Republicans aim to use the House drive toward impeaching President Donald Trump to whittle down Democrats’ majority by dislodging vulnerable incumbents from swing districts loaded with moderate voters.
It could work, especially in Democratic-held districts Trump carried in 2016 with throngs of independent voters who polls shows are closely divided over his removal. Or it could flop, in an era when news zooms by so swiftly that today’s concerns may be eclipsed in 11 months and many people are more focused on pocketbook issues such as health care costs.
“It will be part of the mosaic, but hardly the overriding issue,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres predicted about impeachment’s impact next November. “It will have faded by then and it will also have simply reinforced the preexisting attitudes and made them more intense.”
What’s clear is that for now, Republicans are wielding impeachment mostly as an offensive weapon and Democrats are generally playing defense or changing the subject as 2020 congressional races rev up. House Democrats will be defending their 233-197 majority, with four vacancies. Republicans will try preserving their 53-47 Senate control.