Polling carried out last month by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows a majority of registered voters believe the Democratic Party is focused on impeachment, though only a small percentage of voters believe that is a priority. At the same time, moderate Democrats have told Speaker Pelosi they are not pleased with the party’s current focus and have warned that it could cost them in 2020:
“It’s very frustrating for me — someone coming from a district that was one of the districts that helped get us into the majority — having so much focus on things like impeachment or other issues that are divisive,” [Rep. Anthony] Brindisi said in an interview, adding that he’s been talking to fellow swing-district freshmen who have similar concerns with the fall agenda. “We should be focusing on the kitchen table issues.”
In the same meeting, another moderate in the room, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), pointed to alarming polling from the Democrats’ campaign arm, which showed that voters think the party is “prioritizing impeachment over other issues,” according to an internal summary obtained by POLITICO.
Rep. Murphy was referring to a DCCC poll conducted last month which found 54 percent of registered voters believe investigating Trump is the Democratic Party’s top priority in Congress, even though only 10 percent of voters believe that should be a priority:
Voters’ top tier priorities for Congress are healthcare costs (35%) and immigration (36%), followed by gun violence (21%), climate change (21%), and government corruption (20%). Just 10% said investigating Trump should be a top priority for Congress, but 54% said that they believe it’s the top priority of Democrats in Congress. Roughly one-third said gun violence (33%) and health care costs (27%) are top priorities of congressional Democrats.
Here’s a graphic produced by the DCCC. Notice that the boxes below the bar graph separate out Democratic voters. Those voters say their #1 and #2 priorities are healthcare and a tie between climate change and guns. But in the second column, it appears it is undecided voters who see investigating Trump as the party’s top priority.
In other words, the voters the Democratic Party still needs to persuade are the ones most convinced the party has its priorities out of whack. Last week, moderate Rep. Max Rose wrote an op-ed warning that Democrats were making a mistake:
…there’s far too much work left to be done and we are in danger of losing the trust of the American people if we choose partisan warfare over improving the lives of hardworking families. I made a promise to my constituents to focus on making their lives better, and I won’t break it.
…pursuing a partisan impeachment process won’t address any of those serious issues. The truth is impeachment will only tear our country further apart and we will see no progress on the enormous challenges we face as a nation. Impeachment will not fix our roads and bridges or lower the costs of drugs. Impeachment will not keep our kids safe from gun violence or end the opioid epidemic. Impeachment will not improve the lives of the hardworking Staten Islanders and South Brooklynites that I fight for every day.
But it’s clear that most House Democrats aren’t listening to Rep. Rose or the DCCC polling. Here’s hoping AOC and Jerry Nadler keep driving the entire party into a ditch.