‘A ship of fools and a circus’: Voters react to Trump impeachment trial
New York: American voters reacting in real-time to the historic impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump are saying only something “dramatic” and “crazy” could tip the balance against Trump and that he is on course to win re-election by a “razor thin” margin this November.
Barely days into Trump’s impeachment trial, US voters who spoke with IANS are already dug in on how the trial currently on in Washington DC might affect outcomes in the US presidential elections this November.
Anni Lundy, a self described “moderate” and “vegan gun owner” from Houston calls the impeachment process that’s getting wall to wall prime time coverage “a ship of fools” and a “circus”.
“I don’t think this is going to move the needle but I know what will,” she said.
Hearing from former White House national security adviser John Bolton tops Lundy’s list.
“At the end of the day, if John Bolton doesn’t testify, and it’s not looking like he will, we’ll never ever know for sure. That’s a shame,” said Lundy.
If Bolton does testify, he could provide a first-hand account of events at the heart of the impeachment case against Trump. Bolton was present at key moments in meetings with Ukrainian officials.
The impeachment case against Trump revolves around a pressure campaign against Ukraine, a vulnerable ally of the US. Nearly $400 million of taxpayer-funded and Congress-approved military aid was held back on Trump’s orders, as he pressed Ukraine to announce an investigation of his opponents. The aid was released only after a whistleblower’s complaint and after Democrats in Congress opened the investigation.
For Lundy, the takeaway from a Bolton testimony is straightforward: the closure of “speculation”.
“If Bolton testifies, he can tell us what is on that server where the transcript of that phone call Trump made to Ukraine are kept.”
For others like Patrick Lee, a stay-at-home dad who lives close to New York City, it’s less about the fine print, more about social anxiety.
“White people feel they are losing their way of life and they will vote Trump,” said Lee, speaking to the potent tribalism that political research scholars found to be a key ingredient of Trump’s stunning 2016 triumph.
“Republicans on the fence about Trump will not vote. They will never throw him under the bus,” Lee said.
Lee thinks Trump will get re-elected with a “razor-thin margin”.
The lion’s share of impeachment and removal polling trackers show an absence of broad public support for Trump’s exit.
Forty seven per cent of Americans support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office while 47.9 per cent are against it, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average of eight latest polls in January alone from Economist, Monmouth, Politico, CNN, Gallup, NPR-PBS, Quinnipiac and IBD.
Throughout the last three years of his presidency, including after the impeachment inquiry began, Trump’s approval rating has remained doggedly within a slim range in the 40s.
Two thirds of the Senate — or 67 votes — would be needed to convict Trump of an impeachment charge and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate 53-47.
Beyond the numbers, though, voters’ reactions swiftly go beyond merely partisanship and demographic stereotypes.
Lucia, a Maryland voter, thinks it will be hard to out Trump based entirely on the impeachment storyboard. She said it will take a “dramatic piece of information to challenge an amazing economy”.
“It depends who the Democratic nominee is as well”, she said, pointing to the crowded opposition field from which a challenger to Trump will eventually emerge.
Other voters we spoke to answer with questions that transcend who wins and who loses the next election.
“Can the US still call itself a democracy if it has a president that is allowed to put national security at risk and isn’t held accountable to the constitution? Thank goodness for Adam Schiff”, said a mom from northern New Jersey.
“I think no one has any expectation that any GOP members of the Senate will break with their party and vote in favour of removing Trump.”
Alan Brown, who will be voting in New York this November, believes that US election fortunes “aren’t about logic anymore.”
“I think it’s all crazy. If the economy tanks or something extraordinary happens, maybe Trump will go. But that level of insanity has to be such that even those who don’t operate from a place of logic won’t have any ground to stand on.