BOSTON (CBS) – We’re underway with round two of the impeachment process, with Democrats looking almost certain to report out articles of impeachment for a full vote on the House floor before year’s end, with a Senate trial likely to start in January.
What are the current risks for both parties in this spectacle?
Let’s start with the Republicans, who were feeling pretty sanguine about impeachment back in March, when only 36% of Americans supported impeachment and removal from office according to CNN polling.
Release of the Mueller report in mid-April bumped that up a little bit, but it hit 50% when the Ukraine phone call became public in September, and that’s where it has stayed.
The prospect of several more months of negative publicity about what President Trump, Rudy Giuliani et al were up to can’t be good for Republicans, especially since the latest polling shows large majorities of Democrats, independents and even Republicans do not buy the White House spin that Ukrainian meddling in our election is the real scandal.
Continued reminders of what most Americans don’t like about Mr. Trump and damage to GOP credibility is a one-two punch to Republican political standing.
But what about the Democrats? They are not without risk here.
In the most recent polling, a majority of voters say they prefer to decide President Trump’s fate at the polls next fall. I can see Trump voters who are up for grabs this time punishing the Democrats for suggesting otherwise.
And with the trade wars dragging on while economic warning signs keep popping up, I suspect most of the Democratic candidates for president and lower office would prefer to see more focus on those issues over all-impeachment-all-the-time.
Plus, did you realize that the senators still running for president will have to sit silently at their desks all day, six days a week, while a Senate trial goes on? That could leave Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennett unable to campaign much in person through the early primary and caucus season.
Partisans on both sides have claimed they’re ready to rumble. Which evokes the old saying: be careful what you wish for.