by Kyle Evers | Opinion Editor
The verdict is not guilty.
Well, more specifically, the respondent has been acquitted. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, President Donald Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment brought against him by the US House of Representatives. In a vote that fell along party lines, with the exception of Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who voted to convict on one of two charges, the trial of the President of the United States has come to a close. And the outcome came to the surprise of few.
While the impeachment proceedings were not the shortest in history—according to NBC that honor belongs to President Andrew Johnson, whose proceedings took all of two days—this is perhaps the most volatile and politically charged impeachment to date. In a series of events that could stand for the definition of partisan politics, the end result may be a crippling blow to the hopes of Democrats seeking the White House in the coming months.
In an earlier piece, Impeachment: Does it really matter, I discussed the possible ramifications that would befall the Democratic party if they followed through on impeachment. While it may satisfy the party, it could in all likelihood sink any chance they have of winning the White House. And the facts could begin to bare that future out. According to Gallup, President Trump’s approval rating has bumped up to 49%, his highest to date, in a poll taken right in the middle of the impeachment proceedings.
So what does this convoluted mess mean? Will we ever know or fully decide if Trump’s actions were in fact legal? No. According to the New Yorker, at least three different law professors who testified during the hearings said that the President did indeed break the law, although in hindsight, this point is more or less moot. There was never a chance that a supermajority was going to be achieved in the Senate to remove the president from office no matter how many authoritative people say that he should be. The bigger picture, however, is becoming clearer. The Democrats shot themselves in the foot. In a field that still contains four major candidates all vying for the nomination, the failed impeachment and lack of cohesion has given Trump the upper hand on the current election stage. While the Democrats attempt to show a united front, they have fallen sorely behind the eight ball and at this rate, may never catch up.