As Democrats in the House of Representatives are pushing ahead with an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, Democratic politicians are finding that their voters have vastly different ideas about the process in different parts of the country. Specifically, as Reuters reports, rural Democrat voters are far less bullish about impeachment than their urban colleagues.
It’s a divide perfectly encapsulated by the experiences of two freshman Democratic lawmakers trying to connect with their voters back home: freshman U.S. congressman Tom Malinowksi of New Jersey and freshman U.S. congresswoman Cynthia Axne of Iowa.
In New Jersey, Malinowski’s crowd was all about impeachment. About 150 supporters had crowded into the basement of a small library in Wharton, and every time Malinowski mentioned impeaching Trump, the crowd went wild. When he asked his supporters to raise their hands if they’re watching the impeachment inquiry on TV, nearly every hand went up.
“The president is free to pursue a foreign policy that he believes is in the national interest, but he is not free to pursue a foreign policy that only serves his political interest,” Malinowski told the crowd.
One of Malinowski’s supporters, 71-year-old retiree Frank Harder, was clear that he believes that Donald Trump has to go.
“I think the man is a traitor. I think he’s Putin’s little puppet,” he said.
At a rally today in Cranford, NJ for Tom Malinowski @Malinowski
Saw a guy with a cool bootleg shirt. pic.twitter.com/1cZl4EaMn2
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 22, 2018
Over in Iowa, however, Cynthia Axne is getting a considerably different reaction from the voters in her largely rural district.
Speaking to her supporters in Mt. Ayr, Axne didn’t even mention the word “impeachment” in her speech, until a supporter brought it up. The supporter mentioned it not because he was interested, but for the exact opposite reason.
“Let’s not vote for impeachment. Let’s get stuff done. I’m sick of it!” he said.
Axne says that her constituents simply have bigger things on their plates than an arcane process taking place hundreds of miles away — a process with no certain conclusions and won’t affect their daily lives anyway.
“These are hardworking, salt of the earth people who just want to make a living and provide for their families. They’re tired of what they consider the bureaucracy and the politics of Washington and that’s true to what Iowans are. Impeachment is not a priority in their lives,” she said.
Both politicians, however, seem to favor impeachment, despite the feelings of their voters. Malinowski, though he didn’t say directly how he’ll vote, said that “the evidence against the president is quite strong.” Axne, similarly, said that if the evidence is strong enough, she’ll vote to impeach Trump even if it means losing her House seat.