many, but not too few, either. They had a few mentions of racism, another abuse of power claim, more obstruction of Congress, the emoluments clause, and a few others. Nancy couldn’t quite remember what was in and what was out, anymore. But she was confident.

This time, surely, the Democrats will band together and get the vote done. As the voting started, she heard Green vote yes. “It’ll make it, this time, it’ll work!” Nancy thought.

But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, angry that Nancy had snubbed her in the hallway, voted no. Rashida Tlaib voted in solidarity with AOC, and the fifth impeachment went down in defeat.

Then came the inevitable Trump tweet: “Nice try, Nancy! Impeachment Sham fails AGAIN. How sad.”

Nancy drove home, hearing on the radio the horrifying news that Trump got yet another judge confirmed to a lifetime federal appointment. Wall construction was moving ahead on schedule. Punxsutawney Phil had seen his shadow, and winter was set to continue.

As Nancy settled into bed, she conjured vague memories of a 1990s movie and wondered what would happen if she broke the rules a little — bribed people to vote for impeachment, threatened to blackball any Democrat who didn’t fall in line. She even briefly considered ending it all and announcing her resignation. But no, she couldn’t be the speaker who failed to impeach the president yet again. She had to try harder, and she would continue to play by the rules.

Unlike Bill Murray, she wouldn’t get a do-over. But she would try another impeachment. Who knows? Sixth time’s the charm, right?

Note: If you hadn’t previously noticed and just in case Snopes is asking, this is a work of satire. Any accurate predictions of the future are purely accidental.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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