Public Hearings Could Bolster Bipartisan Support Against Trump, Professor Eissler Says

Friday, November 01, 2019

THE GLOBE AND MAIL (TORONTO) -- Rebecca Eissler, a political scientist at San Francisco State University, pointed to the Watergate hearings: Televised questioning of witnesses turned the public against then-President Richard Nixon and caused enough of his Republican Senate caucus to defect that he opted to resign rather than risk getting thrown out of the White House.

By contrast, she said, the private depositions in Mr. Trump’s case, whose details have mostly emerged through sporadic media leaks, have not dramatically changed the political dynamics.

“There’s something about the performance of public hearings versus learning this in dribs and drabs,” Prof. Eissler said. “Seeing this happen in public is a kind of political theatre that can be more persuasive than the facts alone.”