Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters as he walks towards the Senate as Congress moves closer to the funding deadline to avoid a government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democrats face an uphill climb in their effort to remove President Donald Trump from office.
In order to have a removal after an impeachment, you’d have to have a 2/3 supermajority, or 67 votes. Republicans have 53 votes and Democrats, with independents who caucus with them would be 47.
So Democrats would need a boatload of Republicans to flip which is why most people think that it’s pretty much not going to happen.
But what Democratic leaders may not have counted on is Democrats flipping on them and voting for acquittal now that they’ve seen how weak the case is.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, caused a furor on Tuesday when the LA Times reported that she might be considering acquitting Trump. After their story ran, however, she issued a statement appearing to back off that claim.
But wherever Feinstein may stand, there are at least three others who reportedly are legitimately considering it and who have previously demonstrated they wouldn’t necessarily vote party line.
From Daily Wire:
“Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Doug Jones of Alabama are undecided on whether to vote to remove the president from office and agonizing over where to land,” Politico reported. “It’s a decision that could have major ramifications for each senator’s legacy and political prospects — as well shape the broader political dynamic surrounding impeachment heading into the 2020 election.”
The move would give the president a bipartisan acquittal to the Democrats’ partisan charges, something that Trump is eagerly seeking.
“All three senators remain undecided after hearing arguments from the impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team. But they could end up with a creative solution,” Politico added. “One or more senators may end up splitting their votes, borrowing a move from Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who voted for the abuse of power charge but against the one on obstruction of Congress.”
Splitting is silly as a political option because then no one is happy with you. It only makes sense if you truly believed there was evidence for one and not the other. In this case, there isn’t evidence to support either one, but the obstruction charge is just ridiculous.
Manchin voted for Kavanaugh, Jones against and Sinema was not yet in office.
That would give Democrats another hit if the anti-removal was bipartisan, just like the anti-impeachment was in the House. They would not only lose, but lose with the help of their own.
Ultimately that would be the best because it could then help to make people take impeachment seriously again, to not be a political effort as this was, but return to being a bipartisan thing for serious “high crimes and misdemeanors.” That would be real moral courage to protect the Constitution by Democrats.