Impeachment is all the rage in Washington D.C. It’s the focus of the pundits and most news outlets and even President Donald Trump amps up the noise with his Twitter storms concerning impeachment. For a while, many Trump supporters have surmised that impeachment will be a big electoral boon for Republicans, and more specifically Trump himself. Some on the left, including Van Jones, think impeachment is a losing issue for Democrats as well. The thinking, of course, is former president Bill Clinton benefited in part from impeachment and an overreaching Republican Congress. Clinton was assisted from a booming economy and left the Oval Office in much better shape popularly and politically than when he came into office. But like the stock market, past results in politics are no guarantee of future returns.
North Carolina could be shaping up to be more of a swing state than Ohio or Florida, yet while Trump is far from dominant, he is fairly stable here from a reelection standpoint. An October New York Times / Sienna Research Institute Poll has Trump leading former vice president Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The poll is not too different from the August Civitas Poll that shows Trump leading all Democratic challengers polled by a slim margin.
Support for an impeachment inquiry is fairly split in North Carolina as Civitas President Donald Bryson notes below from a recent Civitas Poll:
Despite partisan naysayers and politicos trying to talk down the economy, the stock market hit a record high on November 5. Unemployment remains historically low, wages for lower-income earners are rising, and consumer spending remains robust. Overall, North Carolina is experiencing a lot of economic growth and good news as well, despite small gains in unemployment compared to last year.
It’s easy to believe that the economy, whether strong or headed towards a downturn for 2020, will overshadow any impeachment talk. Trump’s antics may test some pocketbook voters but if the economy remains strong Trump may not be as vulnerable as many speculate.
Part of the problem for Democrats is they have been talking about impeachment long before any alleged law-breaking or a quid pro quo related to Ukraine. Back in January before even taking office, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said they are going to go in there and “are gonna impeach the mother ****er.” (Warning explicit language at link). That plays into the partisan nature of impeachment and our bitterly divided politics. Many Americans may not be looking for a unifying type of candidate. They are entrenched within their tribal politics, and neither Trump or the Democrats appear to be offering anything outside of that. A strong economy may swing enough independents to Republicans and vice versa.
While it’s much too early to say whether impeachment will be positive or negative for Trump, I still expect economic indicators to play a much bigger role than even the continued talk over impeachment, which is starting to feel more and more partisan as time drags on.