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House impeachment effort

October 1, 2019

I guess i’ll put down a few words about the “big political news”.

As of last week, an “impeachment investigation” is under way in the House of Representatives. Although the center of effort is the House Intel committee rather than House Judiciary, the seriousness of the effort is indicated by the fact that House Majority leader Pelosi went to the trouble of getting nearly every Democratic member of the House (224 out of 235) to go on record as supporting it.

I hadn’t realized at first that Pelosi went and got so much support, but she did. Even Democrats who just barely got elected, who really risk paying a price come the next election – they had to go somewhere public, maybe their local media, and go on the record stating their support for the impeachment-investigation (although not impeachment itself). It’s fairly easy to tell which Representatives are uncomfortable with it, it’s when the statement is phrased something like “I believe we should follow the evidence and see where it leads”. Regardless, such high support for the investigation is a tremendous show of support for Biden.

Another aside is that no such support was evident earlier this year, in June, when Representative Al Green (D-TX) tried to introduce Articles of Impeachment in the House. At that time, the cause was Trump’s plainly racist twitter statement telling several US Representatives something like ‘they should go back to whatever crap countries they came from’.

So I would point out that the likelyhood of Mitch McConnell removing Trump is exactly the same now as it was in June, but the evidence in June (the tweet) was not at all disputed, and there was no collateral damage to Biden. Not that I have much sympathy for his politics.

In contrast, this time we have Trump asking Ukraine’s president to revive an investigation into the company of Biden’s son. Obviously intended to damage Biden. Except the investigation was previously halted at Biden’s request – which Biden himself characterized as a threat he personally made to Ukraine’s then president to withhold IMF funds if Ukraine did not halt the then-investigation (i.e. fire the prosecutor). With the prosecutor getting fired immediately according to Biden.

So I’m having a really hard time understanding why Pelosi (or whoever) picked this particular one. Since we’re talking about Trump here, there is no shortage of semi-ethical or entirely-unethical things to choose from. I mean, after the hysteria dies down, maybe in a year, the actual details of the story will do as much damage to Biden as Trump. The Republicans will never let it go. And not only does it validate the playing-the-victim that helped Trump get elected last time (would be true of any impeachment effort), it is actually kindof hard to say that what Trump did in this case was worse than what Biden did.

This strikes me as a spectacularly myopic move.

Rant off… The decision is made, the die is cast, and this is the story that’s going to be sold for the next year probably, so get comfortable.


 

The effect on the primaries is of more immediate interest. Leading up to last week, it looked like Biden was slipping in the polls. There wasn’t really enough data to say how much. But in the early primary states, IA, NH, and NV, but not SC, he does seem to be falling behind to Warren. And with California’s primary now on Super Tuesday (March 3rd), the primary will require a good “start” more so than previous years’ races. (Biden isn’t doing great in CA either).

Biden’s primary campaign is about his claim of electability, essentially. And the near-unanimous support from House Democrats does in a way address that – it shows Biden has the D party leadership solidly behind him. But everyone already knew that. Actual electability, in the general election, it will be about popular appeal. No superdelegates to save the day. The nominee will need votes in a handful of swing states.

So what will independents think of impeachment? What will independents in PA, FL, AZ think, specifically? Especially PA? PA just had a redistricting prior to the 2018 race, which makes it a bit confusing to analyze at the congressional district level. Hopefully there will be more info coming out of the keystone state. That’s where all eyes should be.

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