Alex Wong / Getty Images
And it was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) who brought the audience to whooping applause by declaring, “We don’t have to be afraid to use the word impeachment!”
Waters has been in Congress 26 years, but her willingness months ago to become the first Democrat to call for impeachment turned her into an overnight sensation among the party’s base and a must-have speaker at left-leaning events.
As investigative bombshells drop, more of her colleagues have stepped up to grab their own moment in the spotlight by dropping “the I-word.”
But many Democrats privately worry that lawmakers and outside groups demanding impeachment are making a quick buck in a way that could ultimately be counterproductive for the party.
“There is increasing concern for a lot of us that jumping to impeachment talk before the facts are there and the American public are ready for it is a gift to Trump,” said one Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
“No matter how much it can get you on cable TV or raise you money on the internet,” the strategist continued, “flipping to the last chapter of the spy novel before reading the book will undermine the damage this investigation is going to do to Trump by making the American people see it as political and prejudged.”
Even the some in the party’s generally combative left-wing has called for some brake-pumping.
“I don’t think you want to make that leap to impeachment until you follow a path that leads us there,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a CNN town hall this week. “Maybe it will [lead there] maybe it won’t. But I’m not there at this point.”
“Many people across America think that Trump’s lawbreaking and seemingly treasonous acts sound horrible, but then look at their family and think more about whether they have good jobs and healthcare,” said Adam Green, the co-founder the Progressive Change Campaign Committee,
“Democrats should absolutely hold Trump accountable,” he continued, “but must also be disciplined about pivoting to our core message” on healthcare and jobs.
“Without that, the lesson of 2016 simply isn’t being learned,” he added.