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Impeachment vote a crucial test for vulnerable House Democrats

Erik Wasson and Emily Wilkins, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The year-old Democratic majority in the U.S. House faces its toughest test now that the chamber has locked in a vote on impeaching President Donald Trump next week.

It's a step that many moderates in the party had hoped to avoid. The Democrats who flipped Republican seats in 2018 to give Speaker Nancy Pelosi her gavel have helped pass more than 400 pieces of legislation in the House this year. But it's a vote on historic articles of impeachment that could define their 2020 campaigns and their political careers.

Some of Democrats who are most vulnerable next November -- there are 31 who represent districts Trump carried in 2016 -- headed into the weekend saying they are still undecided about how they will vote.

"What is tough for me is how divided the country is and I think we need to bring our country together," said New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a second-term lawmaker whose district narrowly voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday recommended two articles of impeachment against Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. This Wednesday, the full House will vote and is expected to make Trump only the third president to be impeached in U.S. history, further inflaming the already raw partisan divisions that have defined the past three years.

In New York, Staten Island Democrat Max Rose said that split is reflected in his district, where Trump garnered 54% of the vote but flipped from Republican control two years later.

 

"Some people are happy this is happening. Some people are furious that this is happening," the first-term lawmaker said, adding that some others don't care or aren't paying attention. "What this is about is showing integrity and abiding by my oath the Constitution."

On Friday, Rose announced that he would vote for impeachment.

"A president coercing a foreign government into targeting American citizens is not just another example of scorched earth politics, it serves as an invitation to the enemies of the United States," he said.

Polls consistently show that while Trump's approval ratings are mired at under 50%, the public is divided on impeachment and that most people have made up their minds. A FiveThirtyEight average of polls shows 47.5% of Americans support impeaching Trump and removing him from office with 45.8% not backing that position.

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