While the new year signifies a clean slate for most, President Donald Trump still has an impeachment trial hanging over his head. Democrats argued that the evidence against Trump is overwhelming, that his abuse of power is a glaring fact not even his biggest supporters can ignore. But ignore it they have—and then some.
Now that Trump has been impeached, a trial in the Senate will determine whether he’s allowed to stay in office. With the Republicans holding a strong majority, it’s unlikely he’ll be kicked out of the Oval Office.
The impeachment proceedings have cast the President in an unfavorable light, but Trump should really be thanking the Dems—their attempt to boot him from the White House has become one of the strongest pillars in his re-election campaign.
There’s some debate as to whether the impeachment proceedings have had any impact on Trump’s public image. Just a few days ago Trump tied Barack Obama as the most admired man in the country according to a Gallup survey. Gallup also reported that Trump’s approval rating rose in December as support for his impeachment waned . Politico said that a narrow majority of respondents supported impeachment at the end of December.
In every case, the numbers show Americans are split nearly down the middle over whether impeaching Donald Trump was the right move. But one thing is blatantly clear—Trump supporters aren’t budging— they’re becoming more loyal.
As the impeachment hearings played out in public during the fourth quarter, Trump’s campaign raised $46 million . That’s the most the president’s re-election campaign has raised in a single quarter so far this election cycle. Financially, it puts Trump above all his opponents on the other side of the aisle.
More worrying for the Dems is the fact that some of those who oppose Trump also oppose his impeachment . The Economist analyzed YouGov polling data and found that 55% of respondents disapprove of Trump, but only 52% support his impeachment.
With the election now less than a year away, candidates are stepping up their campaign game—or at least they’re trying to. Five Democrat candidates—Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—are Senators. That means they’re going to be participating in the impeachment trial, which is likely to drag on for weeks.
While each has promised to keep their campaign’s vigor alive in their absence, that’s going to be difficult when they can’t be present. The Senators don’t know exactly when or how the trial will take place yet as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has withheld sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. That alone will make it difficult to map out a campaign and garner support as voting begins in key states.
The impeachment trial looks like it could tee Joe Biden up as Trump’s favorite kind of opponent: the villain. Some have already started calling for Biden to be subpoenaed for the Senate trial, a move that will likely breathe life back into Trump’s narrative that Biden and his son are corrupt.
Sound familiar? It’s exactly what happened back in 2016 when the Clintons were cast as a family of crooks. Now as Biden looks likely to become Trump’s opponent, he’s being given an opportunity to do the same.
The wheels appear to be in motion already as a private investigation firm claims it has evidence that Hunter Biden was involved in a “counterfeiting scheme” that raked in $156 million. The firm says it gained access to Biden’s bank accounts in connection to a child custody lawsuit, but that the records verify that Hunter has been involved in illegal activity through Burisma—the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of Trump’s impeachment trial.