Some months ago, Donald Trump became the third American president in history to stand on trial after being impeached. With the 2020 Election approaching (3rd November), it becomes a question whether this incident will aid Trump in his re-electoral campaign and win the votes of Americans to remain President.
Recap: What Impeachment Means
As sources like the BBC described, impeachment is ‘a process that allows senior figures in government to hold other officials (like judges, the president and cabinet members) to account if they’re suspected of committing offences while in office.’
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for two motives:
1 – Abuse of power. Trump held back millions of dollars of military aid for Ukraine and held a meeting with its President as bargaining chips to secure his spot as president. Some witnesses said that Trump asked Ukraine’s leader to publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden, the Democratic leader and possibly his main rival in the election.
2 – Obstructing Congress. Democrats accused Trump of hindering Congress, which was investigated him, by not allowing staff at the White House to testify at the first impeachment hearing of last year.
Trump then had to face a political trial at the Senate, the upper house of Congress, where members would decide whether he would be convicted of his offences or not. Trump survived this with 52-48 to reject the first impeachment article and 53-47 to reject the second one, according to USA Today, which did not come near to the two-thirds of majority that was needed to remove Trump from office.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, quoted in CNN’s article, said that despite the investigation, the Senate decided to acquit Trump as he had “Successfully advanced the interests of the United States and remained focused on the issues that matter to Americans.”
Even though past presidents like Clinton survived through impeachment, Trump will be the first impeached president to stand for re-election. His resilience towards the incident could make his electoral campaign stronger than ever – of course, it all depends on how many Americans support him.
Trump’s Presidency Approval Rate
Recent findings show that Trump’s support is more elevated than ever. A new Gallup poll, conducted from 3rd-16th of February, shows that Trump’s approval as president rose up to 49% since his impeachment, which is the highest support rate Trump has ever received in his years as president.
The poll also showed that most Americans are positive on how things are going in the US currently. The latest survey showed a 45% of satisfaction, which is the highest rating since 2005 (46%). It can thus be noted that Americans are satisfied with the way things are going with Trump on top, and his impeachment has not affected this as Gallup stated that the support percentage “had already improved from 36% to 41% in a Jan. 3-16 poll, before the rise in Trump’s job approval rating in late January.” Other sources like the Guardian reported that a recent CBS poll stated that 65% of Americans are confident that Trump will be re-elected.
An article by Time reported that Trump’s campaign team are seeing his survival of impeachment as an advantage rather than a weakness against the Democrats. His social media ads on impeachment generated a spike in fundraising in the run up to his trial, with Facebook being one of Trump’s most powerful campaign tools. Time commented, “the Democrats’ desire to not let impeachment clog up the workings of government has created an opening in last-minute budget and bill negotiations that could drive policy gains that Trump wants.” An example of the latter would be an increase of military pay, flexibility with federal funds on the border wall, rolling back provisions from ex-President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and passing the USMC (United States Mexico Canada) deal.
“They can be tough,” a senior Trump aide, quoted in Time’s article, said, “but we can be tougher. They keep making up their own rules because Trump is not natural to Washington. And then when we break the rules back, they get incensed by it.”
2020 Election Winner?
Even though nothing is clear, the evidence seems to suggest that it is likely that Trump’s impeachment, rather than causing a detrimental effect, could strengthen his re-election campaign. This is because the impeachment acted in line with America’s best interest and happened around a period where most Americans are satisfied how the President is running things. However, whether he will win the upcoming election is still yet to be seen, as the Democrats are set to continue investigating Trump and his administration.