Democrat Incumbents Facing Backlash Over Their Votes for Impeachment

Jan.8, 2020
Bob Adelmann

The results of a poll taken just days before Christmas reveal that likely voters are now inflicting their unhappiness on Democrat representatives who voted for impeaching the president.

A survey of three congressional districts done by NMB Research for American Action Network (AAN) showed voters now have a more unfavorable opinion of their representatives after they voted for impeachment. Although only three of the 31 districts the Republicans have been targeting since last January were included in the survey, the results are making Democrats nervous.

Democrats consider that 44 seats presently held by their party are vulnerable to flipping, including the seat held by Cheri Bustos (D-IL) who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). She put the best face possible on the challenge facing them when she announced a "Frontline" program last summer:

Today, we are announcing that 44 of these members have been elevated to join the Frontline program because we are determined to build a majority that lasts well into the future. Our majority hinges on these members from tough seats winning reelection in 2020, and with today's announcement we're sending a clear message that the DCCC will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight ahead.

She added:

We only have a 17 seat majority.… I happen to come from a district that Donald Trump won. And so I know a little bit about winning in tough districts. So my job is to hang on to this majority and then, number two, to do what I can to grow it.…

So every resource, every bit of the energy and effort is going to be toward doing that.

Those resources pale in comparison to those available to the Republicans, and they will be stretched even further, thanks to AOC. Her political action committee "Justice Democrats" is challenging Democrat incumbents who aren't progressive enough by running candidates against them. And she has recommended that supporters eschew supporting the DCCC and send their donations directly only to those who qualify for her label. She tweeted "If you're a small-dollar donor, pause your donations to the DCCC and give directly to swing candidates instead."

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The poll's results from NMB Research showed that voters in New York's District 22 (represented by Democrat Anthony Brindisi), New Mexico's District 2 (represented by Democrat Xochiti Torres Small), and South Carolina's District 1 (represented by Democrat Joe Cunningham) now have a more unfavorable opinion of their representatives after they voted to impeach President Trump.

Additionally, the survey revealed that likely voters in those districts oppose impeachment of the president by margins even wider than the margins by which they elected President Trump in 2016. Finally, the survey reported that those likely voters in November are seeing the move to impeach the president as a "political charade."

Those districts are just three of the 31 districts the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has been targeting since last January in its efforts to return control of the House back to the Republican Party in November. The GOP lost 40 House seats in 2018, but needs to win only 18 of them to turn control of the House back to the Republican Party. Other seats considered vulnerable by the NRCC are those held by freshmen representatives Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Max Rose (D-N.Y.).

A closer look at just one House member whose hold on his seat in November is tenuous is revealing. Rep. Anthony Brindisi told his constituents back in April that "the way to win an election … is by focusing on issues that people care about. The more we can focus on issues and less on the president, the better it is for the country." For Brindisi, the local issue that won him New York's District 22 was Spectrum, the loathed local cable company.

But that district is largely a rural area of dairy farms, one of the country's most conservative. Voters in that district voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 15 percentage points. Brindisi won the district by just 3,900 votes out of 234,000 votes cast.

Now, the issue is impeachment, and Brindisi voted for both articles and is facing backlash.

Other seats being targeted by the NRCC for recapture are those won by the slimmest of margins in 2018. They include Rep. Kendra Horn, who won her Oklahoma seat by just 1.4 percent in a district that Trump carried by nearly 14 points in 2016. Another is Rep. Joe Cunningham, who won his South Carolina seat by a similar slim margin. Trump carried that district in 2016 by 13 points. Still another is Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who won her New Mexico seat by just 1.8 percent in a district that Trump won by 10 points.

The combination of the faux impeachment by the House and internal resistance by AOC are helping Republicans not only to keep Trump in the White House in November, but to regain control of the House as well.



The Hill: GOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House

The Spectator: How the GOP Will Retake the House in 2020 Voters sour on Democrats who voted for impeachment

Breitbart: Poll: Voters Sour on Swing District Democrats Who Back Impeachment

The Los Angeles Times: As some Democrats seek Trump's impeachment, a few moderates try to change the subject

Background on Anthony Brindisi

Background on Xochiti Torres Small

Background on Joe Cunningham

The New American: Sanders Ahead of Biden, but Not Trump, in Money Race. Still Trails in RCP National Average

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