Republicans are optimistic about their chances of winning a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, come the midterm elections in November. If they do, life could well become uncomfortable for Democrats – not least among them Joe Biden. Prominent GOP figures already are talking about several issues they intend to investigate, but a few congressional Republicans have their sights set on an even more consequential measure: a possible impeachment of Biden for his seemingly deliberate failure to secure the southern U.S. border against waves of illegal alien crossings.
Ohio Representative Bob Gibbs (R), along with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have already introduced articles of impeachment against Biden, which, at this point, would seem entirely pointless, but Gibbs considers the move “a shot across the bow.” His resolution, H.R.671, is co-sponsored by two more Texas Republicans, Representatives Brian Babin, and Randy Weber. “When Republicans take back the House, we will take our commitment to the separation of powers, our role as a check and balance to the executive branch, seriously,” said Gibbs. “President Biden, Vice President [Kamala] Harris, and the entire administration is officially on notice.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) also has raised the specter of impeachment, but how would it all play out? Is there a downside for Republicans or even an upside for Democrats? What are the chances of success – not just for a potential impeachment but for a conviction in the Senate, which would remove Biden from the White House? It is one thing to impeach a president but quite another to strip him of his office, as Republicans and Democrats have both discovered. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were both impeached – the latter twice – but, in all three cases, the Senate voted to acquit. Both Clinton and Trump remained in office.
Assuming a Republican majority in the House after the midterms – which isn’t certain but highly probable – a successful impeachment would surely be achievable. Biden’s complete disregard for his duty to enforce federal law, specifically immigration law, is grounds for impeachment. There really isn’t a credible argument against that statement. After all, Trump was impeached twice merely for intent – or what Democrats chose to interpret as intent – while Biden is personally responsible for sections of the U.S. Federal Code remaining unenforced. He is the commander-in-chief, and as such one of his principal duties is to see to it that federal laws are upheld.
Though one could safely predict that not a single House Democrat would vote to impeach, it is equally unlikely that even one Republican would vote against it, given the current climate and Biden’s increasingly erratic behavior.
What of a trial, though? It goes without saying that the GOP would need a two-thirds majority in the upper chamber, including a cushion against the possibility of two or three Republicans not being willing to cross that Rubicon of convicting, and thus removing from office, a sitting president. No matter what the circumstances, it is quite difficult to imagine Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowsi being willing to play a part in the final destruction of the political career of a fellow establishment D.C. Swamp-dweller like Biden. So, Republicans would need to come out of the November elections with at least 70 Senate seats. This will not be possible, given that they will be defending 20 seats and Democrats 14.
An Improbable Turn of Events
Could the GOP find itself in control of the Senate by the end of the year? That is entirely possible – but it would take a landslide of significant scale to get Republicans within range of having enough votes to convict Biden, should he be impeached – even then they would be short. Assuming there is no chance Republicans capture every Democrat seat up for election, it would take the votes of several Democrats willing to put the final nails in their leader’s presidential coffin.
On the face of it, the idea of any Democrat senator voting to remove Biden seems implausible, but the party faces a significant problem in 2024. Though none might say it out loud, how many elected Democrats would feel enormous relief at being free of the man who has become a serious political liability? Of course, Harris would then become president, and it is entirely fair to say she appears hopelessly unprepared and unqualified to do the job – but at least Democrats could, for a while, crow about how fantastic it is that they have the first woman of color in the White House.
By the same token, might Republicans be reluctant to do their political adversaries a favor by unburdening them of Biden and thus giving them something approaching a clean slate in preparation for the next battle for the White House? Perhaps a few GOPers might think it best to leave him in place, use their new majority to grind his agenda to a halt until 2024, and then watch Democrats agonize over the prospect of an aging, mentally declining, and deeply unpopular Biden running for a second term.
The only way a conviction in the Senate pans out, therefore, begins with an electoral bloodbath for the Democrats in which they lose, say, 10 seats to the GOP. Then, even if every Republican voted to convict, it would take seven Democrats voting with them. An unlikely turn of events.
Impeachment may well be on the cards, but convicting and removing Biden – as remote a possibility as that is – carries with it various implications, both advantageous and detrimental, to both parties. Unfortunately, what is best for the country could take a back seat to what is politically expedient. That is, after all, how Washington usually operates.
~ Read more from Graham J. Noble.