Swalwell is a good example of what you get with gerrymandering. He is widely agreed to be one of the dumbest members of Congress and people are still ridiculing not only his presidential campaign but also the news that his ex-girlfriend was a Chinese spy. But he comes from a solid blue district and, until a local Democrats primaries him, we’re stuck with him in Congress.
The vote is in. 57 Senators voted to convict Trump. 43 voted to acquit. In the topsy turvy world of Senate impeachment trials, that means that Trump was acquitted.
As I said earlier this week, I still think getting banned from twitter was the best thing that ever happened to Trump as far as this impeachment was concerned. If he had been on twitter, he would have been tweeting conspiracy theories, taunting the Republicans with the prospect of a 2024 run, and basically being the same self-destructive bully that he was for most of his presidency. It would have potentially pushed a few more Republicans, especially those up for reelection in 2022 and fearing a repeat of what happened in Georgia, over to voting to convict.
The Democratic house managers also blew it. For all the positive media attention they received, the house managers often seemed more concerned with playing to their base and the case for incitement (as opposed to dereliction of duty) was nearly impossible to actually prove. There may be certain Democrats who could possibly make a convincing, nonpartisan case. Eric Swalwell isn’t one of them.
For now, Trump has been acquitted, Trump 2024 has begun, and no one’s learned anything.
If you had money on Eric Swalwell being the first Democratic presidential candidate to withdraw from the race …. well, you lost. That honor actually goes to former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda, who announced for President in November of 2018 and then dropped out in January, long before Swalwell even announced he was running.
(If you’re asking, “Who is Richard Ojeda?,” you’ve pinpointed the reason why his presidential campaign only lasted a month and a half.)
As a candidate, Swalwell focused on youth and guns. That approach previously helped him build up a following online but it never made much of a dent in the polls. Swalwell was best known for claiming that the Democrats were the Avengers and the Republicans were the Hunger Games, which always led me to speculate that he hadn’t seen either film. On the right, Swalwell was notorious for telling a pro-2A activist on twitter that a civil war over gun control would be short because the government has nukes. While Swalwell was obviously trying to make a joke, bragging about being able to use nuclear weapons is never a good way to win a debate with someone who claims that the government can’t be trusted.
Swalwell’s withdrawal is not a surprise. After the first debate, he said that if he didn’t start to poll higher than 0% in the polls, he would probably have to drop out and run for reelection to the House. Since Swalwell’s district is in California, he’ll probably have his seat for a while to come.
Swalwell was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012. Interestingly enough, he was elected over another Democrat, 20-term incumbent Pete Stark. (Because of California’s jungle primary, the top two vote getters in the primary move on to the general election, regardless of party.) At the time, Stark accuses Swalwell of being a member of the “Tea Party,” which is even more humorous when you consider the efforts to which Swalwell went to shore up his woke credentials during his presidential campaign. It is true, though, that many Republicans were happy to see Swalwell defeat Stark, who had a reputation for being one of the biggest pricks in Congress. (Stark famously called one female colleague “a whore” and referred to a Jewish congressman as being “Field Marshal Solarz in the pro-Israel army.”)