Donald Trump has been president for about a month. And already, a sizable majority of Democrats say he should be impeached.
A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute shows 58 percent of Democrats are onboard with the idea of impeaching Trump.
That's not an unthinkable number in our polarized political climate, but it is extraordinarily early in a presidency for such a high level of support for impeachment. As PRRI notes, as late as 2014 — in the sixth year of Barack Obama's presidency — a similar proportion of Republicans supported impeachment: 56 percent. And even as the case for the Iraq War was being picked apart in 2006, Democratic support for impeaching George W. Bush was only at 48 percent — lower than it is today for Trump.
Overall support for Trump's impeachment (27 percent) is still slightly lower than it was for Obama in 2014 (30 percent) and Bush in 2006 (30 percent). But the support for impeachment among Democrats appears to be what is keeping the overall number for Trump in the same ballpark.
It's a testament to just how insatiable Democrats' appetite is for opposing Trump — something we've seen in other polling as well. A Pew poll this week showed 72 percent of Democrats were more worried their leaders would do too little to oppose Trump vs. 20 percent who were worried they would do too much.
And according to this new poll, the vast majority of that 72 percent doesn't think impeaching Trump — even at this early juncture — is going too far. That's not exactly a recipe for bipartisanship going forward.
The grounds for impeaching Trump or any other president, it bears noting, are laid out in the Constitution, which says a president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota recently joked that such a situation was “months and months away,” since Republicans control Congress and would have to support impeachment. And that's a key point: Congress is always reluctant to move toward impeachment — especially since it can backfire, as it did late in Bill Clinton's presidency. But in the case of Trump, it's even more unlikely given Republicans control the House, which would initiate any impeachment proceedings if it got to that point.
Some Democrats and ethics groups have sued alleging Trump is already in violation of the law — specifically, the emoluments clause, which prohibits a politician from accepting any “present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” (The Post's Allison Michaels and David Fahrenthold have much more on this in this week's version of the “Can He Do That?” podcast.)
And there already are very real grass-roots efforts to push for impeachment. A petition with 850,000 signatures on it was delivered to Congress last week. And Democratic leaders are trying to beat back the growing calls for impeachment from their base.
Good luck with that.