On the first day of Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, Mitch McConnell lost his gambit to force the defense and prosecution to squeeze their cases into twelve hour days, which would have run past midnight, and would thus have been difficult to watch for the average American sitting at home. Then, as the day’s procedural moves went on, it was the Democrats who turned McConnell’s midnight madness strategy against him.
Right around midnight eastern time, Senators were voting on the seventh amendment to the impeachment trial proceedings that had been proposed by the Democrats. It failed along party lines, just like the six amendments that had been voted on before it. None of these amendments, introduced in the name of making the trial more fair and legitimate, were going to pass. But the Democrats just kept bringing them, and in the process, they kept making the case for what a sham of a trial the Republicans want this trial to be.
Believe it or not, this matters. The polling averages show that around 50% of Americans want the Senate to convict and remove Donald Trump, while around 70% of Americans want the Senate to call witnesses and hold a fair trial. That means roughly 20% of Americans haven’t decided that they want Trump ousted, but have decided that they need to hear more from the people involved in his scandals before making up their minds about Trump’s fate.
The Democrats made a loud and clear argument last night to those 20% of Americans whose opinions are up for grabs in this trial. The Democrats made clear that they’re trying to force a legitimate trial, and it’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party that’s stopping a fair trial from happening. This puts pressure on the most vulnerable Senate Republicans to cave next week and allow for witnesses against Trump, for fear they’ll lose their own seats. And if they don’t cave, voters will indeed punish them (and Trump) for it. This is no-win territory for Trump and the GOP.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report