AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As President Donald Trump goes on trial in the U. S. Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors, interest in the impeachment process is up in the Lubbock metro and Austin metro areas.
Searches in Texas for “impeachment” were highest in Lubbock, Austin, Odessa/Midland, Corpus Christi and Victoria. Google Trends tracked the searches over the past 30 days.
Other areas reaching the top 10 include San Antonio, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Tyler, Houston, and Waco.
“Austin being one of the more Democratic areas in the state, I’m not surprised that there’s more interest here.,” Texas Politics Project director James Henson said from his office at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Some of these areas in West Texas and the Panhandle where you’re seeing upticks in interest, probably a measure of the fact that those are deep red Republican areas of the state,” Henson said.
“Google search data can be hard to interpret, but in terms of interest, I mean, I would imagine that partisanship is what’s driving people’s interest in this,” Henson explained.
Jorge Ramirez, a law professor at Texas Tech University, said West Texans may be tuned in to impeachment proceedings because of Trump’s support of farmers and the oil industry, two areas in which the region leads.
“Maybe a lot of folks in those industries see that as an important part of this impeachment process that is possibly losing someone who might support them in those different economic areas,” Ramirez explained.
Ramirez said tracking these moments in history is crucial for the future lawyers he teaches.
“It’s rooted in the constitution itself, which is, of course, our founding document,” Ramirez said. “I encourage students to remain engaged in the process as it as it moves along and to try to see it from both perspectives, the Democratic perspective and the Republican perspective as a legal issue as well as a political issue.”
Del Valle High School student Makayla Harvey started learning about the impeachment process in her government class in Del Valle ISD.
“It really gives you like an insight and like how these things really happen,” Harvey, a senior, said. “It’s not like you just hearing it from a teacher or reading out of a book— like they can give really give you examples of like how it happened in your life.”
Her government teacher, Dr. Joel Parker, said his students are interested in learning about the impeachment process, and while it is not a specific education requirement, discussing current events is a valuable part of his students’ education.
“It’s a window into a lot of the topics that we talk about in this class, like checks and balances between the branches, for example,” Parker said.
“Real world relevance really is part of the curriculum, so, you know, we have to find a way to make this matter for the students,” Parker added.
Recent Texas Politics Project polling indicated a partisan split on whether Congress is justified in its impeachment investigations. That polling also showed Texans are mostly split when asked if Trump has taken action that justifies his removal from office. Henson and his team at UT Austin are planning another round of polling in the next couple of weeks as the impeachment trial continues.
Photojournalist Pedro Figueroa contributed to this report.