The search for what really matters about the Trump impeachment started Thursday and the answer will come on Nov. 3, or as soon afterward as we can count electoral votes.

President Donald Trump will wake up as president that morning, barring death or severe disability beyond his compulsion to make an ass of himself. So the question is whether the impeachment will help Democrats, help Trump or neither.

Republicans say Dems will suffer. Trump, at a rally in Battle Creek, Mich., predicted a “big backlash at the box office,” forgetting that he’s no longer in show business.

Most but not all Democrats say voters won’t punish the party at the ballot box — yeah, that’s the right place — over this impeachment. But they seem less sure of themselves.

My money is on the under for the Dems that they will lose votes because of this effort come November. It’s not just that the impeachment might ignite the GOP base, but issues are fading in the fray.

Remember health care? Immigration reform? The trade war? An economy that’s good but may be slowing? Trump’s utter failure on infrastructure spending? His $1 trillion gift to the top 5 percent?

Me neither. It’s all impeachment, all the time, and the Dems are leaving those potentially winning issues on the table. They say there will be plenty of time for that but time passes fast and in politics, memories are feelings, not ideas.

Nancy Wyman, Democratic state chair, is optimistic, as she’s paid to be.

“When this quiets down, when they realize that the Republicans in the Senate were not taking up bills because they were angry at the House so that they didn’t do what they needed to do for this country....”

She continued, and I’m afraid she gave too much credit to American voters. The people who elected a guy who bragged about assaulting women and made fun of a disabled news reporter are not going to remember, and piece together, that, gee whiz, those House members really did pass 400 bills in 2019, didn’t they?

To check the pulse, I decided to call Battle Creek directly on Thursday, the heartland of a state that matters in the presidential race, unlike Connecticut. Jim Haadsema, the Democratic state Representative whose district Trump visited, isn’t worried about a backlash.

“People aren’t generally contacting me about impeachment and whether they are antagonistic to or supportive of impeachment of the president of the United States,” said Haadsema, a lawyer. “I try to focus on what’s before me, the trees rather than the forest...Good paying jobs, clean drinking water.”

I heard the same message from other Michigan Democrats, including Frank Liberati of Allen Park, who runs an Italian deli (and has never been to New Haven). The impeachment won’t change a single mind, he said. “The only thing that might matter is what kind of candidate you put out there.”

Polls bear that out, showing differences between, say, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren vs. Trump, but not much change in voter sentiment from the impeachment inquiry. Trump might have even seen a slight uptick this week according to fivethirtyeight.com, which analyzes polls.

Experts are divided on the likelihood of a possible backlash and the previous impeachments offer zero useful guidance because the circumstances were so different. So we’re on our own in this.

Haadsema’s message about working the issues is spot on, and that’s what Wyman, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, Sen. Martin Looney and others in Connecticut say Democrats need to do.

“We have our own business to take care of here,” said Looney, the New Haven Democrat who’s president pro-tempore in the state Senate.

True enough, but I can’t help feeling the moral course — impeach a president who obviously used foreign policy to his private political advantage — might jeopardize electoral strategy.

“The incumbent has been claiming he’s a victim forever and the Democrats basically made that come true,” said Steve Mazzacane, a Branford Democrat and close watcher of politics who shares my thought.

Besides, said Mazzacane, a stock trader who owns Branford Seven, a local news site, “You just impeached a president based on withholding money to a foreign country.” — something most voters would actually approve.

Another Michigan Democratic lawmaker that I reached, John Chirkun, a former longtime law enforcement officer who’s a member of the NRA, said any hint of inviting meddling in U.S. elections will hurt Trump.

“I grew up in the Cold War back in the ‘60s,” Chirkun explained. “I think the Democrats will get fired up even more if the Senate doesn’t impeach him.”

He’s fired up now, over Trump’s remark Wednesday night that the late Rep. John Dingell may be “looking up” from hell at his widow, Debbie Dingell, who is now in Congress.

That’s an outrage that should hurt Trump, he believes, rightly. “I’m not fearing no backlash,” he said.

This time, even Republicans are calling for an apology over the Dingell remark. But we’ve paid at the box office — the real one — to see that movie before about voter outrage over Trump’s inexcusable behavior.

It never plays well for Trump opponents. How and whether the impeachment plays in November is an open question. Democrats should be more worried than they are now, and may soon feel impeachers’ remorse.

One way or another, as Wyman put it, “We have to work our tails off...this is not going to be on a silver platter.”

Connecticut Media Group