Friday, April 26, 2019


A new poll says that Americans don't want the president impeached:
A majority of Americans say they oppose calls for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the president sought to interfere with the probe, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Currently 37 percent of Americans favor starting the process that could lead to impeachment, a slight dip over the past month, while 56 percent say they oppose the idea, about the same as a month ago....

Roughly 6 in 10 Democrats say they support the initiation of such an investigation in the House, with 53 percent saying they hold that view strongly. Meanwhile, nearly 9 in 10 Republicans oppose impeachment, with 78 percent strongly opposed.

About six in 10 independents are against impeachment....
And yet:
Asked their view of whether the report cleared Trump of all wrongdoing, 53 percent of Americans say it did not while 31 say it did....

On the question of whether Trump did or did not try to obstruct Mueller’s probe, 47 percent say he did try to interfere while 41 percent say he did not.
And please note that the "interfere" question is worded this way:
Do you think Trump tried to interfere with the Russia investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice, or did he not try to do this?
I'm reasonably certain that most Americans know that obstruction of justice is a crime. Yet at least 10% of the respondents who think Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice don't believe he should be impeached. At least 16% of those who believe he was not cleared by the Mueller report think he shouldn't be impeached. Also, 58% of poll respondents believe Trump "lied to the American public about the matters under investigation by Mueller," which means that at least 21% of these people think Trump shouldn't be impeached.

I realize that many Trump critics don't want to bother with impeachment because it seems futile (the Senate will never convict), or because they think impeachment will alienate swing voters going into 2020, or because they think the 2020 election is just around the corner (even though a year and a half is a long time).

But I also suspect that many Americans have simply come to accept the notion that white guys in expensive suits routinely get away with white-collar crime, and it's just the natural order of things not to bring them to justice, or even to make an attempt at prosecution. The bankers got away with crashing the economy a decade ago. The executives who gave us the opioid crisis are all still at large. The George W. Bush administration got away with torture and Ronald Reagan escaped punishment for Iran-contra. That's just how it goes.

That would explain why rank-and-file Democrats aren't united in a push for impeachment -- as noted above, only 62% favor it and only 53% strongly favor it, while 87% of Republicans oppose it, 78% strongly. What you don't see among Democrats is the opinion expressed by many lefty pundits that impeachment must happen, otherwise it means we've given up on the rule of law. I think many Democrats believe that happened quite a while ago.

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