A Southeast Missouri State University political scientist in Cape Girardeau says whether the presidential impeachment process will hurt Democrats or Republicans in 2020 is hard to tell. Dr. Laura Hatcher says history shows the GOP and Democratic parties do not get destroyed by an impeachment trial, like some claim.
“We’re a year out away from the election and a lot of things can happen,” says Hatcher. “I think the economy is usually the bigger issue. When Clinton was impeached, the House Republicans at that time had some unfavorables but you notice we had a Republican president not too long thereafter.”
Hatcher says dragging out the process into next summer could impact votes, but she does not expect lawmakers to go that far.
“The further away the impeachment and trial are from the actual election, the more likely there will be an intervening set of variables, like the economy or another war. I mean, you just never know what’s going to happen,” says Hatcher.
Some analysts have questioned why Democrats have not broadened their probe to include evidence gathered in Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I think the Mueller report – there was plenty of possible evidence of wrongdoing but if the Democrats are thinking about this in terms of having a simple, clear case, the Mueller report would muck up their waters pretty quickly. Whereas, if they can keep this narrow and relatively simple, they have a better chance – even if they lose in the Senate – of being able to make use of the evidence down the road,” Hatcher says.
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have their main talking points and have been regularly pointing fingers at the other side when it comes to the president’s actions with Ukraine and the testimony that has unfolded.
“Vetting the evidence, getting it all out there can be helpful, but when things are complicated or hard to understand, it’s easier to make fodder out of it later on,” she says.
Hatcher encourages Missourians to read multiple news sources from different ideological spectrums – not social media – to assess evidence about the President’s handling of federal aid to Ukraine in exchange for a political favor.
“What I mean by that is, you should probably read both the Washington Times and the Washington Post. Or, the Washington Examiner and the New York Times,” says Hatcher. “Just take a quick look and see what they have to say – not the editorials and not the columnists – but rather the hard news summaries about what’s going on.”
She also says c-span.org offers featured video clips summarizing the impeachment hearings.
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