Where was President Trump last night while House Dems (with the notable exception of Tulsi Gabbard) were voting to impeach him? He was in Battle Creek, Michigan – a critical swing state – doing what Trump does best: campaigning.
And understandably so. Polls suggest that Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were right to initially oppose impeachment, because at least half of voters – instead of being swayed by Pelosi’s arguments about a sworn duty to defend the constitution – believe the Dems have wrongfully persecuted the president, and are ready to reelect him in 2020, even if there’s no precedent for a president being reelected following impeachment.
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According to Bloomberg News, not exactly a Trump-friendly outlet, recent polls have shown weakening support for Trump’s removal from office, and in states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, data and interviews suggest impeachment has only galvanized support for President Trump.
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The message to the American people, as Trump put it in a tweet:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
Later, he touted the fact that Republicans are 100% united behind him.
100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
Trump’s chances of being convicted in the Senate are essentially zero (though we’re sure Mitch McConnell will enjoy the leverage that presiding over such a trial will inevitably bring). And on Wednesday night, as the Dems voted to impeach, Trump told supporters in Battle Creek exactly what they wanted to hear.
That the Dems were the real lawbreakers, having abused the Constitutional process to persecute a president against whom they harbor an almost pathological antipathy.
“This lawless, partisan impeachment is a political suicide march for the Democratic party,” Trump told supporters in Battle Creek, Michigan, a Republican stronghold that helped him win the traditionally Democratic state in 2016.
Across the battleground states of the midwest, polls and anecdotal evidence suggest Trump will have the upper hand in 2020. Some 52% of registered Wisconsin voters oppose Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, according to a recent Marquette University Law School poll. The amount who support impeachment is just 40%.
Independent voters across the state sing Trump’s praises.
Trump also enjoys a receptive audience across swaths of Wisconsin. Dawn Anderson, 60, said that she and her husband are independents who voted for Trump in 2016 and can’t wait to do it again next year.
“I’m mad,” she said in an interview outside a Woodman’s Markets grocery store in Kenosha. “He shouldn’t have to defend himself the way he is.”
Trump won Wisconsin by some 22,000 votes in 2016, a margin of less than 1%. It was the first time a Republican won the state since 1984.
When discussing the impact of impeachment on Trump’s share of the vote in Wisconsin, one Republican Party official in the state compared the impact of impeachment to the impact of the recall vote on Gov. Scott Walker, which also galvanized the state’s conservatives to take a stand against Democrats who were believed to be unfairly persecuting another.
People who never voted before registered and supported Walker because they were so annoyed at the Democrats.
In his office in Madison, Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, pulled out a poster-sized map of the state from beneath a pile of Trump and Mike Pence merchandise. The map showed county-level voting results from the 2016 election for both Trump and Ron Johnson, the state’s Republican U.S. senator.
Jefferson pointed out areas where Johnson enjoyed a higher margin of victory over his opponent than Trump did – growth opportunities for the president in 2020, he said. The party tailors its message in part based on geography: rural voters may be more attracted to Trump’s unconventional approach to governing, while those in suburbs may be more interested in his policy achievements, Jefferson said.
He likened the impact of impeachment to former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 re-election campaign, which followed a failed effort to recall the Republican.
“I took my car to a mechanic here in Dane County and he was an older guy about 70 years old, said he had never voted before in his life, but he went and voted this one time because he was so irritated with the recalls,” Jefferson said. “I think there are going to be some people who are really turned off by this.”
Indeed, earlier this week, President Trump once again showed off his innate talent for politics with his six-page letter to Nancy Pelosi, warning that the impeachment vote would backfire.
“He’s a counter-puncher,” said Kelly Sadler, a spokeswoman for America First, the primary Super-PAC working on Trump’s re-election. “We’re being aggressive because we know that this is a highly partisan endeavor.”
Trump’s party is firmly behind him, with the support of more than 9 in 10 Republicans, there isn’t even one credible candidate coming forward to try and challenge Trump for the nomination despite the impeachment. That tells us everything we need to know about its credibility.
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