Nervous America launches Sunday countdown a year before the 2020 election, Donald Trump betting on his followers to take a second term and overcome the investigation for his dismissal that crushes the campaign.
Democrats have embarked on this perilous path, at the risk of overshadowing the debates of their primary. And their champion for the 2020 presidential election has yet to emerge from a record number of contenders.
“We have never had as much support as we have now.” With a stern look, surrounded by a tide of red caps, President Trump on Friday dismissed the idea that the impeachment proceedings against him could deprive him of a second term.
On the contrary, he assures, it allows him to galvanize his troops, an “angry majority” according to him, who denounces together “a witch hunt”. In a tone that augurs a particularly acrimonious campaign, he has let go against “democrats who do nothing”.
Health Insurance, Arms Bearing, Immigration: One year before the election, several Democratic candidates are trying to make a left turn to their party. But despite their efforts, public policy issues are in fact relegated to the background.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the favorites of the Democratic primary, saw the presentation of his plan for universal health coverage this week drowned by the first vote in Congress under the procedure of “impeachment”.
“In the short term, the impeachment process will dominate the news in Washington, the media coverage, and in general the development of policies”, AFP analysis Christopher Arteton, professor at George Washington University.
The leader of the Democrats Nancy Pelosi has long hesitated to open an investigation against Donald Trump in the House of Representatives – where his party is majority -, fearing that the opposition is sanctioned by a clivant procedure, even unpopular.
In fact, 49% of Americans support the procedure and 47% oppose it, with views perfectly reflecting their partisan affiliations.
The approach is all the more risky as the American president will probably be “acquitted” by the Senate, where the Republicans remain in majority faithful. The Democrats fear that he will trumpet, just before the elections, that he has been cleared.
Pelosi finally took the plunge on 24 September following revelations over a phone call, in which Donald Trump asked Kiev to “look” at former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, whose son has long been does business in Ukraine.
Until then a big favorite of the Democratic primary, the former number two of Barack Obama has seen his image tarnished by the controversy and its advantage is reduced to the benefit of Elizabeth Warren. Then follow Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, followed by Moderate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, rising star of the race.
For the first time, a poll placed Friday Joe Biden fourth in the preferences of Iowa’s Democratic voters, who will be the first state to vote in this primary, behind the young Pete Buttigieg, still unknown a year ago.
Another unknown that weighs on the campaign: the timing of the impeachment procedure.
We do not know how long this investigation will take, nor until when its shadow will hover over the countryside, while the first votes of the Democratic primary will take place in early February.
“In February, when the primary race will be really launched, I think the campaign will dominate the news,” says Arteton.
The emphasis on impeachment is likely to harm the youngest of the 17 candidates for the Democratic nomination, who display unprecedented diversity with several women, two African-Americans, an assumed homosexual, a Hispanic …
“They will not get the media coverage they might otherwise receive,” the professor notes.
As a final example, the Texan Beto O’Rourke, a time perceived as a possible democratic hope, threw in the towel.
For his part, Donald Trump should try to repeat the winning strategy of 2016: conquer with his constituents a few key states allowing him to obtain a majority of voters, and win the indirect vote even being beaten in total of voice.