Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Democrat in a right-leaning district of South Carolina, announced Monday that he’ll be voting in favor of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
He made the announcement in comments to local paper The Post and Courier.
While it has long seemed overwhelmingly likely that Trump would be impeached by the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, it’s been unclear how many lawmakers might break with party ranks. Rep. Justin Amash, previously a Michigan Republican and now an independent, left the party when he concluded Trump should be impeached due to the findings of the Mueller report. He’s expected to vote “yes” on the impeachment articles. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who has been a New Jersey Democrat, recently revealed that he’s becoming a Republican and will oppose impeachment. (Recent polling indicated Van Drew was unlikely to retain his seat as a Democrat.)
No House Republicans appear poised to undermine the president, including the retiring Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, who was seen by some as a potential defector. Because of the 2018 blue wave, Democrats have many more moderates in their caucus than the Republicans do and more vulnerable members in districts that Republicans tend to win, making it more likely that they will dissent from the party line.
Cunningham, whose district voted for Trump by more than 13 points in 2016, won his 2018 election by less than 1 point. Vox reporter Andrew Prokop noted: “Only three House Democrats represent Trumpier districts than Cunningham.”
Because of the nature of his district and the electorate he’s responsible to, he was seen as a potential “no” vote on the impeachment articles for the Democrats. And speaking with The Post and Courier, he said he had kept an open mind and had listened to his Republican colleagues for persuasive defenses of the president.
He didn’t find any.
“I’ve waited and waited and I have not found any evidence they submitted compelling at all,” he told the paper. “At the end of day, this is simply about the rule of law, whether we’re a country with laws or not and what type of precedent we want to set for future presidents.”
Trump’s actions were “unacceptable,” he said.
“If I wanted to do what was easy politically, I would just vote no and move on,” Cunningham went on. “But it’s about doing what’s right for our country.”