Was Nixon's impeachment a partisan issue?
Why is the opposition party always pushing for impeachment? [closed]
Nixon (oh wait, it actually was him)
Richard Nixon was not charged; he resigned. Bill Clinton was actually charged despite not being removed from office.
However, this shows part of the problem. Nixon resigned and was replaced by Gerald Ford, who at the time had less moral authority in dealing with Congress. That was somewhat relevant back then because the Democrats controlled Congress (both House and Senate). Ford ran for the election but was unable to garner support. Think what could have happened if Nixon had completed a normal second term. Someone like Ronald Reagan could have run to follow him. Instead of running against an incumbent, Reagan would have had an open field. Reagan almost beat Ford as it was.
Another part of the problem is that they are trapped in their own rhetoric. If you argue that your opponent is of low moral character and is doing illegal things, you must speak out in favor of impeachment. If you don't suggest it, someone else will. You have to agree, otherwise you will just sound silly. Either way is really awful, worst of all, but not bad enough to be charged with. See? Stupid.
After all, it matters sometimes. If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had been indicted in 2007, Nancy Pelosi would have been president. In most modern administrations, the vice president would be involved in actual wrongdoing such as the use of torture.
If Nixon had been charged after Agnew resigned, Carl Albert would have been president. They let Ford become vice president as part of a compromise to remove Nixon.
If Obama had been charged and Biden had become president, the Republicans could possibly have achieved more. For example, there was a rumor of a major deficit reduction deal between Biden and Republicans that was dashed when Obama rejected it.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had been reassured by private polls prior to the election that Clinton's scandal would result in the Republican Party getting up to thirty House seats.
The expectation at the time was that even a failed impeachment of Bill Clinton would improve the position of Republicans in the House and Senate. And in that case, Republicans could almost certainly have won the 2000 presidency (as they did anyway) and kept or even increased those profits. The reality was that they lost seats.
Something similar had happened before. The Democrats won the presidency after Nixon's resignation in 1976, but then lost the next three presidential elections. Impeachment cut in both directions. Nixon supporters weren't keen on Ford, but Jimmy Carter never built the support he would need to be reelected.
If Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, Republicans would be in good shape now. You could look forward to winning around nine Senate seats in the 2018 elections. They could hardly improve their gubernatorial stocks, but they probably would have kept them. They would talk about the president's seedy dealings with Russia and pounce on every misstep (possibly including her firing of James Comey). But they won and took Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and overturned a number of regulations.
Given Trump's popularity (or lack thereof), impeachment could actually help Republicans. Or maybe the outrage would continue until 2020, as happened at Nixon. We don't have many examples to extrapolate from.
Politicians may believe impeachment talks help them more than it actually does. It collects the base and makes contributions. But it also gathers the opponents and makes their contributions. The thing is, most politicians can see the impact on themselves more directly than on their opponents. In other words, most politicians are short-sighted idiots. You see the profits without counting the costs.
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