Tulsi Gabbard: How Democrats’ impeachment campaign helped Trump

Donald Trump must be defeated: Another four years of him as president would be a disaster. Unfortunately, as I warned, the Democrats’ hyper-partisan impeachment process has increased the likelihood that he will be re-elected. After Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, his approval rating reached the highest levels since he took office. And the risk that he will win in November is much greater than before.

This was entirely foreseeable.

For years I have stressed the need for our leaders to make decisions based on thoughtfulness and foresight—not just emotion, or what may “feel good” in a given moment. This is especially important in the area of foreign policy, as politicians’ desire to “do something” too often overrides careful consideration of the unintended consequences of the actions they take. Time and time again, their poor judgment has led to worse outcomes in the countries where we recklessly intervene, and for our own country’s national security.

An egregious lack of foresight also led to this counterproductive impeachment of Trump.

Those who wish to lead our country should have had the foresight to know that this result was inevitable. They need to understand that their decisions should not be dictated by what makes them temporarily feel good or look good, but rather by what will be good for the American people. Emotional gratification or political advantage should never determine one’s votes or actions.

I find it strange that the same people who loudly declare that Trump’s re-election would be an existential threat to our country nonetheless advocated for the very thing which has increased the chances he will be re-elected. If they really believed that a second Trump term would be such a devastating catastrophe, perhaps they should not have given such a priceless contribution to his re-election campaign.

I am not a genius; I simply had enough common sense to foresee that Trump would be acquitted. And I also used my common sense to predict that Trump would, upon his acquittal, use that as vindication. Unfortunately, common sense is not so common among politicians jockeying for power. 

It’s no secret that some presidential candidates believed that being the earliest and most emphatic to demand Trump’s impeachment would profit them politically—and they were right. They did benefit politically by exploiting Democratic voters’ disdain for Trump. But their political gain has been America’s loss. 

Of course we’ve all heard their talking points: “Sometimes you just have to do the right thing.” Do they believe that the right thing is to help Trump get re-elected—and now embolden him to act with impunity for the remainder of his tenure in office—even as they claim his re-election would destroy our country, our Constitution, our democracy, and our world?

They say, “We had to do this to protect our Constitution”—but if you increase the likelihood of destroying the country, how is that “protecting our Constitution”?

Some of my Democratic colleagues in the House have argued that this failed endeavor was still justified because Trump will go down in infamy as the third president to be impeached. But that will be cold comfort. While it may warm the heart of a self-serving politician eager for publicity and donations, a footnote in future history books will do nothing to comfort our children and our children’s children—who will have to live with the disastrous consequences of another four years of Trump in the White House.

Foresight means being guided always by what is in the best interests of the American people, not what may be in one’s political interest. It means getting past the shallow partisan divides that result in short-sighted thinking, and inflame the kind of tribal animosities that make it far more difficult to get even the most basic things done. That’s why I am running for president—to bring a new era of leadership that moves us beyond this destructive pattern. Because our children deserve better.

Tulsi Gabbard is the U.S. representative for Hawaii’s 2nd District and a Democratic candidate for president.

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