A PRESIDENT ON TRIAL (AGAIN!) The Real Reason Republican Senators Will Not Convict Trump- By Austin Inyang
Today, former US President Donald John Trump becomes the first-ever leader of that country to undergo a second impeachment trial at the senate. If convicted, he will be legally ineligible to stand for any elected office for the rest of his life. He is accused of inciting an insurrection against an arm of the US government aimed at violently blocking the peaceful transfer of power. The facts are clear, the evidence of that treasonable act is on record (and on video, too). And yet his fellow Republicans are still grasping for some way to let Trump off the hook while not looking complicit in his attempt to violently overthrow the government by sending a fascist crowd to storm the Capitol, the seat of that country’s legislature. So Republicans are reaching for their most potent weapon in the battle to convince the world that they’re still respectable statesmen and upholders of democracy.
A headline in the Republican-leaning magazine POLITICO reads: “Where Democrats and Republicans Agree on Trump.” The rider reads: “Both parties want to be rid of him. They just differ on the means.”
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But that is a misleading write-up, at best – because Republicans always make it a point to disagree with Democrats, even on basic questions of fact. Republicans are struggling to create the impression that, as Andrew Desiderio has put it, “most (Republican) senators want to get it over with, and they want the former president to go away.” They would like the world to believe they’re eager to move past Trump.
But they do not actually want to move past Trump – for a very simple reason: They refuse to do the one thing that would put Trump out of political business, which is to convict him. Taking away the ability to run again disarms him. Without that ability, he can’t make good on his threat to start a third party. Without the ability to run for office, the playing field opens up for all those other Republicans who also want to run for President in 2024.
So why won’t they do it?
Well, here’s the excuse some Republicans have given so far: Those of them who are nervous about Trump’s continued stranglehold on the party just don’t want to poke the lion, i.e. his base – the 74 million people who voted for him in the last election. Why not? Because, if Trump were to be convicted, they say, there would be an uproar among his supporters. And it would probably energize them.
The question is: Who cares if Trump’s biggest fans are “energized”? What can they get energized about if Trump can’t run for office? Tweeting abuse at feminists, Muslims, Mexicans and shithole countries? Going to their super-spreader rallies without facemasks in the middle of a pandemic, just to prove a point? Or complaining about Black Lives Matter activists, sympathisers and famous athletes taking a knee? One thing, for sure, that they can’t get energized about, if Trump is convicted, is another Trump campaign for the White House.
His popularity and future as a Republican leader depends on his acquittal by the Senate. Without it, he’s nothing — even to his own base. Because, here’s the thing: Trump’s base is not there for Trump. No. There really aren’t millions of Americans whose highest political desire lies in the hands of a mafioso wannabe like Donald Trump. What they like about him is that he’s a naked racist – who has access to power. Without this power, what is he? More like another David Duke character, a bigot who (in the case of Trump) happens to live large. The former President is not even a very charismatic politician or a good political analyst. His followers still have the likes of Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh for that, if they want to hear people expressing the same ideas but with a little more talent. So if Trump doesn’t provide an avenue to power for his followers, they will find some other leader who speaks to their white supremacist yearnings. Yes, America will have still have its problems, but at least Trump won’t be one of them.
So Senate Republicans have the power to turn Trump’s already dimming light completely off. The man is not a wizard. He’s not even the business genius people once believed him to be. His coup failed. He is on the verge of total irrelevance, and only needs the gentlest of pushes to fall into the abyss..
But they won’t do that – and for those of us who aren’t American but have to deal with that country on some level or another, this is what we must take note of: The reason Republicans will not convict Trump and end his political relevance here and now is because THEY DONT WANT TO. They are the ones who can’t have enough of Trump, even though his insurrection on January 6, 2021 directly threatened their lives along with their Democratic colleagues’. After all, his efforts to overturn democracy by force were simply a bolder and more direct version of the years of voter suppression that Republicans have always engaged in. Republicans can’t quite bring themselves to punish Trump for inciting an insurrection because, even if they can’t admit it publicly, they support his actions and are only making excuses because HE FAILED. Anything else they say is just a cover-up for their complicity.
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