Two Democrats voted against opening an impeachment inquiry. One may be courting his political downfall

Two Democrats voted against opening an impeachment inquiry. One may be courting his political downfall
Rep. Collin Peterson, Wikipedia

On Thursday, the House voted to formalize its impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, with all but two Democrats in favor and every Republican voting against (Republican-turned-independent Justin Amash was an "aye"). The two Democratic dissenters were longtime Rep. Collin Peterson, who represents the reddest district held by a Democrat, and freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was thanked by Trump for his anti-impeachment comments in September.


In explaining himself, Peterson largely echoed discredited GOP talking points about process, and his decision was likely driven by raw political preservation: His once-blue district in rural northwest Minnesota, numbered the 7th, voted for Trump 62-31 and is likely to keep getting redder. Peterson has also drawn what's likely going to be his toughest challenge ever from former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, who recently earned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's endorsement.

Two decades ago, though, Peterson felt quite differently. In October 1998, he voted in favor of a Republican resolution opening an impeachment investigation into Bill Clinton, even though the crimes Clinton was alleged to have committed were far less grave than what Trump stands accused of. And while Peterson has always been one of the most conservative members of his caucus, his district had voted for Clinton by a 45-40 margin in 1996. (He ultimately voted against all four articles of impeachment that December.)

Van Drew, meanwhile, faces the opposite political calculus, though he doesn't seem to realize it. Van Drew's district in southern New Jersey also went for Trump, but by a considerably smaller 51-46 margin, and it previously backed Obama twice. In addition, calculations by analyst J. Miles Coleman show that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy carried New Jersey’s 2nd District  50-48 during his successful 2017 run.

By virtue of representing swingy turf, Van Drew was always likely to be a Republican target next year, regardless of his vote on impeachment. Now, though, the conservative congressman has upped the likelihood he'll face the wrath of progressives in June's primary.

#story_page_ below_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.