Numerous pundits on both sides of the political aisle are still parroting the line that impeachment will somehow help Trump’s odds in 2020, even though there’s zero evidence of this. None of the pundits have even bothered to try to offer a reasonable explanation or how it supposedly would gain him any votes. They just keep saying it.
Some of these pundits suggested that impeachment would fire up Trump’s base. What does that even mean? These are the people who are already going to vote for him anyway. There’s not one person out there who will say “I wasn’t going to vote for Trump, but now that he’s been impeached, I’m voting for him.” At best, these pundits are simply parroting a line they heard from Donald Trump’s slogan department, without putting any thought into it of their own. At worst, the pundits are trying to scare you into thinking impeachment will magically help Trump, so you’ll be sufficiently paralyzed with fear to keep tuning in.
The Senate impeachment trial won’t gain Trump a single 2020 vote, no matter how it plays out. If McConnell overplays his hand, it may or may not cost him the senate. Democrats won’t lose the House in 2020 over impeachment. That’s the extent of the remaining impeachment drama. It’s basically over at this point. So we’ll head into the post-impeachment phase of the 2020 election in the same position as before. Liberal voters got their impeachment and therefore won’t revolt against House Democrats. Trump’s 2020 poll numbers are roughly as pathetic as they were before impeachment began.
At no point since Trump took office has he been remotely in contention for 2020. Everything he’s tried (so far) has failed to boost his non-competitive poll numbers. His latest swings, Ukraine extortion and the inspector general report, have been strikeouts. Didn’t gain him any votes. Trump will keep trying of course. We have to work hard against the possibility that he gets lucky with one of his dumb 2020 schemes. Nothing he tried in 2016 helped him much, but due to a series of unlikely events… well, we all know how that went.
To play it safe, we should aim to beat Trump by five points in 2020 to overcome electoral college wonkiness, GOP voter suppression, Russian attempts, etc. None of those things can move the needle more than a small amount. You can’t rig an election that isn’t close to begin with. If we work hard and work smart, Trump will lose. If we sit paralyzed with fear because the pundits on TV and the fatalists on social media keep telling us Trump is magically going to win no matter what, then he just might win – and it’ll be our fault for sitting paralyzed instead of diving in and making sure he loses.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report