There have been a variety of theories put forward to explain Dem Impeachment Theater. For example:
1. Impeachment Theater will drag Sanders back to DC and allow a "moderate" like Joe Biden to surge ahead and grab the nomination.
2. Or, maybe Impeachment Theater is something to keep the Dem base fired up--but that might mean that the base, which is gravitating toward Sanders, will get out and vote for Sanders! And that's a multi-dimensional problem.
I've suggested that there's an insoluble dilemma to this type of strategery, which is that #1 will alienate much of the Dem base, which is increasingly gravitating toward Sanders, and #2 will alienate the independents the Dems need to get past ~40% in the general election. Not only that, but the alienated Sanders supporters are unlikely to support any other Dem if Sanders is somehow denied.
I know this isn't exactly news, but Steve Hayward at Powerline (The State of Things for Dems: Gloomy & Getting Gloomier) provides some numbers and analysis to put it all in perspective:
... several new polls show Bernie Sanders surging in Iowa and New Hampshire as well as nationally, ...
... The Democratic establishment, such as it is, will move heaven and earth to stop Sanders, ... Sanders is an opposition researcher’s dream. ...
The problem for Democrats is that taking down Bernie might well ensure they lose the election because lots of Bernie bros won’t vote for Joe Biden or the other powdered milk substitutes. We know a significant portion of Bernie voters in 2016 ended up voting for Trump in November. What might happen this year? A recent Emerson College poll found that only 53 percent of current Bernie voters said they would definitely support another Democratic nominee. ...
Meanwhile, impeachment has turned into a total bust. The Senate spectators’ gallery has been half empty most of the time. I guess Democrats overestimated the charisma and animal magnetism of Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler. And the public has tuned it out on television:
"According to TV ratings for the first two days of the trial, the six news networks covering Trump’s impeachment averaged a little over 11 million viewers combined, with Fox News leading the pack with some 2,654,000 on their channel from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Viewership dropped by about 20 percent on Wednesday, with a total of 8,858,000 million watching; MSNBC led day two with 1,793,000 tuning in."
Worse for Dems: Quinnipiac, a very reputable polling outfit, now finds a majority of Americans opposed to Trump’s impeachment:
"A majority of Americans now oppose impeaching and removing President Trump from office, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll Tuesday that signals Democrats’ month of hearings to make their case has failed. Quinnipiac found 51% of registered voters surveyed said they don’t want to see the president ousted through impeachment. That’s the first time the number has been above 50% since before Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry in late September."
Even worse news: the latest YouGov “generic ballot” poll for the House, which had showed a solid Democratic advantage, is now showing only a 1 point Democratic edge over Republicans. ...
UPDATE: Don Surber piles on, as it were, with--Writing off gun owners:
Gallup reported 43% of Americans live in a gun-owning household.
Democrats have written that 43% off in their pursuit of Hispanic and black voters. Only 26% of Hispanic households and 29% of black households have a gun.
50% of white households do.
If you write off 43% of the voters, you had better be sure the other 57% are in your corner because math says you need 89% of them.
That's some pretty tough math to overcome. You've really got to be ideology driven to put yourself in that sort of situation.