There are three critical “T’s” of political campaigns: timing, temperature and tone.
Mary Barzee Flores hit all three when she called for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
The former circuit judge and current candidate in Miami’s “clown car” Democratic primary in Florida’s 27th Congressional District also urged fellow Democrats to run on the issue in 2018.
Let’s put aside (for a moment) the substance of Flores’ impeachment talk. Personally, I believe it’s premature.
Premature as the policy itself may be, we’re talking about politics and campaigns right now. From that perspective, the timing of Flores’ announcement could not have been better, appearing in the print edition of the Miami Herald (still read by the older, more educated voters who tend to come out in August primaries) the day after Tuesday’s Democratic mini-wave in the mid-midterms.
You can parse Tuesday’s results however you’d like, but it was the most precise indicator yet of the electorate’s growing anger with the president, as well as the Democratic excitement at the prospect of taking him head-on.
If there was a day for a congressional candidate to stake out space among the base, in a crowded, 7-candidate primary, Wednesday was it.
And impeachment is the issue.
Flores clearly has her finger on the temperature of the Democratic electorate right now. Anyone who’s watching and doesn’t think that temperature is rising, and rising quickly, isn’t really paying attention.
I’m looking at you, Nancy Pelosi.
While Pelosi pooh-pooh’s the effort, billionaire liberal mega-donor, Tom Steyer announced his new campaign, “Need to Impeach,” will double its spending (to $20 million) and has garnered nearly 2 million signatures for its online petition calling for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.
Steyer also released the results of a 1,200-sample poll conducted for Need to Impeach by the veteran (and respected in Florida) pollster, John Anzalone.
Nearly 80 percent of likely 2020 presidential primary voters — both Democratic and independents — currently support the “impeachment and removal from office” of President Trump; 62 percent do so strongly, suggesting a high level of intensity among the base.
And finally — even for someone like me, who is not yet on board with the impeachment train — Flores gets the tone of her statement just right.
While simply calling for the president’s impeachment is bold in itself, she nevertheless manages to make a deliberate, professorial case for impeachment, which can quickly get your head nodding as she lays the argument out.
Flores, a well-respected lawyer for nearly three decades, spent eight years as a circuit judge, receiving the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association when President Barack Obama nominated her to the federal bench.
She is not the candidate you would expect to be the first in Florida to come out strongly for impeachment — but she makes a strong argument, one that’s befitting of her profile and experience.
At this point, the CD 27 primary remains “anything can happen, anyone could win.”
But if Flores ultimately wins and becomes the nominee (and, as a Democrat, will be the prohibitive favorite in a district that went +20 for Hillary Clinton), I would bet that her being the first one to publicly call for impeachment will have played a big part in getting there.