Good Friday Morning! I hope you’re recovering from all the food comas from Thanksgiving week. I’m back this week after being off for the long holiday weekend. I left you two weeks ago with what to watch on the impeachment front. With Nancy Pelosi publicly directing the House Judiciary Committee to draw up articles of impeachment, it’s time to look at the political chessboard before her – links to follow.
Three quick hits:
- The conventional wisdom is that Joe Biden is back in the overall national lead in the Democratic Primaries. And while he does lead in national polls, we haven’t had any state polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire in quite some time. The last time Biden led a state poll in Iowa was sometime in October — so if he does lead there, that would be big news.
- Sticking with Biden for a moment. He had a confrontation with an Elizabeth Warren supporter at an event yesterday. The supporter questioned Biden over allegedly helping his son, Hunter Biden, get privileged access to a Ukrainian oil company. Joe Biden went ballistic on the guy, yelling, “You’re a damn liar,” with the crowd applauding. Biden also challenged the guy to push-ups, an IQ test, and in a gaffe, called him fat. I doubt it hurts Biden in the primary, but it is interesting to note that the Hunter Biden issue isn’t a right-wing only topic. Liberals don’t like it either. If an impeachment trial in the Senate takes place, the GOP will focus on Hunter Binden — this could come back to haunt the Biden camp, much like the Clinton email saga.
- Pete Buttigieg is surging in Iowa and eating up space getting vacated by Elizabeth Warren’s collapse and Kamala Harris dropping out. Buttigieg has effectively zero support in any non-white voting category. There was a bizarre moment this week when a **white** “black lives matter” activist disrupted and yanked the microphone out of a black person’s hands and demanded they allow real blacks, who represented the real black community to speak. The video is worth watching because an elderly black lady with a cane almost went to town on this guy. #wypipo #progressivewypipo
Where you can find me this week
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This week on the Beltway Outsiders Podcast host Daniel Vaughan talks about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s veto of a law that would ban abortions based on Down’s Syndrome; how people are self-censoring on social media and why that needs to change; and the latest on the impeachment front.
Laugh about Baby Yoda. Ask more questions about Jeffrey Epstein – The Conservative Institute
You may have heard of the new “Baby Yoda” character from the DisneyPlus show, The Mandalorian. Polling outfits have noticed that Baby Yoda has more cultural sway than any of the Democratic candidates. I talk about that here — and what another cultural meme should tell us to do.
What conservatism is to me – The Conservative Institute
I write out what conservatism means to me after discussing a piece on the trend lines in conservatism, and the fault lines.
Substance matters in impeachment – but we don’t have that here – The Conservative Institute
I got into a back and forth with Chris Hayes of MSNBC, and I talk through that here.
Jeffrey Epstein controls the elites from beyond the grave – The Conservative Institute
The Epstein story and all the coverups surrounding is seriously eroding my trust in institutions in a way no other account is doing.
Democrats Move Forward on Impeachment
Nancy Pelosi is directing the House Judiciary Committee to move forward on drawing up articles of impeachment. And Democrats aren’t expecting the political landscape to change any time soon — they’ve all but conceded their hearings haven’t worked. ABC News reports:
[W]hile House Democrats are largely convinced that they are on the right side of history, they are increasingly coming to the opinion that the public is unlikely to join them there in sufficient numbers any time soon.
“Opinion on impeachment seems to have hardened as a result of the public testimony instead of persuading people to change their position,” FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of recent polling finds.
After all those hearings, there’s little data Democrats moved the polls. RealClearPolitics shows there’s only a +3.7 point advantage for those supporting the impeachment inquiry. That drops to a +1.8 point advantage for those supporting impeach and remove. FiveThirtyEight’s weighted poll tracker showed only a +2.3 point advantage for impeachment and removal. None of the trend lines suggest those numbers will go up. Trend lines indicate that support is very soft.
I’d agree with that FiveThirtyEight quote, everything has hardened mainly along partisan lines, with very few people capable of being convinced. Conventional wisdom in DC is that Democrats will try to get in a vote on articles of impeachment just before Christmas. That’s probably right, if you watch what Pelosi is doing.
Pelosi works to solidify her caucus
Politico notes that Pelosi is working on beefing up the moderate support by putting forward a vote on her prescription drug pricing legislation to give moderates something to run on in 2020.
And just before she spoke to reporters, Pelosi announced that the House would vote on her signature drug pricing bill next week — a move that appeases many in her caucus, particularly battleground Democrats who fear Republicans will convince the public that they’re doing nothing but impeaching Trump.
Fox News added that the Trump administration and GOP are spending plenty of ad money on these moderates to up the pressure:
A simple majority — 216 of 431 members — is needed to impeach. There are 233 Democrats, meaning that presuming anti-Trump independent Rep. Justin Amash backs impeachment, Democrats can lose 18 of their own and still impeach the president. …
Sensing a possible opening, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has ramped up the pressure on these Democrats in pro-Trump districts. As reported by The Daily Caller, the RNC is running ads urging voters to pick a lawmaker who “won’t waste taxpayer $$$ on partisan impeachment.”
Brad Parscale, Trump’s online strategy guy, is busy on Twitter showing polls of these moderate member’s districts and showing impeachment well underwater with voters. In short, the Trump administration is running a full-court pressure on Democrats looking for any cracks in Pelosi’s caucus.
Does Pelosi have the votes?
The million-dollar question is: Does Pelosi have the votes? If she’s willing to go this far, that would suggest she does. She can lose 18 and still make it. Fox News also noted that the timing could also tell us something about what’s happening:
The timing of such a vote could be indicative of whether Pelosi has enough Democrats to vote to impeach: Pelosi is a master at reading her caucus. If she has the votes, she’ll likely give the green light to impeach on the floor. If she doesn’t have the votes, impeachment could wait — conceivably until the New Year.
A major milepost, though, could come at 5 p.m. Friday: Democrats have said the Trump administration has until the close of business to decide if it will cooperate with the investigation or try to defend the president. If the administration says it’s willing to play, then impeachment could stretch out a bit. If not, Democrats may operate under a compressed timeframe.
Two other significant pieces are moving in tandem with impeachment. First, Democrats and Republicans have to come to some agreement to keep the government funded this month. Lawmakers have until December 20th to hammer out a deal that keeps things supported. I’d look for any agreement to punt funding beyond the November 2020 election.
Second, Pelosi is fighting with the Trump admin over how the new NAFTA, aka the USMCA. Moderates want this trade bill signed, so they have something to run on in 2020. Pelosi doesn’t want to give Trump a straightforward win, so she’s fighting over particulars in it. Everyone wants it signed, but working out the politics amidst impeachment and government funding is proving impossible.
All of this added together makes the voting angle to impeachment murky. The reason to think she DOES have the votes is by the virtue that she likely wouldn’t go through all these steps if she weren’t at least guaranteed some level of caucus support. The faster the vote, the easier it is to pass it.
If the Trump administration can work to delay a vote — that might work to their advantage. Delay any votes on articles of impeachment to let the polls succumb to gravity and make it even harder on moderate Democrats.
Democrats are already losing their own…
And here’s the thing — CNN and HotAir already show that three Democrats are saying or leaning against voting for impeachment. And one retiring GOP Representative, who signaled he might vote for it early on, is now saying Democrats have rushed to judgment.
Pelosi is between a rock and a hard place. Her best chance of getting a successful vote means ramming this vote through quickly — but doing that costs her all political credibility. If she shoots for obtaining the requisite political credibility, she’ll likely lose polling steam on impeachment and risk a successful vote in the process.
Democrats are on a running clock — they can’t afford to let this sit forever. If those three Democrats turn into a panic exodus among other Democrats, she won’t be able to coax them back. That’s why she’s leading with prescription drug prices and negotiating on the USMCA deal. Moderates aren’t walking the impeachment plank without some incentive.
The media wants to play too…
Perhaps the most telling part of this entire saga is that some members of the media realize that Democrats haven’t sealed the deal. Washington Post columnist and former ombudsman for the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan wrote, “Maybe, just maybe, it’s the job of American journalism in this moment to get serious about trying to reach these citizens.”
She’s referring to those who are persuadable on the impeachment question. She says it is the job of journalists to actively help Democrats in pushing a conclusion on the impeachment issue. Put aside the point of that NOT being the job of journalists, what this tells us is that even the DC journalists hive mind is worried about impeachment success.
Pelosi may very well have the votes — but no one in DC is confident about that fact, nor are they sure this will be a political success. That’s telling.
As I’ve said from the beginning, I’ve assumed Trump’s conduct is terrible. It’s impeachable, even. Contrary to the “legal scholars” coughed up by Democrats, it’s not the most impeachable thing ever though. It’s not even the most impeachable thing Trump’s done in his Presidency.
But even if something is impeachable, you have to capture the political will of the people to unseat a person they put into office. Democrats haven’t done that, which is why they’re struggling. And if this goes to the Senate, Mitch McConnell will dish out the partisanship process that Democrats have hit Trump with in the House. The media will complain, but Republicans will only see it as fair play.
The media won’t report it that way — Republicans will be a threat to democracy itself — but in a political process, you reap what you sow.
And even given all of the above, if this entire fiasco wraps up before winter is over, none of it will matter in the 2020 election. The news cycle will move too quickly once election season moves into the general to make any 2019 stories relevant in 2020, barring something extreme happening.
Links of the week
Who Are These Racists And Sexists That Won’t Support Female Candidates Of Color? – Jazz Shaw, HotAir
[Video] Insulin should be cheap. Here’s why it’s not. – Verge Science
The World Is Getting Better. It’s Just That No One Tells You About It. – Jim Geraghty, National Review
Overflow Crowd Turns Out in Blue County to Support Second Amendment – Stephen Gutowski, The Washington Free Beacon
Abortion Group Director: ‘We Are Eugenicists’ If All We Do Is ‘Pay For Abortions For Low-Income’ Women – Amanda Prestigiacomo, The Daily Wire
In a brave new world of gene testing, I might not be alive to warn you of its dangers: Health journalist JOHN NAISH fears advancing science is bringing the prospect of ‘designer’ babies ever closer to reality – John Naish, The Daily Mail
Yazidi woman collapses in front of Isil rapist on an Iraqi television show – Raf Sanchez and Josie Ensor, The Telegraph
Norwegian mayor asks church to take down Star of David decoration: Head of Strand in southern Norway says symbol, used as Christmas holiday ornament, is too associated with Jews, Israel – Cnaan Liphshiz, The Times of Israel
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire piece of the week
SACRED LAND — Elizabeth Warren revealed today that when she becomes president she will bring global warming to an end within five minutes. How would she do it? A simple rain dance, Warren claims.
The dance—one of many ritual dances Warren has known since childhood—begins with the lighting of a small fire. Warren then dances around the fire for about five minutes, and boom, global warming is over—forever.
“I start by giving ’em one of these right here,” Warren said, raising her hands to the sky while jogging in place. “Then I glide around this fire here, see how I’m moving so swiftly from left to right as I do it? Yeah, that’s it.”
Thanks for reading!