Whether or not the Senate agrees to witnesses, the Sunday shows could be, for lack of a better term, bonkers. Just think of the incumbent Senators, Joe Biden and others seizing the news cycle to the dismay of President Trump. With telegenic earnestness, Biden, for example, could explain how his 2015 demand for Viktor Shokin’s removal as Ukraine’s prosecutor-general was part of international frustration over Shokin failing to investigate numerous allegations of corruption. Biden would note that, contrary to Republican claims that he did this for his son Hunter, who then sat on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, his demand could have restarted a Shokin-stymied investigation of Burisma co-founder Mykola Zlochevsy. That would burnish Biden as a 2020 presidential candidate while Republicans would come off as Trump’s hapless dupes and sycophants.
That is not the look of a political party that should be trusted with policymaking majorities. (One wonders why Republicans are so eager to give Biden a platform by calling him to testify in the impeachment trial. Don’t they know better, or are they playing Russian roulette?)
If this is the Democratic strategy and they effectively carry it out, it would better frame the 2020 election around whether Trump’s actions were corrupt and/or if he nonetheless had the right to ask Ukraine to investigate (or, more accurately, to say they were investigating) Biden? No doubt, the diehard MAGA folks would say the latter. But what about those voters who are best described as “Trump-tolerant” because they dislike the man but generally like his policies, or they simply dislike the Democrats more? These voters are closer on the political spectrum to the median voter, and more likely to swing elections.