By now it's clear that the Democrats have made one of the first great political blunders of the 21st century by trying to impeach the president of the United States based on a half-understood rumor. 

If the groundswell of small-dollar donations flowing into the Trump campaign's coffers offers any indication, the Democrats are going to pay a terrible price for indulging the demands of their radical base. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign raked in a $13 million haul within 36 hours of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s embarrassingly vague announcement of a “formal impeachment inquiry.” 

That’s significantly more than most of the Democrat presidential candidates are able to raise in a whole quarter. It’s more than Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke raised in two whole quarters, which many liberals hailed as potentially game-changing at the time. 

The sudden flood of donations to President Trump’s reelection effort provides undeniable evidence that this impeachment gambit represents a massive miscalculation. 

The White House has now publicly released both the rogue CIA agent’s “whistleblower complaint” and the transcript of the call -- the one that the “whistleblower” didn’t even hear, yet felt entitled to use as the basis for anonymously accusing the president of the United States of a crime. The allegations contained in the complaint are based entirely on hearsay. And according to the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, they appear to have been professionally prepared at an outside law firm. If true, that would all but confirm that the complainant’s motivation was political, not patriotic. 

The complaint that Democrats are using to plunge the country into an impeachment morass is already coming apart at the seams. Parts of the account have already been proven false — just like CNN’s bogus claim that acting Director of National Intelligence Joe Maguire was threatening to resign. DNI Maguire flatly denied the report, and was on hand to testify to both the House and Senate intelligence committees last week to nip the “coverup” conspiracy theories in the bud. 

The fact that the speaker of the House didn’t even wait for the transcript to be released before declaring her intent to impeach is a clear indication that the whole exercise is a sham. 

The Democrats desperately need a distraction from their party’s alarming lurch toward radicalism. The first few rounds of Democrat presidential primary debates have been unmitigated disasters. Their leading candidates are openly advocating for policies — such as free health care for illegal aliens, fracking bans, and multitrillion-dollar government takeovers of the economy — that are so far outside mainstream opinion that they’re guaranteed to drive voters away from the eventual nominee in the general election. 

Pelosi, who has been under constant pressure from the far-left wing of her caucus to start impeachment proceedings on virtually any pretext, needed to do something to mollify the radicals. 

That may have bought the speaker a short-term reprieve, but the long-term political ramifications will come back to haunt her. The Democrat base that has been clamoring for impeachment since Inauguration Day was always going to vote for the Democrat candidate in 2020, no matter who it is.  

Republicans and independent voters, on the other hand, are reacting to the impeachment announcement by showing their support for the president in the only way they can for the time being: by going online and making a contribution. 

If this week’s GOP fundraising haul is any indication, Pelosi didn’t just drive another nail into the coffin awaiting the Democrats’ nominee next year, she may also be looking at serious losses in the swing House districts that handed her the speaker’s gavel in 2018. The moderate Democrats in those seats are already being put on the spot by the impeachment push. Their Republican challengers are poised to hold them accountable back in their home districts, hoping to ensure that those freshman legislators find themselves out of office next year. 

The true toll of the Democrats’ decision to proceed with this Ukraine farce, of course, is the damage it is already inflicting on our government institutions. The American people won’t look kindly on their politicization of a process that exists as a last resort in a genuine crisis — which this clearly is not. 

We know that this charade won’t result in Donald Trump leaving office, but it may well result in many Democrats leaving theirs.