Amidst calls for impeachment by both congressmen and the public, some Democrats say the move is premature. Amongst these are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer who warned the Democrats might “blow their shot.”
But why should premature calls for impeachment make it any less likely? An answer can be found by examing voter turnout trends for midterm elections. If there is to be any hope for impeachment, Democrats need to regain the majority in both houses of Congress. In order to do this in a timely manner, they must win seats in the 2018 midterm elections. If the 2018 elections follow historical trends, things are looking good for impeachment. Historically there has been a presidential penalty. The presidential penalty is caused by voter dissatisfaction with the Office, and generally causes the President’s party to lose seats. Additionally, James E. Campbell described midterm elections as lacking in the “wow” factor of presdential elections, which causes them to have relatively stable turnout compared to the volatile, party driven turnout of presidential elections. That being said, if the 2018 midterms become about whether or not President Trump will be removed from office, they may receive a voter turnout similar to a presidential election. That could be disadvantageous to the Democrats. Rather than Trump supporters staying home and letting the presidential penalty take effect, they may very well surge the polls in defense of their President.