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The leaks from John Bolton’s forthcoming book are only the most recent revelations in the impeachment process. But despite all the revelations from current and former Trump officials, the chart of public support for removing Trump from office has been a flat line. Nothing changes people’s views.
To unpack those numbers more, consider this pattern. At the height of Watergate, the overall share of people who wanted to remove the president was not much different than it is today. In fact, days before Richard Nixon resigned, only 71 percent of Democrats supported his removal, compared with 89 percent who now support removing President Trump. Then, 55 percent of independents supported removal, similar to the 48 percent who do now. The biggest shift is with Republicans. In August 1974, 31 percent of Republicans favored Nixon’s removal. Today, only 8 percent of Republicans feel that way about Trump.
The story of this impeachment is the story of American politics today: polarization. It affects almost every aspect of American political life and has been studied by scholars from many different angles, with dozens of good historical and experimental approaches. Wouldn’t it be great if someone would digest all these studies, synthesize them and produce a readable book that makes sense of it all? Ezra Klein has done just that with his compelling new work, “Why We’re Polarized.” It is likely to become the political book of the year.