With the impeachment articles against President Trump awaiting their moment in the Senate spotlight, everything comes down to the numbers. To convict the president, two-thirds of the upper chamber must agree, meaning 17 GOPers would have to vote alongside all Democratic Party colleagues. The Fourth Estate will likely be running overtime trying to do the math on how many Republicans will jump ship.
Can Democrats make the math work?
Possible Votes Against
Several senators have indicated publicly that they would be willing to consider voting against the president. These include Utah’s Mitt Romney, who said that “when the President incites an attack against Congress, there must be a meaningful consequence.” He added that he would “be considering those options and the best course for our nation in the days ahead.” Romney has had a tumultuous relationship with President Trump and was the only Republican to vote against him in the previous impeachment trial.
Also in this category is Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, who said that he would consider the articles of impeachment if and when the House submits them. Speaking on CBS program This Morning, the senator said:
“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I’ve told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office. He swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He acted against that. What he did was wicked.”
Although remaining tight-lipped on her voting plans, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski has expressed her disdain for the president and her hopes that he goes sooner rather than later. Speaking with the Anchorage Daily News, she said that she wants him to resign and that “I think he should leave. He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration.” She added, “He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. He’s either been golfing, or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president.”
She concluded by saying:
“He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing.”
A Solid Base
At least ten senators have indicated that they will vote against a conviction; these include Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Lindsey Graham (SC). It is likely that at least another 30 or more Republicans will not side with the Democrats, meaning the two-thirds necessary for conviction will not be reached.
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin lamented that he and his colleagues would not reach the required 67 votes. Speaking to Fox News, he said:
“I don’t see that, and I think the House should know that also. We’ve been trying to send that message over. They know the votes aren’t there. I think this is so ill-advised, for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we’re going to be so divided and fighting again.”
Should other Democrat members feel that ensuring a successful launch of Joe Biden’s presidency is more of a priority, it is possible that the vote may not even reach a simple majority.
Read more from Mark Angelides.