Danielle Vinson, presidential and congressional scholar and expert on political messaging, is professor of politics and international affairs at Furman University. Email her at danielle.vinson@furman.edu or call 864-294-3241 or Clinton Colmenares at 919-548-6493.

Vinson says: "There are political risks for Democrats—loss of moderate seats in the House, overshadowing presidential candidates in the primaries.  But congressional members have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and Congress as an institution has the responsibility to check the president if he abuses power or oversteps constitutional limits. 

"At least some in Congress believe the tipping point has come to put constitutional responsibility ahead of political risk for them or their party.  Another consideration for Democrats may be a desire to shape public opinion, not just follow it.  The public does respond to elite cues, and for much of Trump’s presidency, members of his own party have said little publicly about his behavior, unless the member was retiring. 

"Democrats may be trying to force Republicans to go on the record publicly, knowing that at least some of them are not okay with the president’s actions with the Ukrainian president."

 

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