Republicans are talking up the possibility of impeaching Biden. Is it what voters want to hear?

Date:

MICHAEL R. BLOOD | AP News

Bill Mehlem recalls a time when his politics generally aligned with conservatives, enthusiastically backing Republicans such as John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign.

But the stay-at-home dad has grown dismayed with the tempestuous GOP molded by former President Donald Trump, who is now seeking a return to the White House. And the threat of a Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden’s family finances and the churning U.S. House probes of his son, Hunter Biden, have left Mehlem indignant, angry and remembering why he’s a political independent. “It’s all about revenge politics to keep Trump’s base” engaged for the 2024 elections, Mehlem said. “It’s all about nothing.”

That sentiment reflects the gamble House Republicans are making as they consider moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against Biden. The talk delights some Republicans who are eager for retribution following several indictments of Trump in recent months, including two federal cases that charge him with hoarding classified documents and working to overturn the 2020 election.

But for many of those outside of the die-hard GOP base, the impeachment chatter is a turn off. It’s especially risky for the party in California, where five House Republicans occupy Democratic-leaning districts that Biden won in 2020. Those districts alone could help Democrats retake the House majority next year.

In one crucial battleground — sprawling through suburbs and high desert north of Los Angeles — GOP Rep. Mike Garcia will need to overcome a nearly 13-point Democratic registration advantage to claim a fourth term and remain the sole Republican House member anchored in heavily Democratic Los Angeles County. In suburban Santa Clarita, at the heart of Garcia’s district, Mehlem said he saw no chance he would support Garcia — in part because the congressman joined House Republicans who attempted to reject electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania after the 2020 presidential election.

But in a Congress often stalemated by partisan division, he has his doubts about Democrats, too. Despite its reputation as a Democratic stronghold, a string of California House districts has proved volatile in recent elections, highlighting their importance to both parties as they seek the majority. Democrats seized seven seats from Republicans in 2018, then Republicans reclaimed four from Democrats in 2020. In the 2022 elections, California Republicans gained one seat, from 11 to 12, while Democrats dropped to 40 seats from 42, after California lost a House seat in reapportionment after the 2020 census. Overall, the state dropped to 52 districts from 53.

With the chamber divided 222-212, with one vacancy, only a handful of seats separate the two parties. Also in play: a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act that is expected to lead to new, Democratic-leaning districts in Alabama and possibly elsewhere.

In Santa Clarita, Democrat Bonnie Untaran said the House should be debating skyrocketing rents and home prices and lowering the cost of living, not focusing on the Bidens. “It’s starting to get unrelatable to our daily life,” she said. Untaran said she will consider voting for the Republican Garcia — a former Navy combat pilot and the son of a Mexican immigrant father — providing he talks about local issues.

The importance of pocketbook issues was echoed by former Republican congressman Doug Ose, who said GOP candidates need to stick to what families talk about at kitchen tables. When Republicans carried state swing districts in 2022, “they were not talking about the Hunter Biden investigation or a Joe Biden impeachment.

They were talking about bread-and-butter issues, and that’s where I think the voters are,” said Ose, who represented a Sacramento-area district. “Why would you go talk about something else?” he asked. Indeed, Republican candidates have had success in state swing districts in recent years by making elections a referendum on California itself under progressive Democratic rule, pointing to pervasive homelessness in major cities, vexing crime rates and wallet-sapping taxes.

In the middle of a California summer, with voters distracted by barbecues and baseball games, it’s unclear how many people are following the day-to-day scrum on Capitol Hill, although Congress is now in recess for the month. Independent voter Hamilton Grier, a father of two, said he intentionally avoids political news so he won’t be distracted from his marketing job. He had “no idea” what the Hunter Biden investigations were about.

Grier worries about inflation, and the world to come for his kids, a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old boy. He expects to shift his attention to politics when the elections get closer. “I’m scared for them,” he said. “I don’t know what the future will be like.” In recent posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, Garcia writes about rising gas prices, inflation, a porous border with Mexico and climbing mortgage rates — without mentioning Hunter Biden.

Veteran Democratic consultant Bill Carrick said GOP House candidates already are facing two challenges in heavily Democratic California: Trump, if he becomes the nominee, is widely unpopular in the state outside his conservative base, and suburban woman are likely to see an elevated turnout, driven by concern over abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. With the focus on the Bidens, McCarthy “has strategically taken the position that he is going to stoke up the base in a lot of the rural, red-state areas,” Carrick said.

But California isn’t Texas or Utah, where conservative politics tend to dominate. “The current McCarthy strategy doesn’t really account for that,” Carrick said, adding that House control will likely turn on swing districts in states like California and New York. But there is also a risk for Democrats, depending on what the investigations turn up. And voters say Republicans like Garcia can help themselves by focusing on things that matter back home. Democrat Laura Stotler, a retired government employee, said she plans to vote for Garcia, based on his attention to district issues.

She doesn’t always agree with his votes, but she credits him with showing up at events she has attended, and his office responded when she made an inquiry about pending legislation honoring women telephone operators who served during World War I. As for Washington news, she avoids it. She said she doesn’t need the stress. “I can’t keep track of who is getting indicted for what,” she said. “I’m just so tired of it.”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Biden is the most corrupt President there’s ever been and the truth of that is glaringly obvious to everyone in our entire country except mainstream media like you, puppets of the Biden propaganda machine. Wake up! Focus on the facts. Dig for the truth. Do real journalism instead of propagating this false narrative to your constituent base. Our country is at stake, and it’s not the GOP you should be pointing a finger at.

    • Okay. Exactly what’s President Biden guilty of? If there’s corruption there must be something like evidence to prove allegations brought by the GQP/GOP MAGATS. Can you share the evidence with the room.

    • Sure lyer, President Biden is by far my vote preference for the upcoming election. Trump is the worst part of the American History. A total disgrace.

  2. Funny how the caption under the picture mentions all things that Biden has caused during his presidency, yet I’m sure she was all for impeachment Trump for far less. What a liberal tool.

      • Wow! You can always tell who supports Trump because they always wanna impeach Biden and don’t give a reason why or any facts!
        I have noticed that far right republicans are more like a cult!
        They stick together no matter what!
        The funny thing about them is whenever one of them gets caught doing something illegal like Epstein for example they basically get louder and accuse democrats of whatever they get caught for just to try and make people look away from their corruption!
        The truly scary part is how many Americans don’t care and still want corrupt Republicans in office!
        I’m just in awe of how many Americans still stand by Trump after he tried to overthrow our democracy or how he was ready to make our country the land of the free a dictatorship!
        If the head of the army was just as corrupt as him Trump would’ve succeeded but thankfully the head of the army told Trump I work for the American people!
        You best believe if Trump were to ever step foot in the White House again he would make sure to only appoint people who would do exactly what he says and America would no longer be the land of the free and that’s terrifying it’s also terrifying how many Americans are just as corrupt as those far right Republicans! I mean all you’ve gotta do is look at January 6th and that says it all!

  3. Okay. Exactly what’s President Biden guilty of? If there’s corruption there must be something like evidence to prove allegations brought by the GQP/GOP MAGATS. Can you share the evidence with the room.

  4. Wow! You can always tell who supports Trump because they always wanna impeach Biden and don’t give a reason why or any facts!
    I have noticed that far right republicans are more like a cult!
    They stick together no matter what!
    The funny thing about them is whenever one of them gets caught doing something illegal like Epstein for example they basically get louder and accuse democrats of whatever they get caught for just to try and make people look away from their corruption!
    The truly scary part is how many Americans don’t care and still want corrupt Republicans in office!
    I’m just in awe of how many Americans still stand by Trump after he tried to overthrow our democracy or how he was ready to make our country the land of the free a dictatorship!
    If the head of the army was just as corrupt as him Trump would’ve succeeded but thankfully the head of the army told Trump I work for the American people!
    You best believe if Trump were to ever step foot in the White House again he would make sure to only appoint people who would do exactly what he says and America would no longer be the land of the free and that’s terrifying it’s also terrifying how many Americans are just as corrupt as those far right Republicans! I mean all you’ve gotta do is look at January 6th and that says it all!

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