5 Things To Watch For As Wild Ride Of U.S. Presidential Campaign Really Gets Going

Anyone who has ever ridden a roller-coaster knows the feeling.

The unsettling mix of anticipation and dread that comes after the harness is locked in place and the ride starts slowly climbing toward the sky.

You're waiting for the slow climb to switch to a terrifying descent, filled with twists and turns and flips that come at you so quickly, all you can do is scream.

In a strange way, that's pretty much where we are in U.S. politics right now.

One year out from the vote that will determine whether Donald Trump earns a second term in the White House, the campaign is about to pick up speed.

The twists and turns and noise of the 2020 campaign could feel overwhelming.

With that in mind, here are five things Canadians should pay attention to over the next 12 months as they try to make sense of what's really happening in the election south of the border.

1. Wavering senators

As the partisan theatre of the impeachment inquiry against Trump dominates the headlines over the next three months or so, pay particular attention to any Republican senators who stop defending the president, or even start speaking out against him.

The Democrats seem likely to impeach the president in the House of Representatives, but to actually remove him from office, they would need 20 Republican senators to turn against Trump in a Senate trial.

Expect many Republicans to frame this behaviour as bad — but not bad enough to warrant removing the president from office.

If that message sticks, and there are no new revelations about Trump's behaviour, veteran Republican campaign strategist Ford O'Connell predicts the impeachment process won't have a major impact on the presidential race.

"Chances are this is something that will probably be over by mid-January. And it will be another blip."

Read more from Lyndsay Buncombe at CBC News

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Analysis & Political Strategy