It probably says a lot about US politics at present that both main political parties face heavy head winds in a crucial election year.
Donald Trump, despite his habitual bluster and insistence that he has done nothing wrong, will this week have to grapple with the reality of being only the third US president to be impeached as his trial begins in the Republican-controlled Senate.
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While his removal from office still looks remote, the stain of impeachment cannot be washed away. It's one exclusive club Trump will hate being a member of.
At the weekend House Democrats laid out their case. Trump's lawyers did not deny key facts such as the President's withholding of nearly US$400 million in military aid to Ukraine and that he asked the country's leader to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden.
Trump's defence team said he was operating within his powers and fighting against corruption when he did so. They called the charges an "unlawful" attempt to doom his re-election bid. Democratic officials said Trump's behaviour "is corruption itself, naked, unapologetic and insidious".
The Democrats have turned up the heat by releasing documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Parnas told MSNBC that: "President Trump knew exactly what was going on".
And yet, despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's careful herding of her party through the impeachment process, outside Washington the Democrats are struggling to take advantage of a wounded Trump.
What they wouldn't give to go into November's election with an inspirational figure on their ticket with wide appeal to be sure of putting Trump away - assuming he stays in office in the interim.
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Instead, just a couple of weeks from the opening contest in Iowa, not only does the party have a bunch of rather flawed, unsatisfying candidates, its membership is divided over what its priorities should be, the best way to beat Trump and what the electorate is looking for.
Does the country want radical changes or a return to old-school normalcy? Should the party concentrate on exciting its base, or try to appeal to independents, swing voters and moderate Republicans? Are issues such as healthcare the key to victory or is it more important to provide a strong contrast to Trump?
There is no one with the charisma and promise of Bill Clinton in 1992 or Barack Obama in 2008 who could take re-election out of Trump's reach. This is more like Al Gore or John Kerry wrestling with George W. Bush.
Can anyone be a unity candidate? The squabble between Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren shows that even with contenders who are ideological stable mates, stylistic differences can seriously divide supporters.
Still Trump's behaviour, job record, and links to unsavoury characters, is a major drag on his own prospects.
An incumbent president in a well-performing economy would ordinarily be expected to win. Impeachment, and the fact that Republicans will have to own it during the election campaign if they let Trump off the hook, add to the uncertainty.
The President's ratings put him in a beatable zone. But the Democrats will likely have to rely on a high turnout inspired by the desire to turf Trump out rather than enthusiasm for their nominee.