During the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon, a bipartisan coalition had formed, but the chances of similar cooperation regarding impeaching President Donald Trump appear slim at best. Here’s what Republicans in the House can learn from the past.
Lessons from the Nixon impeachment
The impeachment of the 37th president of the United States, Republican Richard Milhouse Nixon, was a lengthy one that dragged on for over six months.
The Nixon impeachment began when a group of seven mostly moderate lawmakers who sat on the House Judiciary Committee – four Republicans and three Democrats – began meeting secretly in July 1974. They met at the office of Republican Tom Railsback, a leader in the Party’s reform movement.
At the time of Nixon’s presidency and the Watergate scandal, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. But even with the Democratic majority, unless the committee secured a bipartisan vote, it was unlikely a House vote on impeachment would occur.
What this means for the Trump impeachment
The bipartisan group of lawmakers that came together to impeach Nixon from the House Judiciary Committee became known as the “fragile coalition.” Fragile, because it was a bipartisan effort that was actually led by Republicans who at any time could decide to think along the lines of protecting the Party.
What the Democrats need to remember from Nixon’s impeachment is the idea of a bipartisan coalition. Currently, theirs is a completely one-sided affair.
But if they truly want to remove President Donald Trump, they are unlikely to do so without a bipartisan coalition – no matter how fragile that might be.
When the House voted on a resolution outlining the process for an impeachment inquiry, 231 Democrats voted in favor. Two Democrats voted against. All 194 Republicans who voted were against the measure. Three Republicans and one Democrat did not vote. One independent voted in favor.
Will Trump be impeached?
Republicans in the Senate have already voiced their opposition to impeachment. Should impeachment of Trump pass in the House, it’s likely to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Republicans generally believe President Trump did nothing wrong regarding his dealings with Ukraine.
The lesson for Republicans in stopping the impeachment of President Donald Trump is simply to stick together and not break rank.