Perry Bacon over at Five Thirty Eight sees a 56-44 vote in Trump's favor of acquittal as far as the Senate trial on articles of impeachment, and I think he's almost 100% dead right on the final vote.
Trump’s removal is supported by a plurality of Americans (48 percent) and more than 80 percent of Democrats. So if you’re the typical Democratic senator, who represents a blue-leaning state, the safe and obvious vote is for Trump’s removal. And that’s without even considering the strong evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in exchange for a White House meeting and military aid.
It’s hard for me to see even Democrats who like to emphasize their bipartisanship — Chris Coons of Delaware, for example — or those up for reelection in 2020 in blue-tinged swing states — Gary Peters of Michigan, Tina Smith of Minnesota — voting against impeachment. Impeachment is popular enough among Democratic voters that any Democratic senator in a state that’s not solidly red would have serious electoral problems voting against it.
There are two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are not up for re-election in 2020 but who might still vote against removal.
Sinema, who was elected last November, is known to be fairly centrist and comfortable bucking her party. She was one of only three Democrats who backed the confirmation of William Barr to be attorney general, for example. Manchin is friendly with Trump and voted for Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The West Virginian has taken the same position as the Trump White House on key votes about 31 percent of the time in the current Congress, making him the chamber’s most Trump-aligned Democrat. Sinema is No. 2, backing the president’s position 21 percent of the time.
In terms of partisan lean,1 Arizona leans red, and West Virginia is super conservative. But I doubt electoral considerations matter that much to either Manchin nor Sinema — they aren’t up for reelection until 2024, when Trump’s impeachment will likely be a distant memory.
So I would bet that both Manchin and Sinema vote against Trump’s removal, preserving their brands as separate from the broader Democratic Party.
Like Manchin and Sinema, Doug Jones of Alabama also voted for Barr. Unlike Manchin and Sinema, Jones is up for re-election in 2020. My read on Jones is that he’s not that personally centrist; instead, he seems to be trying to figure out how to stay in his seat in pro-Trump Alabama. Jones has taken Trump’s position on 18 percent of Senate votes in the current Congress, making him the third-most Trump-aligned Democrat, after Manchin and Sinema. But relative to Alabama’s politics, Jones ranks behind only Jon Tester of Montana in bucking his state’s pro-Trump preferences.
My starting assumption is that Jones will vote against Trump’s removal, hoping that the vote helps his re-election bid. But he could also decide that Trump’s behavior is too extreme to condone and back removal — electoral consequences be damned. Or perhaps Jones votes for Trump’s removal both because he opposes the president’s conduct but also because the Alabama Democrat sees little chance of winning reelection anyway and is basically auditioning for a spot in the next Democratic president’s cabinet. (In 2016, presidential and U.S. Senate voting were highly correlated — no U.S. Senate candidate won in a state where his or her party’s presidential nominee lost. It’s hard to imagine the Democratic presidential nominee winning in Alabama in 2020, so Jones seems like an underdog.)
So that’s at least 44 votes for removal just among Democrats, and as many as 47. The removal of Trump would need another 20-23 votes. Those would have to come from among the chamber’s 53 Republicans, which means removal is 20 to 23 votes short.
At least right now, I don’t think any Republican is likely to vote for Trump’s removal. My guess is that lots of Republicans privately disapprove of Trump’s Ukraine moves. But GOP senators face significant pressure not to publically break with Trump if they want to maintain their standing within the party and not annoy GOP voters who they need to win primaries and general elections.
I've been saying this all along, and Pelosi seems to think impeachment will be a necessary moral victory that has to happen. Whether or not that remains the case is to be seen, I don't know how the next 11 months will play out.
But I do know that there's no way the Senate convicts Trump.