Payback: Pence to begin campaigning in new House Dem districts over impeachment

Impeachment is a political process. Mike Pence wants to make sure House Democrats understand that. Politico reports that the vice president will embark on a campaign tour through congressional districts that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but elected Democrats to Congress in 2018 to argue that Democrats are obsessed with overturning the first election, rather than focus on their issues:

Starting this week, Vice President Mike Pence will embark on a national tour of congressional districts represented by Democrats who’ve come out in support of the inquiry. The move comes as the administration is struggling to combat an intensifying investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Each of the districts on Pence’s itinerary were won by Trump in 2016, making them potent targets for Republicans. The vice president will travel Wednesday to the southwest Iowa district of Rep. Cindy Axne, and Thursday he’s slated to visit the suburban Twin Cities district of another freshman Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig. The vice president is then scheduled to barnstorm an array of battleground districts, including those held by Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger. …

While national surveys show growing support for impeachment, Republicans contend it’s far lower in the Democratic-held swing districts they’re targeting. The National Republican Congressional Committee released a polling memo last week that argued that two-thirds of voters in those districts “agree that Democrats in Congress are too obsessed with impeaching the president and should be working on” other issues.

How well will this go? The visit to Minnesota’s 2nd CD, where I live, might not be particularly instructive. Trump did win it in 2016, along with Jason Lewis after John Kline’s retirement from the House, but not by much — 46.07%/44.88%. Barack Obama won this district in 2012 by an even thinner margin (48.91/48.85), after having lost it by only two points in 2008. Before that, George W. Bush won comfortably in both of his elections with solid majorities. The truth is that MN-02 has changed considerably over the last 22 years in which I’ve lived in it, a truth that John Kline’s popularity and integrity largely papered over until his retirement. The DFL has made a lot of inroads in state and local elections here, and even a new push by Pence may not recover it.

Still, that may not be the case everywhere else, and even here in MN-02 impeachment probably won’t sell. Trump may not be well liked, but voters here didn’t send Angie Craig to Washington to tie up Congress for two years over Democrats’ distaste for Trump. They promised to govern and to focus on voter priorities, and in suburban districts like MN-02, voters aren’t prioritizing a Beltway food fight, which is what this is after the collapse of the Russia-collusion hypothesis.

Democrats want to counter by doubling down on impeachment and Pence’s supposed involvement in Trump’s “crimes”:

“At every stop Vice President Pence makes he’ll have to answer for his own role in this growing scandal,” said Cole Leiter, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, “and any candidate who is still willing to appear publicly with Vice President Pence will have made it clear that they accept the Trump administration’s wholesale eagerness to betray the office of the American president.”

Er … sure, that’ll work. To keep this from looking like a case of political sour grapes, Democrats have to make this about Trump. Calling for Pence’s impeachment will only make this look more like an attempt to reverse an election that Democrats didn’t like rather than just win an election on their own. How’s that project going? As Allahpundit noted in the previous post — poorly.

It’s probably too late to stop Trump’s impeachment after Nancy Pelosi’s alea iacta est declaration. If there are any sane minds in the House Democratic caucus, though, they’ll yank the leash back on this kind of talk, which will only amplify Pence’s message in these districts. In fact, don’t be surprised if Pence plays the audio in this clip from the stump. Pence and the RNC will do everything they can to make sure that House Democrat freshmen feel the pain for moving forward on Pelosi’s impeachment rather focus on their voters.

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