However, the speaker’s slow-walk strategy is double-edged. She can’t secure a victory regarding how the trial proceeds, unless the trial proceeds. And while Trump may grouse if he doesn’t get a splashy acquittal vote, McConnell doesn’t seem to mind. He would rather his blue state Republican senators avoid taking any controversial impeachment-related votes. “I’m not sure what leverage there is from refraining from sending us something we do not want,” McConnell crowed upon hearing about Pelosi’s delay.
Pelosi has already had her 31 Democratic members who represent Trump-won districts take a politically risky impeachment vote, in which neither a “Yea” nor “Nay” vote could easily satisfy all elements of their support back home. (Still, nearly every Democrat voted to impeach.) The only way to spread the political risk is for blue and purple state Senate Republicans to take tough impeachment votes as well. That doesn’t happen if Pelosi keeps the articles of impeachment in her pocket.
Furthermore, allowing the Senate to avoid a trial gives Trump and his allies the ability to accuse House Democrats of playing politics with their impeachment power, a charge that could sting in those red districts. If the stalemate goes on for too long, vulnerable House Democrats could publicly break with Pelosi and demand the articles be sent to the Senate, without any deal in hand for how the trial will be run.