There has been much debate among the left about how best to proceed with President Trump after the Mueller report. But considering that the Democratic Party is largely a coalition of interest groups, it should be of little surprise that different groups want to respond differently.
After the Mueller report’s release, most Americans do not want to see Democrats in Congress began impeachment proceedings. But blacks are not most Americans. The conclusions from the Mueller report confirm to them something many of them have believed about Trump since the day he launched his presidential campaign: He is unfit for the office.
According to a recent Washington Post-ABC news poll, nearly 70 percent of black Americans want to see Democrats begin impeachment proceedings, compared with 56 percent of Americans in general who do not.
As my Fix colleague Aaron Blake wrote, the Mueller report was not the vindication that Trump and his supporters claim it was. Blake wrote:
There were underlying crimes — lots of them. Trump’s own aides pleaded guilty to lying at various junctures. His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted of a series of crimes, as was his lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen. And Trump has even been implicated in crimes — campaign finance violations — in the Cohen case that was related to the Mueller probe.
Trump also rather obviously didn’t like the story line that Russia made the difference in electing him, so he also had a political motive to want to hamper the investigation. When the special counsel was appointed, Mueller reported, Trump said he was “fucked” and that it was the “end of my presidency.”
So the idea that Trump had nothing to hide — including crimes — by obstructing the investigation is pretty far-fetched.
Political commentator Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic South Carolina lawmaker, told me the black voters he speaks with are frustrated at the double standard Congress appears to be employing:
"I think that most African American voters believe that for one, if this was Barack Obama, he would have been held to a totally different standard. And two, the Constitution is what the Constitution is. If we are not going to allow this white guy to be held to the rule of law, who will be held accountable?
"And I think for a lot of black voters and poor people, we’ve seen this movie before. What Donald Trump is doing is the prototypical example of our criminal justice system, and for most black voters, that is not okay.”
Sellers said impeachment would energize the base while not distracting the Democrats from focusing on the policy issues that those running to replace Trump in the Oval Office are addressing on the campaign trail.
“There’s no reason why we can’t start impeachment proceedings against Trump and take care of the middle class and HBCUs and health care. We can talk and chew gum and do all these things at once,” Sellers said.
While some liberal lawmakers are not as certain and appear fearful of the impact that impeachment could have on the country’s morale — and Democrats’ popularity — lawmakers such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) align with black voters on the issue.
Waters chairs the House Financial Services Committee and has been one of the lawmakers most critical of the president — and particularly his lack of transparency about his finances and how they may be influencing his policymaking. She told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last week that voters she comes in contact with regularly ask the long-term lawmaker when Congress will move forward with removing the president from office. She said:
“The American people in the final analysis is going to push on the Congress to do the impeachment. The calls are overwhelming in my office about impeachment. I have so many calls — 90 percent of all the calls I’m getting, people see me on the street, and they’re talking about impeachment. So I think the level of interest and the level of not putting up with this president any longer comes to the forefront and lays on and leans on and pressures the Congress of the United States, we’re going to have to do it. We’re going to have to impeach. I just wish it was sooner than later.”
Apparently, so do black Americans, who are one of the most influential voting blocs in the Democratic Party, the political group hoping to take back the White House next year and both chambers of Congress.