Nothing accomplished in impeachment mess

The impeachment of Donald John Trump ended Wednesday just as the most casual political observer knew it would. The Republicans in control of the Senate held firm (except for Sen. Mitt Romney) and voted to aquit the president on the two articles of impeachment that the Democrats in control of the House had passed and sent to them.

All the hearings and witnesses, all the accusations and counter-accusations that have consumed Washington since the whistleblower first reported the president’s so-called “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian president, have come to nothing. Trump has not been removed from office. He hasn’t been chastened, or reined in, or taught that there are lines beyond which he should not cross. He will continue to do what he pleases, emboldened by the rising approval numbers in recent polls. He will attack his critics, especially the Democrats who are jumbling for the nomination to oppose him in November, with unabated ferocity.

And in November, he will be a formidable opponent, his supporters unified by what he calls the Democrats’ efforts to undo what they accomplished in 2016.

Democrats do not regret taking the action they took. They really could not ignore it. But they have very little to show for it.