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How Impeachment Trial, State of Union Address Might Affect 2020 Politics: Expert CNY Reaction


The impeachment and eventual acquittal of Donald Trump in the Senate Wednesday will undoubtedly be a campaign topic in this year’s election.  And one Syracuse University Expert can see how it might benefit the President. 

Political Science professor Grant Reeher says the way it shook out, it might provide Trump some wind at his back.

“The fact that the votes for impeachment ended up being, at the end of the day, almost entirely along party lines gives some credence to his narrative that this is a party-based thing, even though there is a lot to point to in terms of the evidence of what happened (with Ukraine and obstruction).”

The impeachment votes in the House and Senate will also figure into the election hopes of those running for Congressional office.  Reeher says Democrats will have to figure out whether to continue the partisan divide, or find ways to make progress in order to please voters.

“If the Democrats, in their effort to resist most of the things that President wants to see done in the next year, do create the public image that they’re just rejecting everything, that may end up hurting them not only in some of those races, but it may also hurt them in the presidential race.”

There are issues on which he can see some agreement.  Reeher looks back the State of the Union, though Democrats might not want to go along with any of the president’s priorities.

“I think there’s not a whole lot of possibility that I see, particularly in an eection year, to give the President anything that would be seen as a political vicgtory.  The one place where there did seem to be real, bi-partisan applause and support was the discussion, and we’ve been here again, … about infrastructure.” 

Other issues where bi-partisan support might exist are immigration and lowering prescription drug costs.  Central New York Congress members John Katko and Anthony Brindisi both came out of the polarizing impeachment trial and a potentially divisive State of the Union address agreeing that it’s now time to find ways to work together. 


Credit Julio Urrutia
Protestors gathered at Syracuse Federal Building after Senate vote the acquitted President Trump on impeachment charges.

Syracuse was one of dozens of cities that participated in a rally to "Reject the Coverup" after the Senate trial that Acquitted the President on two articles of impeachment.  Abut 100 people gathered at the federal building, where protestors argued against the verdict.  

Syracuse Attorney Julio Urrutia in a release from the event summed up the message.

"The Senate's 'acquittal,' made after blocking any evidence from being introduced, is not an exoneration—it’s a cover-up." 

It was part of a nationwide event in which numerous groups promise to hold Republican lawmakers accountable for what they say is betraying the Constitution by not convicting Trump.  Locally Public Citizen, the Peace Council, CNY Soliarity Coalition and Syracuse Cultural Workers took part.  

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at