Monday, September 30, 2019


As House Democrats pursue impeachment, thet worry that voters in swing districts might not like what they're doing. Politico reports:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top deputies laid out the strategy during a private conference call Sunday afternoon. The plan ... underscores longstanding concerns that an impeachment push could jeopardize some of the toss-up seats in 2020 that helped the party win the majority last year.
A New York Times story echoes these concerns:
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Orange County was the epicenter of the 2018 House Democratic takeover, where Republicans lost four seats in what was once the heart of Ronald Reagan conservatism in California. On Saturday night, as three of the victorious Democrats were honored at an annual political dinner, a new battle was on everyone’s minds: How to protect those gains in 2020 by selling voters on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
Democrats are worried that voters in these swing districts might resent them for pursuing impeachment. But the Times finds that much of the worrying is being done by pro-impeachment voters, who are concerned that other voters might be anti-impeachment.
That Democratic messaging challenge came into sharp relief during interviews with voters like Donna Artukovic, a retired teacher who was volunteering at the Orange County dinner. Ms. Artukovic expressed nervousness about what an impeachment battle could mean for Democratic candidates.

“I am afraid it’s going to hurt them,” she said. “A lot of people — even who don’t like Trump — don’t like impeachment.”
And, in fact, the response to the impeachment probe seems to be quite positive in these districts.
In some of the more affluent districts that Democrats flipped last year, the first-term lawmakers have received reassurance in recent days that they are making the right decision. [Congressmen Harley] Rouda, [Mike] Levin and [Gil] Cisneros all said in separate interviews that the calls and emails that had come into their offices in the last week had been overwhelmingly in favor of pursuing impeachment.

And Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who was the first freshman lawmaker to come out for the investigation last Monday, said that he received a number of calls from Republicans and independent voters who had pressed him to hold the president accountable.
In a separate Times story, we read about Democratic congressman Max Rose, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, and whose district gave President Trump 58% of its vote in 2016, and who hasn't backed an impeachment inquiry. He's supposed to be vulnerable because of the inquiry, but the Times can't seem to find anyone who backed Rose in 2018 and is now thinking of rejecting him based on the perception that Democrats are being too aggressive.

Once again, we have a liberal voter worried that her fellow voters are less liberal:
Marguerite Rivas, a professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, said she had voted for Mr. Rose and was disappointed with his careful approach. But she accepted it so long as his vote was not needed for impeachment....

“I would rather he play to the middle and get re-elected as a Democrat,” Professor Rivas said as she left Kings Arms Diner.
And another Rose voter who wonders why Rose is being so cautious:
... Arthur Alinovi, ... now retired from a job at a bank, ... voted for Mr. Rose. He said he was disappointed in what he perceived as Mr. Rose’s preoccupation with holding onto his seat.

“There are more things in life than being a senator or congressman,” Mr. Alinovi said.

Still, Mr. Alinovi said Mr. Rose’s hesitation was not likely to make him change his vote.

“I wouldn’t vote for a Republican if my life depended on it,” he said.
And here's a Republican who likes Rose personally but wouldn't vote for him if his life depended on it:
... Junior Barone ..., 70, a retired police officer, said he had met Mr. Rose during the campaign, when Mr. Rose visited the tavern. Mr. Barone had bought him a drink and invited him to chat; he found him likable. And, he said, he agreed with Mr. Rose’s call for more information on the impeachment inquiry.

But Mr. Barone, a staunch supporter of Mr. Trump, said that would not sway him to vote for Mr. Rose. “I like him,” Mr. Barone said. “The only thing I don’t like about him is he’s a Democrat.”
In fact, to judge from this story, the risk to Rose seems to be from voters who might withhold support precisely because he's cautious:
Sally McMahon, a founder of Fight Back Bay Ridge, an activist group in southern Brooklyn, said Mr. Rose seemed overly focused on appealing to Republicans on Staten Island, at the cost of preserving support among progressives in Brooklyn. The district’s Brooklyn neighborhoods accounted for most of Mr. Rose’s margin of victory.

“If he does not come out for impeachment, I have a write-in candidate,” Ms. McMahon said.
Times reporters go to a lot of diners, and I recognize that they don't come away from these forays with representative samples of voters. Nevertheless, they don't seem to be finding voters who are rejecting Democratic members of Congress because impeachment is now on the table -- and it's obvious that that's the story they want to tell, or at least expected to uncover. Hey, maybe they aren't finding those voters because most swing voters actually understand why an impeachment inquiry is justified.

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