Impeachment Could Lead To A First In The 2020 Election



President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly shattered political tradition, may find himself in another unprecedented circumstance in 2020: He could become the first president ever to be impeached by the House and then seek another term in the next election.

For Trump, an impeachment confrontation that highlights the aspects of his presidency that most concern swing voters -- from his volatility to his willingness to skirt if not smash legal constraints -- could force him further toward a 2020 strategy centered on maximizing turnout among his core supporters.

As impeachment proceeds, the division in the country "is going to go into the stratosphere," predicts Charles Coughlin, a veteran Republican political strategist based in Phoenix. "Which I think creates an opportunity for a candidate ... to fill that narrative: We have to start talking about what brings us together and not what pushes us apart. I think there will be giant pieces of room in the electorate, both Republican and Democratic, to articulate that notion."

This is a unique situation, one thing that's clear already is that if the House votes to impeach Trump -- and the Senate does not reach the two-thirds majority required to remove him from office -- the nation will face a novel political situation in 2020. 

None of the previous three presidents who faced a serious impeachment threat appeared on the next general election ballot.

Indeed, in last week's Marist Poll, fully 95% of voters who disapproved of Trump's job performance also said they now intend to vote against him for reelection. Eight-five percent of those who disapproved in the survey endorsed the extraordinary step of the Senate removing him from office.

One of the biggest unanswered questions impeachment raises is whether the confrontation will change the kind of alternative that most voters skeptical of Trump will find appealing in 2020.


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