Americans Hate Overreach: Impeachment Is Helping Trump
"When you strike at a king, you must kill him." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a difference a week makes.
On the eve of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, CNN trumpeted a new poll showing that a majority of Americans want President Trump convicted and removed from office. CNN's senior political writer, Susan Milligan, called it "unwelcome news" because Trump is in a "tight reelection campaign" and because the Republican Senate is "eager to provide him a speedy, witness-free proceeding."
I'd wanted to write a half-column last week calling BS on CNN's numbers, but decided instead to write about weightier matters, like what Hillary Clinton might say to her fellow pols if you got her drunk enough after the election. We can all agree I made the right call on that one.
So why am I writing about it now? Merely as a pretext to look at America's real reaction to impeachment, now that we're nearly a week into Adam's Schifty Nine-Ring Circus.
I won't bore you with a bunch of polls, but literally every item I've seen in recent days shows Trump doing better now than at any time in his first term. Just a few headlines, in case you think I've been drinking my breakfast:
• Voters Love The Economy and Credit Trump For It. ("It's the economy, stupid." Or as frustrated Dems must be muttering to themselves, "It's the stupid economy.")
• Economic prosperity boosts Trump in election poll, counterweight to his unpopularity. (Leave it to ABC "News" to put the Democrat spin right in the headline.)
• Fans already camping out, vendors setting up for Trump's rally in Wildwood. (That's Wildwood in deep blue New Jersey.)
These are not the headlines from a country eager to jettison its chief executive, and the yawns coming from our social media accounts bear that out. Tim Graham wrote for Newsbusters on Sunday that "Social Media Stats Suggest America's BORED by Impeachment Trial." The figures come from Axios social media guy Neal Rothschild, who tried to spin the Big Yawn thusly:
By blocking Democratic attempts to subpoena new documents, the Republican-controlled Senate made sure no dramatic new information would surface during the first few days of the trial — and made it easier for Americans to tune out.
Let me get this straight. The entire presidency is on the line, and yet Americans are looking for reasons not to tune in -- and the absence of John Bolton was just the reason we were looking for?
Trump's likeability numbers have never been very high, and yet here he is doing better than ever at a time when his administration is (supposedly) at risk.
What's going on here? Three words: Americans hate overreach.
Think back to the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. Voters put so many Democrats into office that Dems fooled themselves into thinking there was some sort of sea change going on -- a "permanent Democratic majority," if you will. What was telling though, if perhaps only in retrospect, was that Barack Obama presented himself to voters in 2009 as a moderate. Never mind that many of us saw through the veil, but Obama thought it necessary to run as a moderate against squishy John McCain, not against some conservative firebrand. Once in office, he and his oh-so-temporal majority went about trying to fundamentally transform the nation -- and voters responded to their overreach with yet another wave election in 2010, that one giving the House back to the GOP.
The same thing happened to Bill Clinton in 1994. He also ran as a moderate, but once in office he hiked taxes, banned a wide variety of modern sporting rifles, and attempted a Sovietesque takeover of American health care. Voters responded to that overreach by giving the House to the GOP for the first time in 40 years, and the Senate as the icing on the cake.
Democrats retook the House in 2018, largely by presenting themselves as a more moderate party, one whose new members had learned the lessons of 2016. Once in power, however, they quickly revealed themselves to be the party of Rashida Tlaib, transgender dominance of women, and impeachment. If ratings and social media are anything to go by, Americans aren't even enjoying the circus value of the Dem's quixotic quest to impeach President Trump for the grave sin of colluding with Russia annexing the Sudetenland asking if someone over in Ukraine might look into some very shady business conducted by Biden, Inc.
Americans are reacting to this new overreach by giving Trump better marks than he's enjoyed in three years and one week in office.
Well done, Dems. I hope you keep it up, all the way to November 3.