House Democrats are poised to impeach President Trump once they've spent more time following the leads in the whistleblower complaint. But should they take that step in a heavily partisan process in which most Republican voters believe Trump was unjustly targeted, it's quite likely that the next time there's a Democratic president and a Republican House, we'll have another impeachment.
Trump himself hinted at this on Saturday when he tweeted about a hypothetical scenario imagining if Republicans acted toward Barack Obama as Democrats are acting toward him. "Oh well, maybe next time!" he concluded.
To be clear, I'm not saying that the decision to impeach should be determined by the prospect of potential retribution by a future Republican Congress. But I'm acknowledging the reality of the potential long-term fallout of impeaching Trump.
Right now, 85% of Republicans oppose impeaching the president. Many prominent voices led by Trump are pushing the idea that the Ukraine scandal is a hoax in which the intelligence community, the Democrats, and the media are attempting to take a president down because they hate him.
If Trump gets impeached over what Republicans believe were nonexistent or minor misdeeds, then they are likely to want to jump on any scandal in a Democratic administration to pursue impeachment. And of course, should they take that path, Democrats will not soon forget.
Every president takes actions that, viewed through a certain lens, can be seen as impeachable. So it isn't at all hard to imagine our politics evolving to the point in which it's just a routine assumption that whenever an opposition party takes control of the House, they'll impeach the sitting president — almost like the use of the filibuster has increased over time to the point which we assume all legislation will require 60 votes to pass.