Making the click-through worthwhile: An eye-opening poll from USA Today that should have the president’s reelection campaign team smiling; a spectacularly unwise suggestion for House Democrats from Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe; Stacey Abrams’s organization objects to another routine purge of inactive voters in Georgia; and galactically-powerful counter-programming for the next Democratic debate.
Despite Impeachment Hearings, Voters Want Trump for a Second Term
Holy smokes. Maybe this USA Today poll is an outlier, or maybe a combination of impeachment, the far-from-centrist tone of most Democratic candidates, and recent good economic news have turned President Trump into a much tougher opponent to beat in 2020:
President Donald Trump, the first modern president to face impeachment during his first term in the White House, now leads his top Democratic rivals in his bid for a second, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds.
The national survey, taken as the House of Representatives planned an impeachment vote and the Senate a trial, showed Trump defeating former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 percentage points, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 5 points, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 8 points.
In hypothetical head-to-head contests, Trump also led South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 10 points and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg by 9.
Notice this poll is registered voters, not likely voters. I wonder if the topsy-turvy nature of the Trump era means that the president now has a chunk of supporters who would get filtered out with the usual screen for likely voters; traditionally, Republicans did a little bit better in surveys of likely voters than ones of registered voters.
This poll is an outlier . . . except for the Investor’s Business Daily poll from earlier this week, which had Trump enjoying small leads over Sanders, Warren, Buttigeig and Bloomberg, and trailing Biden by 5 percentage points. Also note that the Marquette poll of voters in Wisconsin had Trump with narrow leads on Sanders by 2, Warren, Buttigeig and Cory Booker by one point, (who’s polling Booker as the nominee?) and Trump trailing Biden by one point. And last week’s Emerson poll had Trump beating all opponents in Iowa.
Democrats: If Mitch Won’t Play Fair, Maybe We’ll Never Send Him Impeachment Articles
Notice that impeachment morphs from “a political process, not a legal one” to “the equivalent of a trial” depending upon who’s speaking and the circumstances. There was no need for Trump or Republicans to call witnesses during the House impeachment hearings because it wasn’t a criminal trial; there was no Constitutional right to cross-examination or confronting the accuser involved. But now that Mitch McConnell said, “there will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” the Senate Majority Leader is somehow breaking the rules of impeachment. It’s not a political process anymore; McConnell is a tainted juror. “McConnell should recuse himself!” House Democrats cry.
Back when she was a candidate, Kamala Harris said that if she was elected president, her Department of Justice would prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice. Does it look like she’s approaching impeachment as an impartial juror?
Law professor Lawrence Tribe is mad as heck that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not approaching impeachment as an impartial juror, and he’s so mad, he wants to take the articles of impeachment hostage, so to speak. He writes in the Washington Post:
Now that President Trump’s impeachment is inevitable, and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.
If you listen carefully, you can hear just about every Republican senator — and maybe Democrats like Joe Manchin and Doug Jones — yelling, “please, please, don’t throw us into that briar patch!”
Tribe argues that it wouldn’t be unconstitutional because the Constitution doesn’t specify when or how the articles of impeachment should be sent from the House to the Senate. He’s correct that the Constitution doesn’t go into much detail. All it says in Article One, Section Two is “the House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment,” In Article One, Section Three, it says, “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”
House Democrats could probably take this course . . . but what if McConnell never agrees to rules that House Democrats deem fair? What incentive does he have? Under this scenario, the articles of impeachment are sort of suspended in limbo somewhere between the House and the Senate. Theoretically, a group of four Republicans could join with the 47 Democrats to force McConnell to adopt rules more to the liking of Pelosi, House Democrats, and Tribe, but . . . what if they don’t? How eager are they to get started on an impeachment trial instead of other business?
The Tribe strategy is like Cleavon Little putting the gun to his own head and taking himself hostage in Blazing Saddles. “Dear GOP senators, if you do not agree to rules that we believe are fair, we will NOT ALLOW you take a vote on an impeachment that many of you clearly don’t want to make in the first place!” Tribe and other Democrats seem convinced that the country is ravenously hungry to watch a Senate trial and resolve the impeachment dispute. But polling continues to show the country about evenly split on removing the president. Is time on the side of the forces pushing for removal or against it?
Think about the Democratic messaging here: The president is such a dire threat to the Constitutional order that he must be removed from office as quickly as possible . . . also, we’re going to wait until the Senate agrees to rules we think are fair.
You know that under this scenario, Trump would be gloating and endlessly mocking Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, jeering that they’re withholding the articles of impeachment because they know their case is weak and they would lose. But perhaps the House impeaching a president and then never sending articles to the Senate for a trial is exactly the anti-Constitutional farcical spectacle this country deserves.
Another Standard Removal of Inactive Voters Is Painted as a Sinister Purge
Once again, down in Georgia, the state is moving forward with a legally-required purge of inactive voters, and Stacey Abrams’ organization insists that it represents a sinister effort at voter suppression:
A voting rights group, Fair Fight Action, said in federal court Monday that the registration cancellations target roughly 120,000 inactive voters who would otherwise be eligible to participate in elections but are being removed because they haven’t cast a ballot since at least 2012. The rest of the people on the cancellation list either moved from Georgia or mail sent to them by election officials was undeliverable.
To quote the last lines of Dale Cooper, “what year is this?” If you haven’t voted since 2012, you’ve missed three straight congressional elections, two gubernatorial elections, a presidential election, and who knows how many local elections and referenda. Georgia “election officials notified voters by mail before canceling their registrations, a step that didn’t exist two years ago. Voters had 30 days to save their registrations by returning enclosed postage-paid postcards.”
It honestly sounds like some of these activists are on some sort of rote autopilot, using preplanned rhetoric whether or not it fits the circumstances: Fair Fight CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgians should not lose their right to vote simply because they have not expressed that right in recent elections. Georgia’s practice of removing voters who have declined to participate in recent elections violates the United States Constitution.”
No, it doesn’t. Every state removes inactive voters. Otherwise, all of us would forever remain on the rolls in every jurisdiction we’ve ever lived.
No one is “losing their right to vote”; anyone taken off who wants to start voting again simply has to re-register. The state says any voter registration that is canceled can be restored within 24 to 48 hours. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, notes that the state has registered nearly a half-million voters since the last election, “clear proof that we are doing things to make it easy for people to vote.”
At the heart of this debate is the question of what responsibility the state can ask of a citizen to exercise that right to vote. By every measure, state governments have tried to make it easier for people to vote. Under the 1993 “Motor Voter Act,” states provide individuals with the opportunity to register to vote at the same time that they apply for a driver’s license or seek to renew a driver’s license, and requires the state to forward the completed application to the appropriate state or local election official. The law also requires states to offer voter registration opportunities at all offices that provide public assistance and all offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities.
Just about every state has enacted longer voting hours and more options for early and absentee voting. In Minnesota, residents can start casting absentee ballots 46 days before Election Day!
All the state of Georgia is asking citizens to do either A) vote once every seven years or B) respond to a notification that they’re going to be taken off the rolls or C) check themselves to make sure they’re properly registered. Anyone can check online if they’re registered to vote within about 30 seconds. This is not an undue burden on any citizen. Yes, voting is a right, but citizens also have the responsibility of making sure they are properly registered.
ADDENDUM: Only the Democratic National Committee would be dumb enough to schedule their once-a-month presidential primary debate — the first one to have less than ten candidates — on Thursday night, the night that most movie theaters are having their early screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
That’s assuming they have a debate, because the venue is having a labor dispute and all seven participating Democratic candidates have pledged they won’t cross a picket line.