In the year of a divisive upcoming election, Republicans and Democrats at UF can agree on one thing — President Donald Trump will probably not be removed from office before Americans can vote.
On Dec. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on two articles of impeachment that charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. This makes Trump the third U.S. president to be impeached, but he won’t be removed from office unless the Senate passes the articles, according to The New York Times.
Few people at UF expect it to get to that point, even though U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday the House will move to send the impeachment articles to Senate this week.
Trump won’t be removed from office unless two-thirds of the Senate vote in that direction, said Beth Rosenson, a UF associate political science professor. But with 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the Senate, it may be difficult for the Senate to convict Trump — but not impossible, Rosenson said.
Not only does the impeachment have the ability to increase polarization on campus, it also doesn’t help the country’s global standing, Rosenson added.
“It highlights disunity in this country, and that makes it hard for the United States to act as a leader on the global stage,” Rosenson said. “Disunity and perceived weakness benefits countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and others that want to see (the U.S.) struggling and divided.”
Nationwide, Rosenson isn’t sure the recent controversial U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani will be enough to sway Republican voters away from voting for Trump in the 2020 elections.
Instead, Rosenson said she believes the state of the economy will be a major predictor of how people will vote. She said if the economy stays well, it be would be an advantage for Trump, but there are still nine months until the election.
“And if the economy gets worse, that may have an impact on more independent voters who are not part of Trump’s loyal base,” Rosenson said.
UF College Democrats President Matthew Barocas, a 20-year-old UF political science and history junior, doesn’t think Trump’s impeachment will have much of an impact on the 2020 election. The country is so “terribly polarized” that he doesn’t believe this event influenced the public’s opinion of the president in any political direction, he wrote in an email.
But the impeachment made history either way.
“The President clearly seems even more angered and unhinged by this process,” Barocas wrote. “This will be a historical stain on his presidency, and I think it may be the first time he and his supporters are reckoning with how his presidency will be remembered beyond the success of his 2016 campaign.”
When it comes to campus, Barocas believes the impeachment will only be a large point of conversation if it appears that any senators are considering breaking party ranks, which he believes is unlikely.
If not, he thinks it may fade into the background of the larger 2020 elections discussions like the primaries and caucuses that will be starting in Iowa this February.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Jared Rossi, a 22-year-old senior finance major and UF College Republicans executive board chairman, strongly believes Trump’s impeachment is not affecting the country as most may think it is.
“In Trump’s speech the other night, he said, ‘It doesn’t feel like impeachment.’ And that’s probably the truest thing I’ve heard throughout this whole entire thing,” Rossi said.
As the word “impeachment” appears more every day on news articles, Rossi said the citizens of this country are doing their research on what the impeachment process actually means, which he believes is a good educational opportunity.
“Having an election with Donald Trump in it is no typical election. That’s the bottom line here.” Rossi said. “Even though he’s been the president for the last three years, American politics has never seen anyone like him before.”
Contact Valentina Botero at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @lvbotero_.