Something to bear in mind the next time Pelosi starts burbling about how “prayerful” this process has been for them.
Apparently Jesus told her to start focus-grouping battleground states to find the way forward.
Chris Wallace passed along the info to Fox viewers this morning…
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 15, 2019
…and WaPo reported on it last night:
Several Democrats have stopped using the term “quid pro quo,” instead describing “bribery” as a more direct summation of Trump’s alleged conduct.
The shift came after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conducted focus groups in key House battlegrounds in recent weeks, testing messages related to impeachment. Among the questions put to participants was whether “quid pro quo,” “extortion” or “bribery” was a more compelling description of Trump’s conduct. According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found “bribery” to be most damning. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been made public.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a House Intelligence Committee member, kicked off the effort to retire “quid pro quo” from the Democratic vocabulary during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he said “it’s probably best not to use Latin words” to explain Trump’s actions.
It makes me laugh to think of Dems needing a focus group to explain to them that “bribery,” a concept even kindergarteners grasp as wrong, is a bit more effective than “quid pro quo” when trying to turn public opinion against the president. That’s so elementary that I assumed they switched to bribery in their messaging for legal reasons, because it’s an impeachable offense specified in the Constitution. No more hiding by the GOP behind the vagueness of the term “high crimes and misdemeanors”! Pelosi was about to put them on the spot: This is bribery, son. It’s right there in black and white in Article II. If the facts are there, you must vote to remove.
But no, turns out she and Schiff needed a group of average joes to officially confirm that bribe sounds worse than some Latin term known mainly to lawyers.
I’m surprised Trump hasn’t highlighted the focus-grouping on Twitter yet. Not only does it underline that impeachment is a political process, being run by people who stand to gain electorally by investigating him, but it leaves Democrats open to the claim that they’re not just tweaking the terminology based on public opinion, they’re tweaking the actual charges. If the facts, which haven’t changed materially since this started, told a straightforward story of bribery all along then why was the less definitive “abuse of power” cited until recently as the core claim against POTUS?
Ah well, doesn’t matter. Probably no one is watching these hearings who hasn’t already been persuaded one way or the other already:
Lots of Democrats are watching, no doubt because they’re psyched to see Trump formally accused of wrongdoing by witnesses. Lots of Republicans are not watching, either because they don’t want to see it or because they’re not going to be convinced by some Democratic production. Maybe the numbers will move for Trump’s Senate trial, when the stakes are higher and the GOP is in charge.
If I were Pelosi, I’d be worried about those independent numbers, though. It stands to reason that they’re the most persuadable voters out there. It’s one thing for partisan Republicans to skip the hearings but if indies are tuning out too then whose mind is to be changed by them? No one’s. As they’re increasingly coming to realize.