What People Throughout The Country Thought About Trump's Impeachment Acquittal

Feb 6, 2020
Originally published on February 6, 2020 6:22 pm
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NPR spoke to voters around the country after President Trump's acquittal in the Senate yesterday and found that, regardless of party, they weren't surprised at the outcome and have few expectations that the episode will change things going forward. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: In Billings, Mont., Jerry Kiltz paused in a chilly supermarket parking lot not long after President Trump's acquittal in the Senate. He's no fan of Trump, but the vote didn't upset him.

JERRY KILTZ: No big surprise - went the way I thought it would go.

JAFFE: In Culver City, Calif., 92-year-old Trump supporter Joe Bryers found the whole impeachment thing was just a distraction.

JOE BRYERS: To me, just get this whole business over with so the country can go in a straight line now without any more interruptions.

JAFFE: Impeachment seems to be an issue where voters may see things the same way as the experts. Lynn Vavreck is a professor of political science at UCLA. She doesn't expect the impeachment saga to have a lasting impact.

LYNN VAVRECK: The differences between the two parties on lots and lots of issues are greater than they've ever been, and I don't think anything happened in the last month to really change that.

JAFFE: Vavreck spent some time in Iowa just before the caucuses. The divide there on impeachment wasn't just between Republicans and Democrats but between the political wonks and everybody else.

VAVRECK: And if you're someone who pays attention to politics, you think it's really important. But I can't say that it was the thing that people were talking about.

JAFFE: But voters are thinking about it and what it will mean for the election. Ellen Miller was in Lancaster, Pa., to evangelize with a group from her church. She's a registered independent who voted for Trump in 2016.

ELLEN MILLER: And then I had some regrets about that, to be honest. I think I would vote differently this election. But I also don't know who he'll be up against.

JAFFE: Whoever does run against Trump better be careful, says beautician Trish Powell. Speaking outside a Walmart in Loveland, Colo., she said impeachment could be a loser for Democrats in the next election.

TRISH POWELL: People get sick and tired of hearing of it. We want to hear what are they going to do for this country - not look at this person, look at what this person did; it's, let me show you how I plan on improving this.

JAFFE: That's similar advice about the impeachment that Democratic candidates would get from political science professor Lynn Vavreck. For voters, impeachment's already getting to be old news.

VAVRECK: And so I suspect the way to get to the swing voters or to mobilize people who stayed home in the past is not so much to relitigate what we've just done on impeachment but to offer a new dimension of choice.

JAFFE: Anyway, Vavreck says, with the intensity of the news these days, by November, impeachment will feel like something that happened last year.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News.

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