It is still likely that Republicans will maintain control of the U.S. Senate after the 2020 elections, but impeachment is giving Democrats a big window of opportunity that could grow as the inquiry rages on.
According to former Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Republicans in the Senate are struggling to defend Donald Trump and a lot of them “understand that this is serious, that there’s real potential political peril out there for them.”
“The only ones that could potentially bail Republicans out of this is Democrats by mishandling it, and it appears that Nancy Pelosi is being extremely careful, and that’s unlikely,” he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 30, 2019
They’re worried, Chris, and they’re also tired. There’s Trump fatigue all over the country and that includes the House Republican conference and the Senate Republican conference. That’s why you see, in part, some Republicans walking away, choosing not to run for re-election. Some of them think that it’s going to be difficult to get re-elected, others are just tired of having to defend Donald Trump, of having to answer for all of his conduct. So there is a growing concern. It kind of feels the way it did about 6 to 7 weeks out of the 2016 election when some Republicans started creating some distance between themselves and the president. Of course, that election took a number of interesting twists and turns after that. But certainly, a lot of Republicans understand that this is serious, that there’s real potential political peril out there for them when it comes to this issue. This is not like the Russia probe where Mueller came in and, in a way, kind of bailed Republicans out. This is different. The only ones that could potentially bail Republicans out of this is Democrats by mishandling it, and it appears that Nancy Pelosi is being extremely careful, and that’s unlikely.
This is only going to get worse for Republicans
Privately, Republicans know that Donald Trump’s Ukraine extortion scandal is indefensible, but their fear of the president and their prioritization of politics over country is guiding their public behavior.
But the longer the impeachment process plays out, the harder it will be for vulnerable Republican senators to defend the president.
In fact, there are signs that this strategy is already backfiring for the GOP.
As The National Journal notes, “New polls and fundraising reports show key GOP senators in political trouble, giving Democrats a solid shot to win back control of the upper chamber.”
With public hearings on the way and a formal House impeachment vote taking place later this week, the process is only going to escalate and make the politics much more deadly for Republicans.
The GOP is still the favorite to retain control of the U.S. Senate, but the fact that the Republican-friendly map is now shifting toward the Democrats shows just how badly impeachment is crushing them.