The Jury Talks Back

12/10/2019

The Democrats Are Blowing the Impeachment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:47 am

How? By not introducing (at least so far) an article of impeachment based on Trump’s obstruction of justice as described in the Mueller report. In particular, telling Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and to prepare a false document denying that Trump gave that order.

The following are arguments that Republicans have made, and will make again in the Senate, against impeachment based on the Ukraine matter:

  • The investigation was begun by partisans, and not by an outside counsel.
  • The acts complained of do not amount to statutory crimes.
  • There is no first-hand witness to the events whose account has been made public.
  • There is an arguable national purpose to the actions that does not relate to President Trump personally.

I’m not saying they are good arguments. The first is irrelevant. The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power. The third is a joke because we have the transcript, I mean the summary, of the call. And the fourth depends on the notion that Trump deeply cared about corruption in Ukraine — but only corruption related to two individuals, a father and a son, and only after the father became his chief political opponent.

But these arguments would be even harder to make about the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. The investigation was done by a special counsel, investigating and finding substantial evidence of statutory violations. McGahn is a firsthand witness and we know what he told Mueller. And telling McGahn to lie has no plausible public justification.

Nothing would change if this article of impeachment were introduced, of course. The Republican hacks in the Senate would vote to acquit on this charge too. But they’d look like even bigger fools doing so than they already will. And there is no reason to give Trump a pass on the egregious behavior outlined in the Mueller report.

Well. They didn’t ask me.

12/9/2019

Reactions To IG Report Released Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

If you’re interested, consider this an open thread about the release of the IG Report, which can be found here.

The voluminous report, released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, identified 17 separate inaccuracies across three surveillance applications, effectively inflating the justification for monitoring former foreign policy adviser Carter Page starting in the fall of 2016.

Horowitz, nevertheless, concluded the FBI was legally justified in launching its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and that there was no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations.”

Reactions:

Attorney General William Barr on Monday rejected a key conclusion of an investigation conducted by his own agency’s watchdog that a probe into Russian interference into the 2016 election was justified.

Barr…called the FBI’s investigation into Moscow’s interference “intrusive” and said it had been launched “on the thinnest of suspicions” — even though the Justice Department’s inspector general report released Monday concluded that the overall probe was justified and not motivated by politics.

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said.

Barr added that “the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”

***

U.S. Attorney John Durham said Monday he disagrees with the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that the FBI was justified in 2016 when it launched an investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Durham was tasked by Attorney General William P. Barr earlier this year to oversee a separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. His investigation is covering much of the same territory as Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

[…]

Mr. Durham says he’s reached a different conclusion.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Mr. Durham said in a statement.

Mr. Durham noted the inspector general’s authority was limited to information within the Justice Department, while his investigation found information from “other persons and entities both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

***

President Trump said Monday the findings of an inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance of his 2016 campaign were “far worse than what I ever thought possible.”

The president told reporters at the White House that he’s been briefed on Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s conclusions. The report found multiple errors and uncorroborated claims in the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants, but said there was no political bias evident.

“It’s a disgrace what’s happened with the things that were done to our country,” Mr. Trump said. “They fabricated evidence and they lied to the courts. This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it, and they got caught.”

He called it “a very sad day … probably something that’s never happened in the history of our country.”

–Dana

About the War In Afghanistan: “The American People Have Constantly Been Lied To”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:54 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post publishes a damning report about the endless war. It’s a long read but well worth your time:

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials. …

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

[…]

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to.”

[…]

“We don’t invade poor countries to make them rich,” James Dobbins, a former senior U.S. diplomat who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan under Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. “We don’t invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan.”

[…]

“I may be impatient. In fact I know I’m a bit impatient,” Rumsfeld wrote in one memo to several generals and senior aides. “We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave.”

“Help!” he wrote.

The memo was dated April 17, 2002 — six months after the war started.

And so it goes…

–Dana

12/7/2019

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 10:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: Uh-oh, not again, Democrats:

2010:

The authors quote Reid as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

[…]

“Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination,” they write.

2019:

While discussing his 2020 competitors with CBS’s Gayle King in an interview that aired Friday morning, Bloomberg said, “Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times, and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times. He’s very well spoken, he’s got some good ideas.”

Second news item: What she said, what she didn’t say (watch video before commenting):

People on social media are piling on her for suggesting that a racist atrocity somehow “hijacked” the meaning of a flag that was carried into battle against the United States by a regime founded to protect its citizens’ prerogative to commit racist atrocities. The Charleston killer knew what that flag meant to black Americans, which is why he embraced it. But Haley’s point, then and now, was that over time many white southerners had come to embrace the flag for more innocuous reasons, as a symbol of southern culture generally. Her point about “hijacking” is that the murders reasserted the flag’s meaning as a symbol of racist violence. Well-meaning whites couldn’t properly look at it the same way afterward as an anodyne symbol of the south, drained of its history.

She’s under no illusions about the flag’s heritage. You know how I know that? Because she talked about it on the day she called for removing the flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.

Third item: Say what??

Fourth news item: Maybe it’s time we stop letting them train here?

Six Saudi nationals were reportedly detained for questioning after a Saudi Arabian aviation student killed three people and injured eight when he opened fire at the Pensacola Naval Base on Friday. The New York Times reports that while they believe the shooter acted alone, at least some of the Saudi nationals called in for questioning were seen filming the entire shooting. No one has confirmed if any of them were involved. SITE Intelligence, a group that monitors jihadist activity, also reported that a man with the gunman’s name, which was identified by the Times as Mohammed Saeed Slshamrani, posted a Twitter message hours before the shooting in which he referred to the U.S. as a “nation of evil” for its support of Israel.

Fifth news item: Seriously?? James Comey??:

I would be a coward if I didn’t speak out': Comey blasts Mattis for silence on Trump.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

12/6/2019

Artist Monkeys Around With Banana, Sells For $120,000

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:23 pm

[guest post by Dana]

When an artist runs out of ideas but knows that the privileged beau monde still need to feel like the world looks at them as uniquely original and are willing to pay whatever it takes to make that happen. Or maybe it’s something more simple, like, there really is a sucker born every minute:

A banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 at Miami’s Art Basel this week — it may be the most talked-about artwork at this year’s event. Two of the three editions have been sold, according to Perrotin, the contemporary art gallery behind the work. The last one is expected to go for $150,000.

The controversial piece, called “The Comedian,” was created by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist who had also entertained art lovers from around the globe in 2017 with his “America” 18-carat-gold toilet. However, the $6-million throne was stolen from England’s Blenheim Palace over the summer.

Emmanuel Perrotin, the gallery founder, told CBS News that Maurizio’s work is not just about objects, but about how objects move through the world.

“Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of the New York Post, his work forces us to question how value is placed on material goods,” he said.

He added that “the spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana.”

Irony all the way around:

Some critics argue this piece is a perfect representation of what the art world has become with its gaping wealth inequalities. Others, however, chose not to go as deep and appreciate the simplicity of the art piece.

–Dana

Democracy Dies In Broad Daylight: Media Should Work Harder To Persuade Americans To Support Impeachment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I say let it die in broad daylight for everyone to see. Margaret Sullivan, former public editor of the New York Times and now a columnist for the Washington Post makes it clear that she supports impeachment (which is her prerogative), and is now calling on members of the media to collectively find a way to *persuade* resistant Americans to get on board the impeachment train. As if persuasion and advocacy is the job of journalists and reporters:

The diplomats have been inspiring, the legal scholars knowledgeable, the politicians predictable.

After endless on-air analysis and written reporting, pundit panels and emergency podcasts, not much has changed.

If anything, weeks into the House of Representatives’ public impeachment hearings, Americans’ positions seem to have hardened on whether President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

So, is the media coverage pointless? Are journalists merely shouting into the void?

Clearly, to Sullivan’s mind, the media should be doing something more than just reporting the news and letting Americans make up their own damn minds. They should be collectively advocating for a specific political position and pushing that onto the masses via media outlets:

[T]hat’s what the nightly newscasts on the three major broadcast networks attempt to do: boil the complex down to a few minutes.

But that audience, although still substantial — more than 20 million people on average per night — certainly doesn’t include everyone. And far too often, those broadcasts fall prey to false equivalency: This side said this, and this side said that, and we don’t want to make anyone mad, so we’ve got to cut to a commercial now.

[H]ere’s the thing: There are facts. There is truth. We do live in a country that abides by laws and a Constitution, and nobody ought to be above them.

Despite the hardened positions, some members of the public are still uncertain. Some are persuadable, and yes, it matters.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the job of American journalism in this moment to get serious about trying to reach these citizens.

Sullivan has tweeted three responses to her post. If these are representative of America at large, then, boy-howdy, we are in trouble:

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

–Dana

U.S. Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:52 am

[guest post by Dana]

What’s not to love: unemployment falls, new jobs, wage growth:

The jobs market turned in a stellar performance in November, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 266,000 and the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, according to Labor Department numbers released Friday.

Those totals easily beat the Wall Street consensus. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for solid job growth of 187,000 and saw the unemployment rate holding steady from October’s 3.6%. The decline in November’s jobless rate came amid a corresponding 0.1 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate, to 63.2%.

Stocks opened sharply higher in reaction to the better-than-expected report. Bond yields also surged.

Some details:

[J]ob gains were spread among a multitude of sectors. Health care added 45,000 positions after contributing just 12,000 in October.

Leisure and hospitality increased by 45,000 and professional and business services rose by 31,000; the two sectors respectively are up 219,000 and 278,000 over the past 12 months. Wage gains also were a touch better than expectations.

Average hourly earnings rose by 3.1% from a year ago, while the average workweek held steady at 34.4 hours.

[…]

“Today’s job report, more than any other report in recent months, squashed any lingering concerns about an imminent recession in the US economy,” said Gad Levanon, head of the Conference Board’s Labor Market Institute. “Employment growth also shows no signs of slowing further despite the historically low unemployment rate.”

PS: The Dow surged 300 points today.

–Dana

12/5/2019

Jesus Wept

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I mean, He wept hard.

This morning, Nancy Pelosi put her political skills on display when a reporter asked her if she hates Trump. Pelosi, who was already moving off stage, turned around, gave him the stink eye and proceeded to dress him down as she returned to the podium where she would be in full focus and on mic so nothing she said would be missed:

“As A Catholic, I resent you using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is heart full of love, and I always pray for the President.”

Good for you for praying for the President, Nancy. But when you’re offended by a reporter associating a word like “hate” with you, and you angrily claim that your Catholicism begets nothing but love in your heart for everyone, there are some third-trimester babies taking it in the back of their fragile little skulls that would like to have a word with you about your definition of “love” and “hate”. If they could speak, that is. And also, if they weren’t dead.

Anyway, Christopher J. Hale, who identifies himself as an Obama campaign alum, TIME opinion contributor & Fox News Democratic regular, and practicing Catholic, posted his reaction to seeing Pelosi masterfully run the table, and I wanted to hit my head against the wall as I realized, this is what today’s Christianity looks like:

I say this with total sincerity: Nancy Pelosi reminds me of Jesus. She’s an enduring witness to truth, to justice, to mercy, and to compassion. The President and his Christian supporters could learn something from her!

If you look at the interaction with James Rosen, I just think the quality of the moment was deeply Christian. It resonated to me in this way: “I don’t hate the man. I’m doing this in service of justice and the common good. I wish him the best, and I pray for him daily.”

In contrast, Trump might actually be the most un-Christian president in our nation’s history—a serial philander who has never asked God for forgiveness and cheated on each of his three wives, including the last one with a porn star while his child was less than a year old.

You can follow the gospel of Jesus Christ or you can follow Donald Trump—a man whose life and character is a total affront to Christ—but you can’t do both.

To believe that Pelosi is an honest representation of Christianity with her righteous indignation, all the while knowing that her compromised faith includes a horrid devaluation of the most innocent lives is a bit mind-boggling. And while Trump is certainly all that Hale claims him to be, it’s a bit rich for Hale to make the serve God or mammon speech after having extolled Pelosi as a paragon of Faith while conveniently ignoring her callousness toward the unborn and disregard for the teachings of the Church.

And it’s not just this particular Democrat’s view of Christianity that I am piling on. It’s the popular Christian figures of the day as well who, in the name of God, have compromised their faith to justify their support of Trump: here, here, here, et cetera. I’m not going to list off the number of God-fearing politicians who have done likewise because that is just a fetid swamp of muck. And besides, we already know who they are, these politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths. And while I’ve never been a fan, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle…” resonates these days.

Anyway, in reading about Pelosi, Hale, and the various “Christian” leaders and politicians who have twisted Christianity to fit their personal and political agendas, I was reminded of this from A.W. Tozer:

“…the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics–but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.”

–Dana

Nancy Pelosi Instructs House To Proceed With Articles Of Impeachment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning:

“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution. He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

Before Pelosi’s announcement, President Trump had urged Democrats to make a quick decision with regard to impeachment:

After Pelosi’s announcement this morning, President Trump came out swinging:

Note:

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine, and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

[…]

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint, the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report found that Trump “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.” When Congress began investigating, it says, Trump obstructed the investigation like no other president in history.

And:

In saying that she was instructing “chairmen” to draft the charges, Ms. Pelosi left open the possibility that the other five panels that have investigated Mr. Trump and his administration — including the Intelligence Committee that drew up the Ukraine report and the Ways and Means Committee that has pressed for the release of the president’s tax returns — could also play roles, a break with past practice.

You can read Pelosi’s full statement here.

Have at it.

–Dana

12/4/2019

How Dare Pete Buttigieg Work With The Salvation Army To Help The Poor, Sneered The Narrow-Minded Critics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Pearl clutching because a gay mayor joined with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Dear God, what fresh hell is this:

Pete Buttigieg is drawing criticism after pictures of him volunteering for the Salvation Army, which has historically opposed gay rights, recently resurfaced on social media.

[…]

In the photos, Buttigieg is seen standing outside Peggs restaurant in South Bend, Indiana, where he is the mayor, for the Red Kettle Ring Off, an annual charity initiative during which public officials compete to raise money for the Salvation Army. While the photos were from 2017, Buttigieg, who has surged to the top of many polls of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, has been participating in the event since at least 2015, according to local news reports. He also held an event at the Salvation Army in South Bend last year.

Enter the angry and aggrieved, upset that a gay man would brazenly break rank and volunteer his time with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Some “concerns”:

“Apparently race issues aren’t the only thing @PeteButtigieg is slow to grasp,” one tweet read, referring to past comments Buttigieg made about the lack of educational role models in low-income, minority neighborhoods. “What is his excuse for not realizing the Salvation Army is homophobic?”

“We in the #LGBTQ & others are nuanced,” wrote one user. “The act of service to others doesn’t mean the absolution of another’s hate to others.”

The irony, of course, is that Mayor Pete was doing what every other mayor in America would do, if asked. In other words, he was serving his community, he was reaching out to others, he was acting on behalf of those in need in a non-discriminatory manner.

Apparently, in certain communities, working alongside those with whom you may not agree should cancel out and supersede any noble call to help others in need. Screw you, poor people! Funny how the those who have benefited in some way from Buttigieg’s work with the Salvation Army haven’t been complaining… Maybe, just maybe when you are homeless, hungry, alone, and simply have no fight left after being worn down by the grinding struggle of life, from whom and where that hot meal, warm coat, and comfort comes doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s just so damn easy to criticize from the cushy, lofty thrones of the smugly privileged. How shameful it is that these critics believe themselves and their cause to be what is most important here. And how blind to not see that a gay man volunteering to work with the Salvation Army is, ironically, an illustration of loving one’s neighbor, and thus a witness in itself. Clearly the mayor and the organization understand that this isn’t about them. Their’s is a greater calling embracing an outward focus on others. That should be celebrated.

In a recent interview with Out, Director of Communications David Jolley clarified the Army’s mission with regard to the LGBT community:

[T]he Salvation Army has “evolved [in its] approach” to serving the LGBTQ+ community. “As we build and remodel emergency shelters and transitional housing across the country, we consider ways to help LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and cared for,” he said. Jolley cited a Las Vegas dorm that exists exclusively for transgender individuals, a San Francisco detox facility for patients with HIV/AIDS, and the organization’s work with transgender sex trafficking victims in Baltimore.

In addition, the organization makes it clear that all are served. You can read more about their LGBTQ outreach here, as well as watch a number of testimonials from gays who have been helped by the Salvation Army:

Serving suffering humanity without discrimination: Oh, that all communities would do likewise.

–Dana

Having Some Fun with the Arguments Used to Defend Trump

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:36 am

I decided to have some fun on Twitter this morning, imagining what it would be like if the same arguments used to defend Trump had been used to defend Hitler.

I am not comparing Trump to Hitler. Anyone who says this in the comments section is a liar. I am a) having some fun and b) comparing arguments in defense and not the people themselves. As odious as Trump is, he is not Hitler.

(If Hitler were living today, however, Trump would suck up to him and praise everything Hitler did, and you know that’s true — because the more like Hitler any current world leader is, the more Trump praises them.)

Without further ado, here are the tweets.

Actually, I had no intention of quitting my day job, but thanks for the unsolicited advice!

12/3/2019

Impeachment, Democrats, And 2020 Key States

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

While most Democrats support impeachment, Democrats in 2020 key states may take a hit as a result, which in turn could benefit Trump:

Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites on the issue, with an average of 86 percent of Democrats supporting impeachment, compared with 9 percent of Republicans. Democrats have grown more united in their support for impeachment since before the inquiry began, when polls showed roughly two-thirds supported impeachment. Among Republicans, an average of 87 percent are opposed, while 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

[…]

Battleground state polls show a more negative reaction to the impeachment inquiry, signaling more risk to Democrats and potential benefit for Trump. An average of 44 percent supported impeachment, with 51 percent opposed, averaging across a dozen October and November polls in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. That’s a flip from an average of national polls that finds support for impeachment narrowly edging opposition, 47 percent to 43 percent.

The depressed support for impeachment in key states was first signaled by a series of New York Times-Siena College polls conducted in mid-October, which found between 51 and 53 percent opposing impeachment in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But several other polls also have found that support for impeachment in key 2020 states lags the country overall. At the most negative, a mid-November Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin found 40 percent of registered voters support impeaching and removing Trump, while 53 percent are opposed. Fox News polls in North Carolina and Nevada showed opposition to impeachment outpacing support by eight and seven points, respectively. The best results in key states have shown voters divided over impeachment, such as a Muhlenberg College poll of Pennsylvania voters.

Obviously these are states that Democrats are going to need to carry if they want to take back the White House in 2020. But in the meantime, Trump’s approval ratings remain steady and fairly unchanged since the impeachment inquiry began in earnest. The indication being that public hearings, witness testimony, and even on-going revelations about the president’s questionable behavior, untruthfulness or anything negative continues to have little impact:

In Gallup polling from mid-September to mid-November, Trump’s approval has tiptoed between 39 percent and 43 percent approving. In Quinnipiac University polls, the story is no different: Between 38 percent and 41 percent of registered voters approved of Trump from late September to late November.

Here are a few observations about impeachment and the 2020 election from three familiar swing states:

From Wisconsin:

About a third of people are saying they’re paying a lot of attention, but a third are saying little or no attention. So there’s, you know, a gap in the sort of degree to which this is a riveting exercise. And the other thing I’d follow up on is that the kinds of issues that we saw motivating voters in 2018 like health care and preexisting conditions are things that are largely absent from the discussion right now as impeachment dominates. When those proceedings are over, presumably we’ll come back to more the issues of the Democratic primary and shaping the fall election…Democrats favor impeachment, but not as nearly universally as Republicans oppose it. And the modest number of independents are a bit more opposed to impeachment than in favor of it, though the gap there’s not large.

From Michigan:

[P]eople here have made it very clear that the impeachment hearings are a political campaign. I don’t get a sense that they’re connecting it right now with anything except the 2016 election and the 2020 election…Trump and his reality show team are master marketers who have convinced his base that he is responsible for everything good in America, whether it’s legacy victories such as low unemployment rates here to the myth that farmers and autoworkers are doing better. No one’s really paying attention to issues because the issue right now is just Donald Trump, and that is not the way I think Democrats can win. Impeachment should not have been a campaign.

From Pennsylvania:

Republican suburban voters – the ones who really have had a problem with Trump’s comportment and either sat it out in 2016 or voted with them – but in 2018, they decided they wanted to put the brakes on him. They’re really struggling now with these new congressional members who ran on, you know, a different kind of politics – who ran on health care, who ran on, you know, getting things done. And they’re frustrated with this vote that they made.

Not that they like Trump any more – they still don’t like him. But they’re frustrated that the vote that they did give to the Democrats has turned out to be sort of opening up the road towards impeachment, and they don’t like that.

Can Democrats have already forgotten the brutal experiences of Hillary Clinton in those three states during the last presidential election?

–Dana

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