The efforts of the two major political parties to get senators to switch from their party-line votes in a Senate verdict in the upcoming trial of President Donald Trump are focused on four senators, sources on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill indicated to LifeZette this week.
Of the targeted lawmakers, two are Republicans and two are Democrats.
The GOP senators whom the Democrats will try to arm-twist are Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The two Democrat senators in the GOP crosshairs are Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) (shown at the top of this article) and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).
The GOP could also consider Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for turning. Those Democrat members are considered to be leaning toward a guilty verdict as of now.
The Democrats, for their part, may also be looking at Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for political apostasy. But those members of the Senate are thought to be leaning toward acquittal.
As the numbers stack up in the Senate right now — and would stack up even higher against guilt if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) draws out the process into the medium term for naked partisan reasoning — the president has a more than comfortable margin for acquittal.
It is the exact opposite situation he and the GOP faced in the House.
Also, given the GOP’s control of the Senate, the process will heavily favor the Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already indicated this and said he plans to work closely with the White House.
If those factors stay constant, then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has a quandary.
If he knows he is going to lose, how many senators receive covert approval from him to vote for acquittal — knowing it will help them retain their Senate seats in their respective elections?
That’s why the GOP is focused on Manchin and Jones.
Both come from deep-red Trump states — where a vote for the president’s guilt would go a long way to seal their political fate in the negative.
Manchin, who is generally conservative and has voted many times with the GOP, would likely vote for Trump anyway, without Schumer approval.
Jones perhaps is the same, though his record is not as extensive as Manchin’s, as he’s only been in office less than two years.
The GOP may not have to do much work to get them to jump from the Dem ship.
As for Democratic efforts against Trump in the Senate, the party is focused on Gardner and Collins because both come from states that lean — if not are outright — solid blue. Voting for acquittal could cost Gardner support in Colorado and Collins the same in Maine.
Another factor is that some in Maine are still upset with Collins because of her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year.
A vote to convict Trump would mend some of those fences for her — hence the Democrat interest in her possibly switching sides.
This drama has many more acts until it ends. But like any courtroom drama, there promises to be more twists and turns until the verdict is revealed.