Suffolk University Professors Analyze Impeachment Issue

Experts say Trump team sees marketing opportunity, and House moved to act despite previous efforts to protect democratic seats

As House Democrats pursue an impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, Suffolk University Political Science & Legal Studies Professors Christina M. Kulich-Vamvakas and Kenneth Cosgrove are available for commentary.

Trump marketing & fundraising

With the Trump campaign staff tweeting about how they think impeachment will work for the president’s reelection, Professor Kenneth Cosgrove noted that the president’s team is tapping into his “excellent marketing skills.”

“The Trump brand is in conflict with the establishment, and, in keeping with that, the campaign sees this as a huge brand-building and marketing opportunity,” said Cosgrove, author of the forthcoming book Donald Trump and the Branding of the American Presidency. “They’ve reached out to their base to mobilize and raise money based on the impeachment threat. They believe any donation will be doubled after the campaign sent out a fundraising email about the ‘Official Impeachment Defense Task Force.’”

Facts in question

Cosgrove also notes that the move to impeachment on Tuesday occurred with few known facts and before notes-based transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president was released.

“We know there’s a whistleblower complaint, and that has to involve a criminal allegation for the [related] statute to come into play,” he said. “So it’s interesting that an allegation nobody has yet seen launched this.”

Cosgrove said this fits a pattern in the Trump years of sensational revelations being made, pundits and Democrats talking about impeachment, revelations turning out to be less than projected, Trump claiming fake news “and life goes on. Let’s see if this is different. So far the story has shifted twice already from the initial revelations,” he said.

Country over party

Kulich-Vamvakas says that that Speaker Pelosi's announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry has been driven by a rapid momentum shift in her caucus and in particular by Tuesday’s Washington Post op-ed by the seven freshmen ‘majority-makers’ with foreign policy and intelligence experience who flipped red districts. 

“Up until now, protecting the majority was a major concern, and these lawmakers have signaled that if these allegations are true they are willing to take tough votes and, therefore, do not need ‘protection.’ Their message is essentially country over party or personal interest, and the president's actions are endangering the country and the Constitution.”

Tipping point

Moreover, protecting Congressional oversight authority after repeated refusal by the Trump administration to appear before Congress or supply information and materials requested by committees combined with the still developing story of the Ukrainian affair has made this a tipping point for Democrats. 

“If they do not act now, they will appear weak, even if the chances of an eventual impeachment vote by the House or conviction by the Senate is very unlikely,” said Kulich-Vamvakas.

To arrange for an interview with Kulich-Vamvakas or Cosgrove, please contact Greg Gatlin, ggatlin@suffolk.edu, or 617-573-8428.

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Greg Gatlin
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