No matter how you tart up the current “impeachment inquiry” it is the embodiment of the maxim of Soviet NKVD chief and pedophile Lavrentiy Beria: You show me the man and I’ll show you the crime. It has been obvious since November 2016 that the Democrats would pursue impeachment of President Trump and it was really obvious in the prelude to the 2018 election that should the Democrats win the House that impeachment was inevitable. (See my post from May 2018 on this subject.) Now that the Democrats have their impeachment, they are finding that it may not play out as well as they thought it would.
Impeachment is not popular with the public. A couple of days ago I posted on an Emerson poll which showed a seismic shift in how independents view impeachment (see New Emerson Poll Has More Bad News for Democrats and Impeachment Fans). This poll merely repeated a trend appearing in all polls. This, via Vanity Fair, is really the killer:
"By massive margins, Independents say that the impeachment issue is “more important to politicians than it is to me” (62% to 22%) and “more important to the media than it is to me” (61% to 23%)." https://t.co/HjpIIQ51UN via @VanityFair
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) November 22, 2019
The Trump campaign is raising a lot of money from impeachment and they are using it in a way that is causing panic among the Democrat House members who were responsible for flipping it from American to Democrat control.
Vulnerable Democrats are watching in horror as GOP impeachment attacks deluge their districts back home. And they want a much stronger counteroffensive from their own party and its allies.
Some of those Democrats raised their concerns with party leaders this week as they prepared to leave for Thanksgiving recess, fearing that voters will be bombarded by anti-impeachment ads as families gather around the TV for parades and football, according to multiple lawmakers and aides.
GOP-aligned outside groups have spent roughly $8 million on TV spots this cycle in battleground districts, such as Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s central New York seat. The vast majority of those ads specifically hammer Democrats over impeachment.
Meanwhile, swing-district Democrats are receiving little reinforcement from their own party or even other liberal coalitions. Democratic and pro-impeachment groups have spent about $2.7 million in TV ads, according to an analysis of spending by the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics. And more than $600,000 of that total went to ads targeting Republican incumbents, not helping vulnerable Democratic members.
And there are more: A pro-Trump group called Presidential Coalition, backed by conservative force Citizens United, announced this week that it’s spending more than $1 million on TV ads in the districts of Brindisi, Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.).
Then there’s the big spending by Trump’s reelection team, which announced $10 million in spending on television and digital ads just days after House Democrats formally declared their impeachment inquiry in September.
But the story is not $8 million vs $2.7 million. It is how and where the money is targeted. The Democrat spending is going after GOP incumbents. The GOP spending is going after vulnerable freshmen. The GOP advertising is on impeachment while the Democrat spending is on a variety of issues.
Democratic-aligned groups, however, have begun spending on ads. Last week, the liberal coalition Protect Our Care launched a $2 million digital ad campaign to promote a Democratic drug-pricing bill. But GOP groups are devoting far more cash, including a roughly $5 million buy on anti-impeachment TV ads across 18 Democratic districts by American Action Network, a nonprofit tied to House GOP leadership.
Don’t know how to break this to you, Democrats, but drug pricing is NOT going to be a issue in any campaign this year so it is money wasted.
Democrat leadership is whistling past the graveyard on this.
Some say Democrats are already earning free media from the wall-to-wall coverage of this month’s impeachment hearings, which they believe has been largely good for their party and hurtful for Republicans.
And they say any TV ads so early in the cycle would do little to sway voters. Instead, they argue GOP spending is more of an attempt to get Democrats to spend big with almost a year left to go.
“It’s not about changing voters’ minds. It’s about pressuring Democrats,” one Democratic national strategist said.
If roughly 2/3 of voters say impeachment is not important to them, the earned media you get isn’t necessarily a good thing. If a majority of voters are against removing Trump from office and the number is declining week by week, reminding voters that you are the one leading the charge probably isn’t going to go over big.
It is a long time until November but the Democrats are lagging in fundraising, none of their signature policies are supported by Americans, and impeachment has transformed from a silver bullet to a millstone about the neck…and the Democrat consultants are cashing their checks and singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”