Why a conservative columnist thinks Republicans' impeachment strategy will blow up in their faces
It remains to be seen whether Republicans will maintain their U.S. Senate majority in November’s election. If Democrats are able to flip four GOP-help seats while holding onto all of the seats they are defending, Mitch McConnell would cease to be Senate majority leader in January 2021. And conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in a scathing column published on Friday morning, argues that Senate Republicans — with their appalling behavior during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — are giving Democrats plenty of material for attack ads against incumbent GOP senators who are seeking reelection this year.
“The impeachment trial will not result in President Trump’s removal,” Rubin writes, “but it could well result in Republicans’ removal from the Senate majority.”
The Never Trump conservative notes that a “slew of Republican incumbents,” according to Morning Consult, “were below 45% approval even before the trial began….. In their refusal to allow new witnesses and documents, their determination to acquit even before the trial began and their conduct during the trial, they are creating a plethora of opportunities for opponents’ ad makers.”
The incumbent GOP senators Rubin specifically mentions include Maine’s Susan Collins, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Arizona’s Martha McSally, Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Texas’ John Cornyn. Texas remains an uphill climb for Democrats, but the fact that former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke came within striking distance of Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas’ U.S. Senate race in 2018 indicates that Texas, at this point, is light red rather than deep red. And Collins, Ernst, McSally and Gardner are among the GOP incumbents who are considered vulnerable this year.
Rubin observes that the Lincoln Project, a group of Never Trump conservatives, has already created an attack ad against Collins — and she predicts that other Republican incumbents in the Senate will be targeted as well.
“Think of the ads that may highlight the total lack of professionalism by senators who read books, doodle, wander off, fall asleep and sneer at the House managers,” Rubin writes.
The conservative columnist goes on to say, “Far too many Republicans have conducted themselves in ways that many grade school teachers would not tolerate…. There are the lawmakers who play dumb, suggesting that there is no evidence of guilt. There are senators who whine that they are bored. Some simultaneously claim that there is nothing new and that they don’t need to hear from witnesses. Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were peeved that House manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) suggested that refusing to allow witnesses was akin to enabling Trump’s cover-up. Wouldn’t it be?”
Rubin concludes her column by stressing that incumbent Republican senators who refuse to look at the facts during Trump’s impeachment trial could pay a price for it when Americans vote in November.
“So far, not a single Republican has upheld his or her oath to ‘administer impartial justice’ by demanding to see all relevant new evidence, although hope springs eternal that some may come around after the two sides have presented their cases,” Rubin asserts. “In behaving as they have, Republicans are managing not only to deprive the president of a legitimate acquittal in the eyes of Americans — who overwhelmingly want a real trial — but also, to convince voters that Republicans should not be entrusted with power.”