Until quite recently, Democratic House leaders justified their refusal to begin an inquiry into impeaching Donald Trump by saying that it wasn’t something their rank-and-file voters cared about. “I can tell you I never hear somebody bring up the Mueller report,” Representative Cheri Bustos, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in Chicago last month.
After the Memorial Day recess, that argument is no longer tenable. Across the country, Democratic voters have begun demanding that their representatives take a position on impeachment. “At virtually every town hall, round table, or even, today, a kaffeeklatsch at a senior center, people want to know what we are going to do about this guy,” Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, told me. Scanlon is vice chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, which would oversee an impeachment inquiry, and two weeks ago she came out in favor of starting the process.
“There’s been a shift,” said Madeleine Dean, a freshman Democrat from Pennsylvania who also sits on the Judiciary Committee, and also wants to begin an impeachment inquiry. At a town hall last week, one of the first questions she was asked was about impeachment. When she visited local stores and barbershops, she told me, constituents approached her and said, of Trump, “You cannot let the behavior stand.”
On Friday, Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he’d come around to supporting an impeachment inquiry after speaking to people in his district: “To the person, everybody said, ‘What are you all going to do about President Trump?’” Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told me, “I had about a dozen events this weekend, and there was an overwhelming sense that we have been presented with abundant evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and we need to launch an inquiry.”