If impeachment represents, for a large swath of the voting public, another messy game of inside the beltway DC politics, then who wins and who loses in this scenario? The Democratic Party base is all in favor of impeachment, and candidates like Massachusets Sen. Elizabeth Warren have known that for months now. Former vice president Joe Biden has been much more tempered when asked whether President Trump should be impeached since he’s trying to placate the middle ground of his party, and not alienate too many independent and moderate Republicans in swing states who might be inclined to vote for him next year.

In the end, though, the move by House Democrats to start a formal impeachment probe into President Trump changes the landscape of the 2020 Democratic primary and certainly alters the conversations being had between voters and candidates.

Politico started asking the same question, who does impeachment help or hurt more? Biden or Warren?

So, to be crass, which of the front-runners benefits?

Is it Biden, the candidate who has made Trump’s unfitness for office the centerpiece of his campaign, one that sees removing him as the only important policy proposal?

Or is it Warren, who, despite calling for his impeachment earlier than her rivals, has tried to move Trump to the periphery of the 2020 race and emphasize that just getting rid of him isn’t enough because, she argues, the next president has to have a series of detailed revolutionary plans that will upend a rigged economic system and act as a vaccine against the rise of the next Trump?

On the one hand, it’s sort of strange to see candidates running for president call for the removal of the man they’re trying to defeat at the ballot box. On the other hand, this is what they believe and their base supports it, so better stick with what Democratic primary voters want.

The media narrative is firmly planted on a Biden vs. Warren battle in the Democratic primary, and the impeachment move will swing it one way or another. Warren has been less focused on Trump in recent months versus staying focused on her own policy proposals. It’s a strategy that has worked well for her, as her poll numbers can attest.

What if the Trump-Ukraine story does splashback on Joe Biden through the allegations against Biden’s son? Will Democrats see that and shudder, knowing what Hillary’s email scandal did to her 2016 candidacy?

But a crucial question for Democrats is whether by switching their emphasis from finding the best candidate to defeat Trump to using the machinery of Congress to remove him, they risk the failure of both strategies.

Out on the 2020 campaign trail, Trump is counting on the Ukraine morass to boomerang against Biden the same way stories about Clinton’s emails damaged her. And back in Washington, he’s betting that Mitch McConnell and Republicans’ fear of their own pro-Trump electorates will keep him safe in the Senate.

If Biden continues to lose points on the electability argument, he won’t have much else to build a platform on. In some ways, it’s almost as if Pelosi was willing to toss Biden into this mix even though it puts a dent in his candidacy. If Trump now has a better reason to come up with some nickname for Biden like “Crooked Hillary” and make it stick, then it clearly benefits Warren in bolstering her case as an electable anti-Biden.

Perhaps aside from Biden or Warren, the impeachment move may benefit Trump as a candidate, more than anyone. The Politico story notes that some Democratic operatives believe this is the case:

This is of course a potential nightmare scenario for Democrats: that the impeachment effort against Trump over Ukraine damages one of their leading candidates more than Trump himself. (Several sources on 2020 campaigns refused to allow me to use any comments about the politics of Ukraine either on the record or anonymously because they believed it played into Trump’s hands.)

As Pelosi said months ago, Trump was “goading” Democrats into an impeachment battle because it may be a way to mobilize Trump’s base en masse for 2020.

The Daily Beast even noted that Trump’s 2020 campaign is not displeased with the impeachment move. His White House team, on the other hand, is less than thrilled:

For Trump’s political and campaign team, efforts by congressional Democrats to drive the president from office are being treated internally with political euphoria. Within minutes of news that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would back impeachment proceedings, the Trump campaign was plumbing its base for money and Republican campaigns were tagging opponents who endorsed the effort as do-nothing radicals.

Inside the White House, an entirely different reality is now being confronted, one that involves actually dealing with the likelihood of a painful, cumbersome, intrusive battle that brings what remains of its legislative agenda to a standstill.

The campaign already started fundraising off Pelosi’s announcement within hours on Tuesday. For the White House team, their job is basically to run defense the next 13 months since it’s very unlikely anything legislatively will get done.

We’ll know more in days how the public views the impeachment move, and how Democratic primary voters are reacting. Until then, the campaigns are shuffling to navigate this new landscape created by House Democrats.

21 COMMENTS

  1. I’m impressed with Maguire’s testimony today. He’s giving straight answers and is able to withstand the spin from both Democrats AND Republicans. Speaking with integrity.

      • Just what I said. If Democrats tried to get him to say something against Trump, he refused. If Republicans tried to get him to say something defending trump, he refused. He also praised the whistle-blower, while at the same time, not endorsing the whistle-blower’s contentions.

          • I have been banned on the other site where you recently responded to me, so I’m posting my response back here:

            Touche. I think it’s best to say that AOC has her hand up Nancy’s skirt here.

            But the fact that Nancy couldn’t have waited 48 or 72 hours is obscene. It reveals to all sane people that the facts don’t matter to Democrats and than no means is to repulsive or disreputable if it’s used to destroy the duly elected President and reverse the 2016 election.

            • I was banned (I think it was Snowflakes site) for having a political opinion that was completely different than the owners. The site dealt with being feed up with the present two party system. They wanted what was called a socialist/capitalism system.

              They banned me because I’d said someone who builds a business should be able to make as much money as he/she can. Snowflake said you are out of here.

            • Peak Republicanism right there. “I have been banned on the other site so now I take my weird sexualized conspiracy nonsense here instead.” ?

            • I think it would be a big mistake for the Democrats to impeach Trump. Someone said it would destroy the Democrat party.

              Shoot, AOC doesn’t care about the Dem party anyway. She’s a socialist at heart.

  2. Perhaps aside from Biden or Warren, the impeachment move may benefit Trump as a candidate, more than anyone. The Politico story notes that some Democratic operatives believe this is the case.

    I just can’t begin to understand the Democratic party. It seems to me that they relish the idea of getting crushed by their political opponents. Not only will the call for impeachment help President Trump but it will as stated in this article probably sink any hopes that Joe Biden had.?

    The greater unforeseen impact this will have on Democrats running for whatever office will be monumental. The American electorate aren’t stupid. The do nothing Democratic party is so intent on removing President Trump from office that they will lie, cheat and connive to do so. In all the time I have been following politics I have never seen one individual so vilified by his political opponents. A new scandal pops up as soon as the previous scandal is proven to be a pack of lies. Democrats want the sheeple to think it’s a scandal. All but extreme zealots have reached a saturation point with these neverending scandals.?

    For not serving the American people as they were elected to do I predict that the unemployment lines in late 2020 and early 2021 will be filled with former Democratic officeholders who have been voted out of office.?

  3. I’m disappointed. Is this a game to you. It’s like you are betting in Vegas on the date of the housing market crash and will make millions. Only in this case it is impeachment.

    Who cares what candidate it will affect. Impeachment will affect the country. Don’t say we’ll get rid of Trump that’s your prejudicial problem.

    Millions voted for him to be their president.

    Millions will be disgusted with the so called Democratic procedd if he’s removed.

    • I would hope those millions are now disgusted with the POTUS’s transgressions and skirting of US Law. Party shouldn’t come before Country.

      • Anytime a kid, AOC, is now the Face of a party something is very wrong. As long as AOC is calling the shots anything can happen.

        How did the United States get to the point where someone whom is so inexperienced became leader of the Dem party?

        Whether you like Trump or not no one can call a billionaire inexperienced.

        • She’s 30, you weirdo. And obviosly not “the leader of the party,” whatever that means. And yea, Trump is inexperienced with everything that has to do with being President. He was born rich and hasn’t worked a real job in his life. He has never existed in the real world, where people have to work for a living. He only knows about reality TV shows and golf. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you automatically know things.

          • Hum, So AOC isn’t the face of the party . Ok. Why then did Biden say AOCs green new deal might be realistic in 100 years but now he embraces it? Why when AOC screamed racism did Nancy change her committee position?

            But as you said she’s only 30. Like that matters. She’s highjacked the Dem party. Get used to it.

            Your party is run by kids. Lol.

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