The split between Trump and McConnell on the Senate trial is that Trump would like to blow it up and call witnesses while McConnell and most senators want to get it over with as fast as possible.
Both strategies have their merits.
The McConnell strategy would essentially toss impeachment out the door without taking it seriously. That’s infuriating Democrats who want a show. And it protects Senate Republicans from getting tangled in a mess. The Senate trial can’t actually nail Democrats for anything. Trump is the one being impeached. So the strategy made a certain amount of sense.
But the polls are increasingly going Trump’s way. The economic numbers are no doubt the core of it. People feel very good about the economy. But the impeachment backlash is no doubt helping too. Trump is now topping the Democrat candidates in the polls. That’s a sea change.
(The legitimacy of the polls is its own debate. We already know that polls tend to undercount support for President Trump.)
The big question though is what a more prolonged impeachment would do for Republicans in the House and Senate? It’s an understandable concern. We just had another terrible spending deal that funds lefty priorities, including a government constituency for pushing gun control. And yes, we’ve had terrible spending deals with a Republican majority. But a Democrat majority would be even worse.
And it could make an actual impeachment go through.
That’s the underlying strategic question.
The polls show that impeachment is hurting the Dems and helping Trump. That’s an argument for a trial with witnesses.
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