Mitch McConnell's calendar considerations
After a months-long investigation into whether President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine's president into investigating his political rivals in order to boost his reelection prospects in 2020, House Democrats brought two articles of impeachment against him, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Click here for our GZERO guide to what comes next.
In the meantime, imagine for a moment that you are now Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader and senior member of Donald Trump's Republican Party. You've got big choices to make.
Once the House has impeached President Trump, you'll be the person who sets the timing of a Senate trial. And as it happens, this is the first impeachment trial in American history that will take place in an election year. That presents you with a unique opportunity.
If you wanted to, you could create real trouble for the Democratic Party's presidential candidates by scheduling the trial right before (and maybe during) those crucial first election contests.
The first Democratic nominating contest, the Iowa caucus, is set for February 3. The second, the New Hampshire primary, will take place on February 11.
Four of the major candidates for president—Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker—are senators who would have to be present in Washington during the impeachment trial. You can make political mischief by scheduling the trial to keep them off the campaign trail at a crucial moment.
Should you do it?
Polls suggest that President Trump's toughest Democratic opponent would be Joe Biden, who is not a senator and would be free to campaign wherever and whenever he wants. Biden leads in national polls, but is currently polling outside the top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire. No Democrat since the birth of the modern primary system in 1976 has won the party's presidential nomination without winning one of those first two states.
That is to say: if you make mischief for Democratic senators running for president by keeping them away from voters, you may rescue the campaign of the one Democrat that polls say is most likely to beat President Trump.
Your calendar is open, Senator McConnell – what would you like to do?