With the ongoing impeachment trial and minute by minute news headlines, it is hard for investors to break through to the other important issues, which are sidelined while the House managers argue their case to the Senate. Given the GOP numbers in the Senate and a needed 2/3 majority for conviction, it’s a Kabuki play, more showmanship than content.
The only real question is whether or not the process will be dragged on for weeks with the calling of witnesses, a move that only requires a 50% majority. The White House appears ready to argue executive privilege to try and stop former National Security Adviser John Bolton and others from testifying.
In my view, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows that while the Republican majority will dismiss the charges, an extended trial will hurt the handful of Republican senators who are running in competitive races this year. It is his view that the sooner the process comes to an end the better.
The simple Senate math is that Republicans currently have a three seat majority and are likely to pick up a seat in Alabama giving them a four vote cushion. However, in Maine and Colorado they are defending seats in states Clinton won in 2016, Arizona has gone from red to purple and last year elected a Democratic senator and the Democrats have a strong Senate candidate.
In Kansas with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision not to run for the Senate, Republicans are stuck with a weak candidate who lost to the Democrat for governor in 2018. If Republicans would lose these seats, and the Democrat wins the White House, the new Democratic Vice President would cast the tie breaking vote to give control to Senator Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. Senator McConnell is committed to prevent that outcome!
Among the crucial issues that impeachment has drowned out are the growing concerns about the deadly outbreak of coronavirus in China; efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to deal with prescription drug prices; the threat posed by Iran ,and even the Iowa Caucuses with Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar sitting at their seats each day of the trial. The end of the trial, sooner than later, might be the best outcome for both parties.
Figure: Top Trump Tweets