Democrats need more than an impeachment narrative to win

Democrats need more than an impeachment narrative to win
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The Democratic primary race is now in full swing, but the nominee and platform are far from certain. As the House impeachment inquiry moves forward, the candidates will have an increasingly difficult time forming and projecting a unified and compelling narrative around jobs, health care, and climate change. While impeachment will continue to dominate the news cycle and Washington for months to come, Democrats should remain focused on the issues and on legislative accomplishments, as those are what Americans will have in mind at the ballot box in 2020.

Following the sudden surge of Senator Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality It's time to shut down industrial animal farming The Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen MORE in the polls and the lackluster fundraising quarter of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE, there is really no clear Democratic front runner and no clear Democratic narrative at the moment. Indeed, in the most recent national polls, Warren has proven herself to be a serious challenger to Biden, who at one point had a sweeping double digit lead over the crowded field of candidates.

In a Quinnipiac University poll this month, Warren beats Biden, receiving 28 percent of the vote, compared to Biden at 21 percent. However, in a CNN poll this month, Biden bests Warren, receiving 34 percent of the vote, compared to Warren at 19 percent. Senator Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns Sanders: Police departments that violate civil rights should lose federal funding MORE ranks in third place with 15 percent and 16 percent in both polls, respectively, marking a precipitous decline from his peak support earlier this year.

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Further, the latest Real Clear Politics national average measures Biden at 27 percent, Warren at 22 percent, Sanders at 17 percent, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7 percent, and Senator Kamala Harris at 5 percent. In early voting states, polling numbers reveal even more ambiguity and indicate that the field will remain competitive throughout the Democratic primary.

In Iowa, Warren has a notable lead of 8 points, according to a poll by the Iowa State University, but her lead diminishes to 3 points in the Real Clear Politics average. Additionally, in New Hampshire, Warren has a narrow lead of 3 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average. However, according to the Real Clear Politics average, Biden has a lead of 4 points in Nevada along with a substantive lead of 20 points in South Carolina.

Most Democratic candidates, including those polling in single digits, hold notable leads over President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE in general election matchups. Yet the instability within the Democratic primary and the vexing impeachment inquiry poses serious problems for all candidates moving forward. By putting impeachment at the center of the national conversation, House Democrats are turning attention to Trump and neglecting issues that voters are concerned with, such as immigration, health care, climate change, and creating an economy that can work for all Americans.

Moreover, the public is still mixed on their support for this effort. A poll of swing states by the New York Times and Siena College found barely half of surveyed voters support the impeachment inquiry. Additionally, a strong 53 percent oppose removing Trump from office, while only 43 percent support removing him from office. To be clear, I believe the impeachment investigation is legitimate. The troubling evidence reveals that Trump used his office for his own personal political gain. This is a threat to our democracy, and should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law.

“We are not jumping to any conclusions,” said Representative Max Rose. “his is an investigation. This is an inquiry and we are looking to rise above politics.” While there is certainly truth to his statement, Democrats need to expand their focus to tackling and discussing issues that voters care about, especially with an election looming on the horizon next year.

As the impeachment process continues, Democrats must refrain from making the same mistake they made in 2016. The party should push a positive narrative that is centered on economic growth reforms and substantive legislative accomplishments, and is not merely a negative campaign against the president. Ultimately, if 2020 devolves into simply another election on the personality of Trump, then Democrats risk losing the White House and ensuring another four more years of him in office.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. He is a political consultant, Fox News contributor, and the author of “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership.”