With the impeachment hearings being broadcast live on television, the American public is finally becoming privy to the damning revelations about presidential misconduct and abuse of power. Testimonies from senior officials, many of whom have served the United States for decades, shine light on an administration in which the president and his henchmen care little about legalities, integrity or proper diplomatic conduct. The only problem is that such wrongdoings do not come as a surprise — neither to Trump’s opponents, nor to his supporters. Even though impeachment by the House becomes inevitable, the process is still a dangerous gambit and could backfire politically. Especially since Republicans show no sign of disloyalty and Trump’s removal from office by a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate remains unlikely. Democrats’ efforts to strip the president of his powers through constitutional means, instead of defeating him at the ballot box next year, bolsters Trump’s ability to distract attention from his unfulfilled promises, rally his populist base and reinvigorate the outsider status he relishes.
For The Hill, Dr. Mathew Burrows, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy and Risks Initiative, and his Research Associate Julian Mueller-Kaler elaborate on the persistency of populist discourse, the establishment’s failure to tackle the phenomenon successfully, and the political price of impeachment.