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Photo by J. Scott Applewhite of The Associated Press / Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, walks to join fellow Democrats as they prepare their impeachment case against President Donald Trump.

Today is the day Democrats promised when Donald Trump was elected in 2016 — the day he is impeached.

In what promises to be an almost party-line vote, a majority of members of the Democrat-led United States House of Representatives will vote "yes" on two charges they have ginned up against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Only a few Democrats may break ranks, and no Republican is expected to vote to impeach.

A trial in the Republican-led Senate, likely to be held in January, almost assuredly will result in an acquittal of the charges.

Trump will become only the third president impeached by the House, and Democrats are hoping, pleading and praying the stain will be enough to tarnish him for re-election in November 2020.

At this point, things don't look so good for their side. In almost every poll, Americans have been against impeachment, especially including the so-called independent voters Democrats would need to win back the presidency next year.

Other polls have shown Trump being favored for re-election in the Rust Belt states that he surprisingly won in 2016, and by a growing number of black voters that Democrats must have if they are to win.

Although we predicted weeks ago Democrats would not be able to keep themselves from impeaching the president, well before it became a certainty, no one could have foreseen four years ago we would be at this point.

In December 2015, after all, everyone knew 2016 would be Hillary Clinton's year. Spurned by Barack Obama before she could be coronated in 2008, she was now to get her due. And none of the dozen and a half Republicans looked strong enough to beat her.

Not the least of which was Trump, the New York businessman, real estate baron and reality television host who had soared to the top of the polls despite a less-than-antiseptic personal life, despite his tendency to bite the media hand that fed him, and despite a cruel habit of tasteless comments on individuals and groups.

He was expected to fade from the nomination race after the first of the year, then after the early primaries, then certainly by late in the chase. And even when he secured the nomination of a reluctant Republican Party, he was never given a chance against Clinton.

On the day of his election, if the Michael Wolff book "Fire and Fury" is to be believed, he was prepared to lose, hoping the race would propel him back into television. He also had, according to the book, assured his wife, Melania, he would lose and that she would never have to give up the private life she so much preferred.

As it turned out, voters didn't like the arrogant and scandal-plagued Clinton, and enough of them didn't like her to give Trump an Electoral College victory.

While Trump was figuring out what to do with a win, Democrats were vowing to keep him from serving out his term.

That's how we got to today, that and a phone call the president made to his Ukrainian counterpart in July. That phone call, in which he suggested the Eastern European leader look into corruption that swirled around former Vice President Joe Biden and his son involving a Ukrainian energy company, was the rope Democrats decided would hang the president.

Ironically, in the Woolf book, one of the first messages the newly inaugurated Trump was supposed to have been given was not to mess with, and stay on the good side of, the intelligence community. He never cottoned to that suggestion, and it was an intelligence community whistleblower who turned Democrats onto the phone call with the Ukrainian president.

After several weeks of impeachment hearings when the terms "quid pro quo" and "bribery" came and went, Democrats decided the phone call and the hold-up of aid to the country constituted abuse of power, and the president's asking members of his administration not to cooperate with the investigation would fit for obstruction of Congress.

To most Americans, it sounded like much ado about nothing, or at least very little. Trump released a transcript of his conversation, no investigations were done in the Ukraine and the aid to that country was delivered.

For this, many questioned, they want to overturn our vote in 2016?

The president will be the first of the three impeached presidents to run for re-election. President Andrew Johnson in 1868 was not renominated by his party after his impeachment, and President Bill Clinton was already in his second term during his. Neither was convicted.

But Trump's trial promises to be interesting because it is likely to take several Democratic presidential candidates off the road, giving some of their opponents more exposure in early primary states. And since none of them are likely to vote to acquit Trump, they're not likely to curry any favor with voters who may have been neutral about Trump but thought impeachment a bridge too far.

Trump, being Trump, will play the martyr throughout the presidential race. Whether that will allow him to return a Republican majority to the House is up in the air. So far, most House Democrats elected in 2018 have said they will vote for impeachment.

However, one freshman Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, said he will not vote for impeachment and will switch parties.

Democrats, knowing the all-but-assured vote in the Senate, want to complete the process, choose their nominee and continue to hang the "I" around Trump's neck.

And if Trump is re-elected, several House members already have raised the possibility of an impeachment sequel.

But today belongs to the Democrats. They'll have the victory they have vowed they would get since 2016. As 2020 comes and goes, though, it may seem a hollow victory.

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