Moderate Democrats Frustrated, Anxious, as Leadership Barrels Towards Impeachment
As Democrat leadership barrels forward on impeachment, moderate Democrats are reportedly feeling anxious and frustrated over its political consequences.
“The fact of the matter is this does have political consequences and the people who will suffer significant political consequences are our moderate members,” a moderate Democrat told CNN on Friday.
The member, who wished to speak anonymously, said:
In fact, there are on-year amounts of money being spent in districts all across our moderates. For our leadership not to engage with moderates at all to either talk about how they are going to message or what they are going to put in it, seems to be a giant oversight.
Another moderate Democrat member lamented to CNN that all the information they were getting about articles of impeachment being drafted is “secondhand.”
The member, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said:
I would say, look, I am concerned about not knowing what the articles will have in them. I am concerned about the timeline of this whole impeachment process. For me, right now, I am struggling to see how the evidence supports impeachment at this point.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning that the House would draft articles of impeachment, despite the House Judiciary Committee only holding one hearing with more planned next week.
Details of what those articles would include is being closely-held, but there are signs they may include obstruction of justice — a leftover from the Mueller investigation, prompting nervousness from Democrats who think it will look like they are just trying to impeach President Trump versus having a serious reason related to Ukraine.
Moderate Democrats have been quiet about how they will vote on impeachment, particularly the 31 Democrats who won seats in districts that went for Trump in 2016. Indeed, one even reminded voters he had come out against impeachment once before.
Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) told CNN:
I can’t comment on any articles until I’ve seen them, but with that being said, you know that I came out against impeachment previous to this Ukraine matter, and I do remain very cognizant of that. You can take that as you like.
Rose said he has warned Judiciary Committee members, “no more bringing buckets of chicken to hearings and no more selling ‘impeach the mo-fo’ t-shirts.”
His comment was a reference to a stunt by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), when he brought a bucket of fried chicken to a hearing Attorney General William Barr did not show up at.
Others have also kept silent or said they want to wait until the end of the impeachment inquiry in the House before they make a decision. Some are already talking about moving on to other issues.
“I think it’s important to assess the facts, make a decision and then move on. We’ve got a lot of other work that we’re still working on — work to get done,” said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), according to Reuters. McAdams is one of the vulnerable 31 Democrats.
It is no surprise moderate Democrats are nervous.
Polling by McLaughlin & Associates shared Friday by Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale showed that among likely 2020 voters, Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) is already polling 13 percentage points below the notional Republican candidate, and that 41 percent of voters in his district would be less likely to re-elect him if he voted to impeach Trump.
Democrats clinging to districts where Trump won in 2016 are hating Pelosi’s impeachment nonsense.— Brad Parscale (@parscale) December 6, 2019
In NY-22 Anthony Brindisi barely won in 2018 and he’s in big trouble now because of impeachment.@realDonaldTrump will be re-elected in 2020 AND we’re gonna take back the House. pic.twitter.com/oXFIKGSG30
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said earlier this week that he expected to lose some Democrats on impeachment.
“We do expect to lose some, and that’s why I say it is a conscious [sic] vote,” he told CNN Friday. “And it’s with our constituents. We have a very diverse caucus.”
Democrats also seem to be trying to move past it as quickly as possible.
House leadership has told members to clear their calendars on December 21 and 22. A vote in December would allow them to move on to other issues during the election year.
The Senate — two-thirds of which would be necessary to remove Trump from office — is expected to acquit him.