Accuracy in Media

As the 2020 presidential campaign ramps up, in addition to congressional races held in 2020, the rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle is also escalating. One of the main focuses of the progressive Democratic Party is to push through impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Although the Democrat-majority House of Representatives could move impeachment forward, the U.S. Senate (which has a Republican majority) would most likely not approve impeachment proceedings. This reality has not diminished pro-impeachment enthusiasm among progressive voters and activists, in addition to multiple Democratic congressional representatives.

Politico published an article on how some swing-state Democratic congressional representatives are pro-impeachment, such as freshman congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and other Orange County congressional representatives. Orange County used to be a Republican bastion in California, but the 2018 midterm elections saw the county’s seats flip from Republican to Democrat.

The article, headlined, “’You are helping him’: Vulnerable Democrats grilled on impeachment,” acknowledged that despite significant activist support for impeachment, and some congressional support for impeachment proceedings, the political stance puts swing-state representatives like Porter in extreme political danger. According to Politico, 99 Democrats do not support impeachment in Congress while 136 Democrats support impeachment or at least an inquiry into impeachment. As expected, 0 Republicans support impeachment.

However, the article omitted an important piece of information in making its case of why swing-state Democratic congressional representatives are in danger of losing their seats over being pro-impeachment. Polling shows that while a majority of Democrats favor impeachment, independents and Republicans do not favor impeachment. Monmouth University has polled Americans on the impeachment question since July 2017 and found support for impeachment has ranged between 35 percent to 42 percent, which is not a majority by any stretch of the imagination.

Specifically, 72 percent of Democrats favor impeachment, with only 39% of independents and 8% of Republicans agreeing on impeachment. Meaning, in swing-state districts like Porter’s in Orange County or in other states, Democrats could lose those seats come 2020 elections because the issue is strictly partisan without significant independent support.

It is important to note this omission in the Politico article because it adds more context and data to solidify the article’s broader argument that being pro-impeachment imperils certain congressional representatives’ political future.

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