Outside the Beltway, Debates and Impeachment Will Likely Be No-See TV

Did you know there will be another Democratic debate tonight? It’s okay to groan. If you’re a regular reader of The Resurgent, you are probably more politically engaged than 90% of the country. You might even be active on Twitter. You might even live-tweet or participate in a drinking or Bingo game related to the debate. Or, like most of the country, you might yawn.

The last debate drew 6.17 million viewers, the lowest viewership of any of the debates so far. Two thirds of those viewers saw it on CNN. I’ll bet most Americans can’t even name the candidates who will be on stage tonight (Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, all in their lily-whiteness, Andrew Yang having not qualified, and Cory Booker having exited the race).

Besides Warren desperately trying to stir something up between her and Bernie Sanders, there’s likely to be nothing new, exciting, or even mildly interesting said. It’s a total no-see TV event, but will make for a news cycle for pundits and green room coffee-drinkers who will have their on air hits and talking head nods and panels.


The other event coming to a pundit panel near you is the looming impeachment. Remember, Trump was impeached in a hurry because, in the words of Rep. Jerry Nadler, “he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security…we must act now.” Speaker Pelosi called it a “solemn act,” then proceeded to hold on to the articles of impeachment until her own party, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, forced her to release them to the Senate.

So much time has passed since the thundering speechifying of the House debates and the pre-ordained votes that most of America has simply forgotten that the president is being impeached. Yes, they know, but it’s not a front-and-center thing. As they say in government service, it’s been overcome by events.

Now Republicans in the Senate have agreed not to dismiss the charges against the president outright. But the show of unity under McConnell is impressive. With Democrats, not so much. Pelosi has to carefully choreograph her moves, since three senators are in tonight’s debate and are, you know, campaigning, so they don’t want to be overly burdened by sitting through days of impeachment testimony.

If Pelosi could have timed this any worse, I am not sure how. I suggested a month ago that if she could, the speaker would make the whole thing go away, and pull the plug. But she didn’t, or couldn’t, politically. It shows how Pelosi has leaked most of her power into the vacuum, some of it being sucked up into the socialist camp led by rebel (against the DCCC at least) AOC and her comrades.

Likely, on Thursday, the House will appoint its impeachment managers (prosecutors), and transmit the articles to the Senate, which will start the trial next week. Unless Rudy Giuliani, or the president himself, take the stand, look for this trial to be an absolute lesson in reality courtroom procedure: a total snore-fest.

The talking heads and green room pastry-eaters will try to make it into some kind of drama, but nobody outside the beltway and the political wonk class is going to watch that mess.

I mean, seriously, if everyone knew that Joe Burrow was going to score 5 touchdowns and LSU was going to crush Clemson by 17 points, would anyone other than partisan “Geaux Tigers!” and Death Valley fans have tuned in? This impeachment trial will be much, much, less exciting than the NCAA championship game was for Clemson fans.

I hope Netflix and Disney Plus have some good television lined up for the next week, or maybe it’s a good time to start on a good book. I doubt most Americans are going to be tuning in for the political non-drama that has the cable news crowd so electrified.

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