Democrats have found it increasingly difficult to persuade voters to support Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump amid the clash of interests within the caucus, unclear and disunited messaging, and lack of concrete evidence against the president.
The Washington Examiner’s Matt Langston noted the Democratic Party’s inability to have consistent political messaging both within and outside of the caucus, and that the Republican Party stands together “all while the slate of Democratic presidential contenders struggle to establish their own identity.”
“Democrats will undoubtedly hand Trump a decisive victory in 2020. They continue to fall into the trap that being against Trump himself is not a brand.” Langston wrote. “Yet, they continue to push each other to the Left and make their number one policy: ‘Trump bad!’”
“Top-tier candidates such as Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are all making the same mistakes that Hillary Clinton made in 2016: they have no message other than, ‘I’m not him!’ What policy plans they do have just seem to be calculated to be opposite of Trump’s,” Langston added. “In 2020, being anti-Trump won’t be enough. Those same voters want to hear how someone can be better than what Trump has been.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) said he isn’t against having an investigation but was not ready to back impeachment. Drew noted he had faced some pressure from colleagues to change his mind and get on board.
“It’s not pressure like someone putting you in a headlock, but it is pressure like, ‘Gee, we are all doing this together, we all have the same message.’ And that’s not true,” he said to reporters.
“The party’s really operating on different tracks right now, and that can be confusing for the public,” spokesman for Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Texas) reelection campaign, Colin Strother, said.
“There’s definitely a gulf between the people that are ‘Impeach, no matter what,’ and the people that are ‘Follow the evidence,’” Strother stressed.
Public opinion polls show voters are likely not ready for the impeachment of Trump.
On Tuesday, a published Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 37% of Americans believes Trump should be impeached, a 4% decrease from September’s result of 41%.
Another recent Quinnipiac poll conducted Sept. 19-23, found that 37% of registered voters believed that Trump should be impeached, and a staggering 57% said he shouldn’t be, according to WSJ.
“This will have no impact on the president’s supporters, and it will keep Democrats trapped in a cul-de-sac where they’re walking around chanting impeach-impeach-impeach,” former House speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich said.
Even though most Democrats are certain that their ultimate goal is to impeach president Trump, moderates are still undecided on whether to back impeachment given the largely unclear messaging from the party.
“I’m not certain that the Democrats are winning yet in terms of the messaging game. In the presidential Democratic primary, there’s a lack of a clear message—obviously anti-Trump, but not much more,” said political scientist Scot Schraufnagel of Northern Illinois University.
Public relations firm Rokk Solutions founder Ron Bonjean, a House GOP aide during then-president Bill Clinton’s impeachment, said that impeachment will now overshadow everything else Pelosi is trying to get done, and will come across as disadvantageous to her, according to a report by NBC News.
“By endorsing an official impeachment inquiry, Speaker Pelosi has greatly risked turning the Democratic agenda into a singular focus of removing President Trump from office,” Bonjean said. “She has allowed President Trump and Republicans to call out the Democratic leadership for focusing on partisanship instead of creating bipartisan solutions, thus handing them political gift for the 2020 elections.”
“Make no mistake about it: backing impeachment will cost the Democrats their majority in 2020,” chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Emmer said, the Guardian reports.