Will a Measure to Impeach Trump Be on S.F.’s November Ballot?

The measure is partially aimed at Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who already has a fragile needle to thread for the midterms.

People hold up signs during a rally held by San Francisco supervisors calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump outside City Hall in October 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

As the San Francisco Department of Elections is still counting ballots from last week’s election, a group of activists paved a path on Monday for a November ballot measure that would tell federal representatives to impeach President Donald Trump.

A group of activists filed their intent to collect enough signatures to place a local measure on the November ballot that directly tells federal representatives to initiate the impeachment process. Impeach Vote Yes — already armed with a website to enlist volunteers — take particular aim at San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who have distanced themselves from the impeachment efforts but could lead Congress if the Democrats regain control after the midterms.

“After the November 2018 elections, San Francisco’s elected representatives may become the leaders of the next Congress,” states the Impeach Vote Yes campaign on its website. “That’s why it is critical that they hear a loud and clear message from the people they are elected to represent that we will demand they take immediate action to begin proceedings to impeach Trump and Pence and remove them from office without delay.” 

Of course, at the heart of the campaign is opposing Trump, who it says “has repeatedly and blatantly misused and abused the office of president, the Constitution of the United States, and the public trust.” The campaign also cites the country’s diminishing global standing and near nuclear war at Trump’s hands.

Local government officials hardly disagree. In November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution that primarily focused on obstruction of justice, corruption, and collusion with Russia as substantial reasons to impeach Trump.

“I don’t think it’s grandstanding. I think it’s doing something very constructive,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer at the time. “We feel now there are already enough reasons for impeachment.”

Billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer launched a $10 million ad campaign that same month with the same message. Jon Golinger of Impeach Vote Yes has indicated to SF Weekly that it will reach out Steyer and others who have worked toward impeachment.

As infuriating as it may be for passionate Trump opponents, Pelosi has to thread the anti-Trump needle much more carefully at the federal level. She has already become the new bogeywoman to rile up the conservative base into supporting Republican candidates now that Hillary Clinton is mostly out of the picture.

Pelosi also has to convince voters in Trump-supporting areas that Democrats have a better vision, and no, it’s centered around impeaching him. At the same time, Trump adversaries are well aware that Democratic control of Congress is the last, best shot to hold Trump accountable in his first term.

Once the City Attorney’s Office returns an official prepared title and summary for the measure, the group can begin gathering the required 9,485 valid signatures. Golinger says they aim to submit 15,000 by the July 9 deadline and with all the fire and fury Trump garners, it’s certainly feasible.

In this case, Pelosi might be glad that local ballot measures — especially ones from her district — hardly gain outside attention. 

UPDATE, 6/20: Though the campaign received the official title and summary from the City Attorney’s office are allowed to collect signatures, it has decided to support a ballot initiative put forward by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, according to Golinger. If passed, the measure would create checks and balances to keep local resources from aiding discriminatory federal laws and have the city “consider” putting money where federal cuts leave a hole.

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