The House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump attempted to influence the looming 2020 elections may interfere with the outcome of the presidential race in an ironic twist.
In other words, the Democrats are doing what they accuse Trump of trying to do: interfering in the ongoing presidential race. House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry on September 24, months before the American public goes to the polls to elect the next president in November 2020.
Until the American public votes in November 2020, it will remain unclear whether the Democrats’ impeachment effort will hurt or benefit Trump. The impeachment probe, however, is already having an impact on the ongoing 2020 presidential election, potentially changing the minds of some voters.
Mainstream media outlets have acknowledged that impeachment could have collateral effects linked to the 2020 elections.
“Impeachment could drastically affect the 2020 election,” MSNBC conceded on September 25, a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the impeachment probe.
“An election with an impeached Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket is an invitation to an electoral uprising that should haunt [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s [R-KY] dreams,” the New York Times added in an October 1 editorial.
The impeachment effort is reportedly driving away voters critical of Trump’s reelection, namely white women, independents, and college-educated whites, Politico reported on October 3.
“Taken together, the latest polls paint an alarming picture for the president, whose base is sticking by him but cannot be counted on by themselves to deliver him a second term,” the news outlet added.
On October 5, Quartz also acknowledged that the impeachment effort could impact the upcoming presidential election.:
Because 2020 is an election year, both sides will manage proceedings with an eye to the November poll. …. For the Democrats, the best outcome would be a split within Republican ranks, which leaves Trump in office but weakened and vulnerable to a challenge for re-nomination.
Some of the news reports disseminated in the wake of the impeachment probe suggest Trump’s allegation that the Democrats ‘ efforts to remove him are “interfering” in the 2020 elections have merit.
In an op/ed published a day after Democrats announced the impeachment probe, the Washington Post acknowledged, “[I]f the [impeachment] investigation turns up anything short of a slam-dunk case to remove him, swing voters might punish a party they see as determined to overturn the result of the last presidential election.”
On the other hand, lawmakers voting in favor of impeaching and removing Trump may galvanize swing voters against the president’s reelection.
CNN noted on October 15:
[T]o the extent the impeachment fight reinforces negative views about Trump — such as the belief that he considers himself above the law or puts his personal interests above the nation’s — winning voters who disapprove of his performance will only grow more difficult for him, whatever their views about the Democratic alternative.
CNN conceded that an impeachment effort so close to a presidential election is “unprecedented,” noting on October 15:
“That unique prospect could scramble the electoral calculations next year for both parties,” it added.
The House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry stemmed from an intelligence community “whistleblower” complaint that accused Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country [Ukraine] in the 2020 U.S. election.” Trump and Ukraine have denied the allegation.
Democrat’s impeachment efforts may backfire and end up stoking Trump’s base and other voters, several news outlets conceded.
Some vulnerable Democrats in Republican-friendly districts who have come out in support of impeachment have received backlash from some of their constituents. The threat of impeachment has also benefited fundraising at the hands of Trump’s reelection campaign.
Since Democrats announced the impeachment probe, Trump has raised more money than any other president seeking reelection before him at this point in the campaign. The majority of Republicans stand united in their opposition to impeachment and removing Trump.