Democrats have long hoped that they could convince just a handful of Senate Republicans to join them in voting for President Donald Trump’s ouster. But now, it looks like Dems can’t even count on members of their own party to follow through on impeachment.
The Hill reported Saturday that at least two Democrat senators have signaled “that they are undecided on whether to” fall in line with the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff or break with their party and vote to acquit President Trump.
Chief among the Democrats considered most likely to break ranks are Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both of whom hail from reliably red states that President Trump won in 2016. Both senators have made clear that they are keeping an open mind throughout Trump’s trial.
“I’m as impartial as I can possibly be, as I’ve always been,” Manchin told reporters on Saturday, according to The Hill. “I’m wide open on this, and we’ll see where the facts go.”
The West Virginia lawmaker stressed to reporters that he takes his oath to impartiality “very seriously.”
Meanwhile, Jones, who is facing a tough re-election fight this fall, told reporters that House Democrats have made a “compelling case” — but he hasn’t made a decision just yet.
“I’m hoping to hear the facts and the rebuttal from the president,” he said. “I think that’s only appropriate.”
According to The Hill, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is also thought to be considering acquittal, though she has yet to release a public statement saying as much.
The possibilities are endless
But those aren’t the only Democrats who may vote to acquit the president. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway pointed last week to three other Senate Dems who could cross party lines.
One such lawmaker is Michigan’s Gary Peters, who is facing a tough re-election battle of his own this November in a state won by Trump, and where impeachment has become increasingly unpopular, according to the polls.
Hemingway also mentioned Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN) as possible defectors. Both senators come from states where impeachment has been shown to be unpopular, and neither is considered safe ahead of November’s elections.
Here’s what really matters
Of course, it is all but guaranteed that the House impeachment managers will fail to convince two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict President Trump — which would require all 47 Democrats and 20 Republicans to stand together — so a handful of moderates on either side of the aisle crossing over may not matter much.
That said, a bipartisan acquittal for the president would go a long way toward helping Trump get past this sham of an impeachment, at least in the eyes of independent voters.