Today, Michael Cohen begins his tour through Congress testifying against President Trump. Cohen is a liar, so much so that he has been convicted for lying before Congress. That’s bad. It’s the best point Republicans can make against anything Cohen says, and frankly, it’s effective.
The question that will be answered in coming days, and possibly during the 2020 campaigns, is whether or not the words of Michael Cohen, the President’s former “fixer,” will have any weight over voters.
There are three types of voters as it pertains to Cohen:
- Presidential lovers and haters: If Cohen had video evidence of the President ordering payments to his former mistresses, most in the MAGA crowd would be unaffected. Conversely, if Cohen said the President had no involvement whatsoever with Russia, his detractors would still be crying “collusion!” In other words, the 20% of the population that adores the President and the opposite 20% that absolutely hate him will not be swayed regardless of Cohen’s testimony.
- The disinterested half: Around 50% of Americans will be unaffected by Michael Cohen’s testimony because they either don’t know he’s testifying, don’t care that he’s testifying, or don’t even know who he is. I’d love for this number to be lower, but unfortunately I believe the disinterested “half” may actually be more than half of America. Oh well.
- The target audience: Somewhere around 10% of people who are either watching the testimony or who will listen to the snippets and reactions from their favorite news channel will adjust or justify their perspectives. That’s not to say they’re “up for grabs” per se, but they’re open to be convinced one way or another. At least for now.
There have already been zingers and there will be more zingers to come. Some of them can affect voters if they believe them. Should they be believed? Yes and no.
Michael Cohen is not a credible person. He’s admitted to lying and living in the lowest levels of deceit where few lawyers are willing to go. That’s the Republican narrative, but there’s a problem. If he has gone as low as possible, he did so for President Trump. That’s their Catch-22. How do they paint Cohen as a bad person without having that stink stick to his former client as well?
Democrats are in a slightly better situation. Yes, he’s a liar, but they’ve done a nice job of painting him as a man without an agenda. That means that this liar was only lying for the sake of President Trump, at least that’s what they hope people hear.
Trump’s fans will focus on Cohen being a liar. Trump’s foes will say Cohen lied before for Trump but is now telling the truth. The people will hear what they want to hear. The only certainty is that this is a giant mess for the nation.