The Democratic Party at the moment is divided over two different questions:
(1) Should the party’s presidential candidate in 2020 be one who self-identifies as a democratic socialist, and/or pursues policy preferences that tend toward a more socialistic economic system? Or, should the nominee be more moderate, just wanting to preserve a social safety net without drastically expanding the social service functions of the federal government?
(2) Should Trump be impeached?
The custom, when things are normal, has been for both the Democratic and Republican nominees in a general election to paint themselves as moderate and to try to cast each other as extremists. Usually, Democratic candidates get called “socialist” by their adversaries; they don’t usually call themselves that. And when Republicans call Democrats socialists, they often lump them together with the more notorious varieties of socialism, including Soviet-style dictatorial communism and Hitler’s National Socialist, or Nazi Party. Moreover, for a while it looked as if the Democratic Party had shifted rightward: note Clinton’s signing of the Republican Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which made it tougher to get state welfare, and the infamous Defense of Marriage Act! But now, the party is getting pulled leftward, as so many of the candidates are calling for expansions of social welfare, including “Medicare for all.” Is such a candidate likely to win in the general election? That’s one question.
Now, about impeachment. The math is simple: with a Democratic majority in the House, the Democrats can easily impeach Trump, bearing in mind that “impeach” merely means “accuse,” that is, decide that there will be a trial. The Republicans have a majority in the Senate, so the chances are nil that Trump would get convicted and removed there. So, is an impeachment trial worth it? Would the evidence against Trump, with the Mueller report as the Democrats’ roadmap, be damning enough to make Trump look bad in the election? Or, would it backfire on the Democrats, looking like a failed attempt that resulted in Trump’s exoneration?
NPR story on ideology in the Democratic primaries, April 22, 2019
NPR story on the impeachment question, April 23, 2019
Politico story on the impeachment question, featuring Kellyanne Conway’s anti-Trump husband George, April 23, 2019
Final note: In the House, keep watching for the names of Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, and Elijah Cummings, chairmen of the Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight committees, respectively, all of whom will be keeping Trump in their sights with further investigative hearings in the coming season, whether such hearings lead to articles of impeachment or not.
TheHill.com article about a battle over a subpoena with Rep. Cummings, April 23, 2019 (This involves the allegations that the Trump administration has made arbitrary exceptions on security clearances.)