Wednesday :: Feb 5, 2020

Impeachment and Collateral Damage

by Deacon Blues

There’s no surprise today that the Senate acquitted Trump on both impeachment charges. The Democrats would never get to the two-thirds needed to convict and remove Trump, and the only real question was how many Senate Republicans would listen to the evidence and vote to convict.

We now know only Mitt Romney did so, which means that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee can now tee up its campaigns against Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, and Thom Tillis. They could also stir up a fuss in Georgia and against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina and could do the same in Montana, Iowa, and Texas if the right Democrats jumped into the race. But the presidential-level impacts from the impeachment saga are coming into view, and they aren’t good for the Democrats.

Yes, Nancy Pelosi held out in pursuing impeachment proceedings for the exact reason that such a move would unleash the crazies and drive up GOP support for Trump, which it has now done. We can argue about whether Ukraine was urgent enough for immediate action, and whether a more deliberate subpoena-and-litigate approach to the courts while continuing the investigations was advisable. We can also argue whether it was a realistic strategy to expect any GOP senator on the ballot in 2020 to come out against Trump in advance of their state’s primary election filing deadline, given that
• Maine’s deadline is March 16th
• Colorado’s is March 17th
• Arizona’s is June 25th
Why would Collins, Gardner, or McSally come out against Trump on impeachment if doing so only ensured a primary challenger from the crazies?

The reality is that the Democrats took collateral damage from the impeachment push. First, the Democratic base will be deflated from today’s votes. Second, and just as importantly, the impeachment push may have taken out Joe Biden, who was already doing damage to himself with his campaign and his demeanor. As a Biden supporter, I can say that I think Biden is finished, and only partly because of Iowa. It’s clear that when the Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry, the Republicans took their opportunity to smear Biden and drive down his numbers.

We can argue whether they would have done so if the Democrats had instead kept investigating and going through the courts. But it’s clear to me that between the smear campaign and Biden’s lackluster presentation and demeanor, coupled with an Iowa outcome that failed to meet their own pre-caucus rhetoric, the Biden campaign has taken on too much water. Yes, their intended beachhead all along was to be South Carolina, but if Biden does another flame out in New Hampshire, any decent showing in South Carolina will get bulldozed by what happens in Super Tuesday.

My feeling at this point is that Democrats need to focus much more than they have on taking back the Senate, and secondarily watching to see how the presidential race develops over the spring. We can count on Trump overstepping with his acquittal today and doing something just as egregious as he did the day after Mueller’s congressional testimony with the Ukraine telephone call. Any such outrage will only allow Democrats to hang today’s acquittal around the necks of those vulnerable GOP senators, especially if the courts end up ruling in favor in June of the congressional right to investigate the executive branch.

For me, I’ll be focusing on the Senate from now on, praying for Trump to be Trump.

Deacon Blues :: 2:31 PM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!