Impeachment and Politics Miscellany – Pre-Debate Edition

The next Democratic Primary debate is tomorrow night and I’ll do a summary of the debate and update my rankings after the debate.  Some things I’m thinking about here in the middle of November 2019.

  • I’ve got the impeachment hearings on today.  I’ve watched a little from all of the days of public hearings and have read about them after the fact.  I don’t think the Democrats are changing any Republican minds, but the fears pre-impeachment that they would be a disaster for Democrats politically have been shown to be overblown.  There’s a solid case for impeaching the President and the Democrats are putting it on methodically, if not with “pizzazz.”  The Republicans have been running through various defenses of Trump throughout the process.  Very few of their defenses involved saying that it’s ok he conditioned military aid on an investigation that would help him personally.  Their complaints are mostly process.  I’m not going out on a limb to predict that the Dems will approve impeachment articles out of committee and a majority of the House will vote to impeach Trump.  That’s a big deal, regardless of what happens in the Senate.
  • In the Senate, there’s no reason to expect anything other than acquittal by the Republicans.  The question is whether any Rs will break ranks to save their own electoral prospects.  Voting to acquit could harm Collins, Gardner, McSally, Tillis and Ernst.  It’s worth it just for that vote.
  • I think the best defense the Rs could use to House impeachment is it’s inappropriate, but it’s an election year and I’m going to leave it up to the voters.  The Dem counter argument should be the fact that Trump is trying to influence the election with his actions and, if he is acquitted, it puts the fairness and transparency of the election in question.
  • I understand why Dems are trotting out “bribery” as the word that describes what happens.  It’s a bank shot that gets them right into language used in the Constitution about impeachment.  It’s not a slam dunk, but maybe easier to understand that “quid pro quo.”  I suspect they may use the term as part of an overall Abuse of Power when they’re drafting the Articles of Impeachment.
  • Impeachment and the horse race.  Looks like McConnell is going to use the impeachment trial to divide the Democratic candidates and keep some of them (Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders) out of Iowa in the stretch run there.  I think Moscow Mitch is being too clever by half here.  His best move would be to wrap up the trial as quickly as possible.  Trying to drag it out to harm Democratic presidential candidates might just serve to give them more attention than he wants.  And this redounds to the benefit of the candidates who were also prosecutors in their day – Harris and Klobuchar.
  • As for the debate tomorrow night, I expect there to be, yet again, an extended section on healthcare.  With the attacks on Warren last time and her new plans on the subject, it’ll definitely be a huge topic.  One of the reasons is that it’s the main area where there is a lot of difference among the candidates.  I was listening to a podcast interview of Sherrod Brown today and I think points go to whichever candidate adopts the frame that he used.  Democrats are all for universal coverage.  We can argue about the differences among us, but remember that Trump is trying to take away people’s healthcare.  There’s the real difference.
  • I also expect that Mayor Pete will start getting attacked from below, since he appears to be the new frontrunner in Iowa.  Lots of time to go til the Iowa Caucuses, but I expect that Pete and Warren will be 1-2 in some order there, based on their organization and the makeup of the electorate.
  • I’ve seen some discussion on Twitter about Biden leading big in South Carolina and Nevada.  Since it looks like he’ll lose in Iowa and also probably New Hampshire, Biden seems to believe he has a firewall, of sorts, in the latter two, more diverse states.  My thought is that if Biden finishes 4th or worse in Iowa, he’s done.  If he finishes that far down in Iowa, he’ll definitely lose in New Hampshire, where Warren and Sanders have home court advantage.  With those two losses, I think the lead Biden has in Nevada and South Carolina will shrink away.  For me the bigger question is whether, if Pete wins in Iowa, can he take some momentum from that into the next three contests.  Pete is weak with the national Democratic electorate.  If he’s looking like a winner, can he pick up some African-American support?  You’re probably not hearing it here first, but if Pete gets to the point where he can win the nomination, Stacey Abrams is a great choice for his VP.  She balances his ticket in all the ways that he needs.
  • Michelle Obama has said she wouldn’t run for President.  I wonder if she’d consider being the #2 on someone’s ticket?

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