As Thumbs Twiddle
Yesterday, a new MSN poll was reported on the Senate trial, and it showed the public favoring conviction of Trump by a margin of 55%-40%. I don’t put much credence in an single, standalone poll, but like to compare them to either others or what their own numbers have been in previous weeks. Also, I don’t know the track record of the MSN poll. But what I found noteworthy is not so much that their numbers on impeachment and conviction are so pronounced, but that a week ago their numbers were largely tied. The thinking is that Republican action to block witnesses and hold a kangaroo court may be impacting public reaction. Also, women voters seem to be deserting Trump in greater numbers, so that might be having an effect, as well.
On the heels of this I also saw the most recent Politico/Morning Consult poll on impeachment/conviction. It’s not new, but from last Friday. And they have the numbers 51% for – 42% against. While not the same as that new MSN poll, the nine-point separation is certainly in the same ballpark, most-especially compared to the 48%-47% most polls had a week or so ago.
I have to think the more time that passes the more bad news will come out against, even if the bad news is just about the continued blocking by Republicans. I base this on the profound unlikelihood that there will be any breaking "good news" for Trump about Ukraine. And on the joint capabilities of Trump tweeting and Rudy Giuliani rambling being their own worst enemies, with at the very least a week to go before the House even sends over its Articles of Impeachment, and longer for a trial to start and both of those two fine fellows having nothing to do in the meantime.
That said, as long as the poll numbers for conviction are in the 50s, I think Senate Republicans will be able to ignore things. I just get the sense that it would have to hit the 60s and Trump numbers would have to be in the mid-30s for them to react – and those markers will be hard to hit. But not impossible.
What I still don’t know is how many Senate Republicans will vote for conviction. I’m not even sure that Lisa Murkowski will, regardless of how “troubled” she is. And I have no confidence in Mitt Romney. I think more than most Republicans he's aching to vote "Yes," having been the one-time standard bearer for the party and having been humiliated by Trump when putting together his cabinet -- and he's in one of the safest seats in the Senate with five years to go on his term. But Romney is also someone who talks a better game than acts on it. So, the number of Republicans who vote to convict could be zero. Or four. Or – depending on what the polls are in January, more. Or – who knows?
Having said that, if Susan Collins doesn’t vote for conviction, I’d make a bet that she loses her Senate race. On the one hand, that almost makes her the most-likely Republican to vote Yes. On the other hand, this is Collins – who knows?
Somewhat related to this, I was very glad to read yesterday that Democrats are planning to do something I’ve been expecting and wrote about here a few weeks back. When Republicans were touting how “at risk” some House Democrats were in swing districts, I wrote that they’re ignoring how “at risk” Republicans are in their own swing districts. And now there are stories about how the Democrats are going to be going after those! I’m sure they’ve been planning this for a while – how could they not??
And now, the Senate has adjourned until December 30. So, nothing to do for Trump. And Giuliani. Except play golf, tweet and give drunken interviews...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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