Republicans Panic About 2020 After Senate Witness Vote


This week, Senate Republicans voted against having witnesses at President Donald Trump’s ongoing Senate impeachment trial, which essentially amounted to them fast-tracking an acquittal for the president, no matter the ample evidence that Democrats have presented implicating him in a scheme to bribe Ukraine into investigating his opponents. Hoped-for swing vote Lamar Alexander of Tennessee joined those against witnesses, pompously insisting that the voters should decide Trump’s fate and the Senate should abandon the case — but the voters have already made their voices heard, and Republicans who’ve put their careers on the line with Trump are facing tough consequences this November.

Alexander admitted that Trump’s behavior was “inappropriate,” but he claimed that it was not worth impeaching him over. The Daily Beast’s David Lurie points out:

Yet Alexander’s two weak arguments are directly at odds with one another. If Alexander and his fellow Republicans have chosen to abdicate their constitutional duty to pass judgment on Trump’s wrongdoing, and to hand that responsibility over to the voters, it then follows that they should have deferred to the demand of the overwhelming majority of voters to hear Bolton’s testimony, as reflected in poll after poll.’

It’s true — a recent CNN survey found that 75 percent of Americans overall wanted to hear from witnesses, which even included 49 percent of Republicans. Yet, Republicans in the Senate did not listen, no matter their self-righteous claimed deference to the will of the voters.

Lurie continues:

‘While Alexander is leaving the Senate, his Republican colleagues who will remain in the world’s greatest deliberative body will have to explain their conduct to the voters, many of them this November when they appear on the ballot together with the president in whose service they just undermined the Constitution.’

The lack of actual public support where the president and his defenders have claimed to have some mirrors what went on before Trump was actually impeached, too. Trump kept claiming that the American people were on his side, and his defenders kept claiming that Americans could see through the supposed noise of Democratic arguments — but in poll after poll, majorities of Americans supported the impeachment investigation as a whole as well. Often, the two sides were quite close, but there was nowhere near the kind of overwhelming support for their position that Republicans claimed.

It’s worth noting that at least one Republican Senator might be consciously aware of this. Maine’s Susan Collins decided at the last minute to vote in favor of hearing from witnesses — and she’s also facing a tough re-election battle this year. She holds one of three GOP Senate seats that the Cook Political Report currently rates as toss-ups. The others are Martha McSally’s in Arizona and Cory Gardner’s in Colorado, and beyond that, there are also three which they rate as only “leaning” Republican, which is the last stop before toss-up status. Those three are in Georgia, North Carolina, and Kansas, and they potentially set up some major losses for the Republican Party when elections roll around this November.