Talk of impeachment spurs Democratic donors

By Curtis Sprung, Medill News Service  |  July 30, 2014 at 7:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- A Republican lawsuit against the president. Tea Party Republicans talking about impeachment. It sounds like doom and gloom for the Democratic Party, but these threats are animating Democratic campaign donors.

"I think it's fair to say that Democrats talk a lot more about impeachment than Republicans do," said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor with The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political analysis firm. "It has two purposes for them. The first is to raise money. The second is to motivate their base to vote in November."

Democratic leaders certainly agree that their base is motivated to donate and vote in this year's midterm elections because of the GOP attacks on President Barack Obama, but they frame it as an ideological difference.

"I think the Republican strategy of lawsuits and approaching impeachment is fundamentally misfiring," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday. "I understand their strategy is intended to chin up their base, but it's having the unintended consequence of moving our base in the midterm election in a big way."

Democrats are certainly capitalizing on the potential specter of impeachment. "NEWS: Impeachment," reads the subject line of an email sent out by the House Majority PAC, a political action committee dedicated to winning a Democratic majority in the House.

The email, sent to the PAC's online mailing list, builds on fear that the House will impeach the president, stating, "Earlier this week on Fox News, the new House GOP whip refused to rule out the possibility that the GOP would try to impeach the president!!" The email then goes on to ask for donations of varying amounts from recipients.

Republican leaders have consistently refuted the idea that impeachment is on the table.

"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill," said House Speaker John Boehner to reporters Tuesday morning. "Why? Because they're trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's election."

Impeachment might seem like a fantasy, but Israel said that Republicans are too scared about election losses to completely shut the issue down.

"They wake up every morning thinking about (former House Majority Leader) Eric Cantor's loss, they go to bed every night thinking about Eric Cantor's loss and they spend all the hours in between trying to figure out how they can get to the right of Eric Cantor."

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