For the first time in history, Chuck Schumer now controls the U.S. Senate.
But he and the Democratic Party are about to make a massive mistake.
And it’s all due to the impending impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
When Democrats flipped two Senate seats in Georgia at the beginning of 2021, no one was happier than Chuck Schumer, who leads the Democratic caucus as their Senate leader.
Thanks to their victory in these two runoff elections, Schumer is now poised to lead a 50-50 split chamber, with Democratic Vice-President Kamala Harris breaking any ties in the Democrats’ favor.
This effectively gives Democrats a “working majority” in the Senate.
But that majority could be thrown away next year if Democrats overplay their hand.
And with the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump set to begin after the House of Representatives delivered their articles of impeachment to the Senate in late January, it seems clear that Schumer is leading Democrats down a path that will end in the party’s electoral disaster in 2022.
For starters, it’s not entirely clear whether the Senate even has the constitutional authority to hold a trial for a private citizen who no longer holds elected office.
“I object to this unconstitutional sham of an ‘impeachment’ trial and I will force a vote on whether the Senate can hold a trial of a private citizen,” tweeted Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on January 25th, shortly after Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
And Senator Paul isn’t alone in objecting to the Constitutionality of the impending trial.
In fact, Chief Justice John Roberts, who would normally preside over an impeachment trial as the Constitution requires, has indicated that he will not participate in the impeachment proceedings as he believes the trial is illegitimate.
In his place, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy will preside instead, an unprecedented action and hardly one that could be described as fair or impartial, considering that Senator Leahy will also be eligible to vote in the trial’s final outcome, and has already previously voted to remove Trump from office during the 2020 Senate impeachment trial against the former President.
But while these developments make for a shaky legal foundation for the impending trial, the political fallout from the Senate’s actions are likely to be far more damaging to the prospect of Chuck Schumer maintaining control over the Senate in 2022.
Democrats already face an uphill battle in next year’s Congressional races, as history has shown that the party in control of the White House almost always loses seats in both chambers of Congress during midterm elections.
And the Senate map is making Schumer’s path even more difficult.
Democrats have to defend vulnerable Senate races in states such as Arizona and Georgia, both of which were reliably safe Republican states until just a few years ago. In a midterm election with a potential backlash against Democrats in Congress and the White House, these seats could be major targets for Republicans to flip.
What’s worse, Democrats also have to defend competitive Senate seats in New Hampshire and Nevada, while there are only two Senate seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that Republicans have to defend in states that Biden carried last November by razor thin margins.
A Senate trial to impeach Trump, even after he has left office, will likely do little but energize the former President’s supporters heading into the 2022 elections, putting Schumer’s control of the Senate in jeopardy.