Democrats who, just days ago, were talking exclusively about President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, have now shifted to other subjects, perhaps sensing that Americans, growing weary of a visibly partisan process with a foregone conclusion, are tuning out of the trials, leaving it nearly impossible for Democrats to translate the issue into success at the ballot box.
Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took time out from his regularly scheduled remarks about the unfairness of holding a trial in a deeply divided Senate without being allowed to present evidence and witnesses that were not first assessed by the House committees in charge of compiling a case for the president’s impeachment, to assail President Trump for attacking, of all things, Social Security.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Schumer criticized Trump for talking about Social Security while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“Even as the impeachment trial is underway, Trump is still talking about cutting your Social Security,” Schumer said during his remarks, adding that Trump was among the global elites when he suggested cutting back on “entitlement spending.”
Social Security is always a popular issue for voters — particularly primary voters, who skew older — and it’s a perennial concern for Democratic candidates, who try to utilize the fear surrounding the issue, particularly among the elderly and the “Baby Boomer” generation, to cultivate support.
But right now, Social Security is not just a backburner issue, it’s not even clear that the parties disagree on how to handle it. When Trump was asked about government spending at the WEF, he said only that he would consider cutting back “entitlement spending” if America’s booming domestic economy continues to gain momentum, and did not mention Social Security explicitly and, as one Twitter user pointed out, much of the spending keeping Social Security afloat is mandatory spending, which the Executive has no choice but to support.
“Not only did Trump never actually say he was cutting spending, his own budget proposals expand Medicare and Social Security spending faster than Obama,” added GOP strategist Donny Ferguson. “This is like in ’96 when the GOP increased Medicare spending and the media screamed Republicans were ‘gutting Medicare.'”
But what’s interesting isn’t that Democrats are suddenly and bizarrely concerned with entitlement spending now — or any issue, really, other than impeachment.
Although polls show that Americans support removing the president from office by a very narrow margin (in some cases, as narrow as 1%), the breakdown of support shows that the issue is largely partisan, with Republicans supporting the president, and Democrats supporting his ouster. And national numbers mean little; Trump’s strength is in courting moderate, independent, and often Democratic voters in battleground states, including across the midwest and in the “rust belt,” where those voters are largely blue collar.
Those voters are tuning out of the impeachment proceedings.
Primetime numbers from last night on impeachment are really telling in terms of American apathy/fatigue/frustration of the whole process as we move to the Senate: Total average viewers from 8:00-11:00pm: Fox News – 3.51 million; MSNBC – 2.53 million; CNN – 1.51 million.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) January 22, 2020
“Primetime numbers from last night on impeachment are really telling in terms of American apathy/fatigue/frustration of the whole process as we move to the Senate: Total average viewers from 8:00-11:00pm: Fox News – 3.51 million; MSNBC – 2.53 million; CNN – 1.51 million,” according to TV reporter, Joe Concha.
Democrats have hinged their 2020 strategy on impeachment and it’s clearly not turning out the way they hoped.