CNN’s Axelrod warns, it’s ‘chilling’ impeachment didn’t come up until 80 minutes into Dem focus group

Democrats can’t seem to accept that voters just don’t care about President Trump’s impeachment trial as much as they do.

CNN political analyst David Axelrod found it “chilling” that a focus group of Democratic voters did not even broach the topic of impeachment for over an hour into the session, despite the trial unfolding in the Senate.

(Video: CNN)

The former chief strategist for President Obama’s presidential campaigns lamented the lackluster interest by the focus group during a discussion with CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” on Friday night, just as final arguments in the trial were being made by Democratic House impeachment managers.

“I was in a focus group this morning for the Institute for Politics here at the University of Chicago with some Chicago Democratic voters, and it was chilling to hear them talk about this,” Axelrod said.

“Because impeachment didn’t come up, no one volunteered it, for 80 minutes into the focus group, and we’re right in the middle of the trial,” he added.

“When it came up, they said, you know, it’s terrible what he did, the case has been proven, but we know how it’s going to turn out,” Axelrod said. “So we’re not really that interested, we’re ready to move on.”

Axelrod thought this was precisely what Trump, the White House, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “are banking on.”

“That they can take the hit here, buffalo their way through this and the public will move on,” he said. “It’s a cynical calculation, but it may not be the wrong calculation.”

Viewer ratings for the impeachment trial, which marked the third day of opening arguments on Friday, have not lived up to Democrats’ expectations, apparently, as California Rep. Adam Schiff led the way in arguing to remove the president from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Although there were more than 11 million viewers combined on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN as they covered the first day of the Senate proceedings, that number fell below the more than 13 million viewers who watched the first day of impeachment hearings in the House on Nov. 13.

Viewership for the Senate trial dropped by about 20 percent by Wednesday, with 8.9 million people watching across the six networks, a stark contrast to former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 which reportedly drew more than 20 million viewers.

And while the trial proceedings failed to bring in television audiences, the viewers did tune in to the primetime network shows, with Fox News’ “Hannity” doubling the daytime number with over four million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

Rep. Elise Stefanik echoed the views, saying her own New York constituents have indicated they are not interested in watching the impeachment sham.

“They are tuning this out. They are tired of the incessant impeachment coverage. They want us to get back to work,” the New York Republican told Fox News. “They overwhelmingly want this determined at the ballot box.”

White House lawyers are expected to begin their defense of Trump on Saturday.


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