Sunday, January 26, 2020

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Senators In Their Seats

The U.S. senate is in extraordinary session, an impeachment
quasi-trial of President Trump, following the actions of the U.S.
house indicting the president on two counts.

There is much speculation about this highly-politicized event
which can be described as a media melodrama, particularly
about which, if any, senators might fail to vote on strict party
lines. The ultimate outcome is not now in much doubt, especially
considering that Republicans control he U.S. senate. 53-47,
and 67 votes are required to remove the president from office.

The Democrats control the U.S. house, and chose to shut out the
president’s party members from nearly all of the impeachment
proceedings. Speaker Pelosi seemed in a hurry at first, but then
delayed transmitting the two counts to the senate until public
pressure forced her to do so. Her reasons for the delay are not
clear, although many have speculated her purpose was to help
one of the Democratic presidential candidates.  Whether or not
that is true, two of the frontunners she is known to oppose are
temporarily sidelined from campaigning just before the initial
voting in Iowa and New Hampshire by the mandatory
requirement that they sit in their senate seats throughout the
senate impeachment proceedings.

Having shut the Republicans out of the house impeachment, the
Democrats are now complaining that they can’t control the rules
in the senate trial where the Republicans have the majority,
particularly in bringing in new witnesses the Democrats did not
call to testify when they were in control. Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell says this is blatant hypocrisy, and will have none of it.
The Democratic prosecution have now presented their case, and
the president’s defenders are now presenting theirs. If no new
witnesses are called, the trial could soon be over and a vote taken.
If new witnesses are called, the trial could go on for many more
weeks --- sidelining four  senators who are presidential candidates
from Super Tuesday and other key primaries as well as distracting
the Democratic presidential campaign altogether.

Barring the ubforeseen, those wishing  to remove the president are
far short of the 67 votes they need. They might well not even have
a majority for either count.

For the actual voting, speculation centers around about a dozen
senators. On the Republican side, media pundits have suggested
that Utah Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, retiring
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, Alaska Senator Lisa
Murkowski, Arizona Senator Martha McSally, Maine Senator
Susan Collins, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner might vote
to convict.  That speculation, however, ignores the fact that any
GOP senator who would vote against the president would almost
certainly lose his or her re-election by massive desertion of angry
GOP voters. Only Senator Alexander is not in that position. Most,
if not all, Republican senators are expected to support the
president --- even those who are not very fond of him.

On the Democratic side, it could be speculated that West Virginia
Senator Joe Manchin, Alabama Senator Doug Jones, Michigan
Senator Gary Peters. Maine (Independent) Senator Angus King,
New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Minnesota Senator Tina
Smith, and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema might vote against
conviction. Manchin and Jones are the most likely to break with
their party. Peters is facing a tough re-election in a state where
impeachment is reportedly not popular.  King can be very
independent The others are more likely to vote with their party
on this issue.              

The purpose of the Democrats’ impeachment was to severely
diminish Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election --- or to undo his 2016
election.  It’s too late to do the latter, but the jury has not yet
returned  its verdict for November, 2020.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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