Democrat Senators from red states have expressed concern that the impeachment process started by Nancy Pelosi “may spin out of control and destroy any chance their party might have of winning back the majority next year,” according to a report from The Hill. These Democrats believe that if their party doesn’t act quickly, Trump could “turn the tables on them.”
“It’s really incumbent on the House to really be laser-focused. The president is a master of pivoting and deflecting and I think it’s really important to stay focused,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who narrowly won re-election in a Republican-leaning state in 2018.
Tester said the impeachment inquiry should be focused on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he pressed for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D), who represents Trump-friendly West Virginia, also warned of Democrats focusing on old issues.
“I think it’s much better if it’s going to be focused because there’s a whole load of hay out there that they’ve been talking about for so long,” he said.
One Democrat senator who spoke anonymously said that Nancy Pelosi wants to keep the scope of the impeachment inquiry as “narrow” as possible. This anonymous senator supports a broader inquiry but said that “people are worried” about an internal political fallout.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is up for re-election next year in a pro-Trump state, said he doesn’t want impeachment to drag on and expressed concern they could drown out negotiations on a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and a multi-year highway authorization bill.
“Obviously we need to get to the bottom of all this quickly,” he said. “I want it to come to a head as quickly as possible. I think the American people deserve it to be resolved one way or another.”
Jones said the pending USMCA trade deal, which is now in jeopardy because of the brewing impeachment fight, is “a good thing for the state of Alabama.”
Jones is up for reelection in 2020, and Trump won Alabama by 30 points in 2016, putting him a rather uncomfortable position if he wants to win next year. If House Democrats succeed in impeaching Trump, red-state Democrats in the Senate will have to decide whether to vote to convict. Even if this process is completed quickly, a vote on the record to convict Trump over a phone call with no quid pro quo would be a terrible political move—one that Republican challengers would exploit endlessly to destroy their hopes of capturing the Senate in 2020.