The table below shows Republican senators up for election or reelection in 2020 and the approximate level of current “approval” of Donald Trump in their state. Note that the approval/disapproval data are at least a couple of months old, and thus do not reflect the effect, if any, of Ukrainegate or the events in Syria.
|Trump Net Approval||Net Change Since Trump Took Office|
|Dan Sullivan||Alaska||+1||decreased 23 points|
|Martha McSally||Arizona||-4||decreased 23 points|
|Tom Cotton||Arkansas||+4||decreased 26 points|
|Cory Gardner||Colorado||-15||decreased 16 points|
|to be named in 2020||Georgia||+1||decreased 17 points|
|David Perdue||Georgia||+1||decreased 17 points|
|Jim Risch||Idaho||+20||decreased 9 points|
|Joni Ernst||Iowa||-13||decreased 22 points|
|Pat Roberts (retiring)||Kansas||+4||decreased 20 points|
|Moscow Mitch McConnell||Kentucky||+15||decreased 19 points|
|Bill Cassidy||Louisiana||+15||decreased 16 points|
|Susan Collins||Maine||-13||decreased 21 points|
|Cindy Hyde-Smith||Mississippi||+21||decreased 13 points|
|Steve Dains||Montana||-3||decreased 27 points|
|Ben Sasse||Nebraska||-3||decreased 26 points|
|Tom Tillis||North Carolina||-3||decreased 21 points|
|Jim Inhofe||Oklahoma||+11||decreased 23 points|
|Lindsey Graham||South Carolina||+7||decreased 18 points|
|Mike Rounds||South Dakota||+1||decreased 20 points|
|Lamar Alexander (retiring)||Tennessee||+13||decreased 20 points|
|John Cornyn||Texas||+2||decreased 18 points|
|Shelly Capito||West Virginia||+19||decreased 18 points|
|Mike Enzi||Wyoming||+16||decreased 24 points|
There is also the special case of Alabama, where Doug Jones, a Democrat, is up for reelection in 2020. The data set referenced above shows Trump at +22, having decreased 14 points during his term of office.
Here are the conclusions I draw from these fairly recent data, read in light of our current—and rapidly changing—political environment.
A Splendiferous Effort at Wedge Driving
From the fourth column we plainly see that Trump has done a really splendid job of what he has seemed to want to do, that is, to drive a deep and deepening wedge between the batshit crazy Republicans and the more or less respectable Republicans.
Has the Wedge Driving Run its Course?
Having arrived now at Ukrainegate and Kurdgate, we will see whether that wedge driving process has pretty much run its course—or whether his antics will cause a few more of them to run to the bathroom to deal with their projectile vomiting. (See, for example, this, from Trump’s very favoritest pollster.)
If you are a cynic, you very probably think that the process has probably run its course. In other words, you probably think that the numbers in the third column probably won’t change in any appreciable way, no matter what happens in Congress, in Ukraine, and in the Middle East. I couldn’t really quarrel with you.
So let’s indulge the assumption that Trump’s remaining supporters will be impervious to changing their minds, no matter what new villany comes to their attention.
Who Will Vote to Acquit?
On that assumption, I predict that Senators from these states will probably vote to acquit Trump, no matter what, no matter what: Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming. As to Arkansas, based not on the data but on the personality of Senator Cotton, I’ll include that state in the same category. Tennessee would fit in as well, but Lamar Alexander is retiring, so he is free to vote what remains of his conscience. Ditto Pat Roberts in Kansas.
And then, of course, there is Alabama.
Some will be Damned if They Do and Damned if They Don’t
Continuing to indulge the same assumption—that the Trump base has pretty much been distilled down to the hardcore Kool-Aid addicts—there is another category of states in which, if the Republican senator votes to remove from office, he will be up shit creek.
And if he or she does not vote to remove from office, he or she will likewise be up shit creed.
Example: Arizona, where The Donald is was four points under water even before Ukraine and Syria, and where his support has decreased by 23 points during his time in office.
Others in the same boat are Alaska, Georgia (2 seats), Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.