I’ve been watching the 2nd Trump impeachment trial while I work since it began on Tuesday. Unlike with the first impeachment trial, the House managers have done a pretty good job presenting the case of Trump’s incitement of insurrection.
But then again, not particularly enamored with Trump as many people are, I can look at the facts and call them like they are.
After losing election dispute after election dispute in court, a total of 61 times (62 cases were filed on behalf of the Trump campaign in state and federal courts and they won one that did not change the result), the election results were certified, and the electoral college voted, Trump and others continued to claim that he won the election and there was a vast left-wing conspiracy at work that stole the election from him at rally after rally prior to January 6. “Stop the Steal” was the center piece of each one, and some of the later ones included content referring to Pence “having the power” to interject in the vote counting and “send the votes back to the states.” All of it was misrepresentation and distortion of facts. Trump legally lost the election as of the day the electoral college tabulations were transmitted to Congress. Pence did not have authority to do any thing with electoral votes except preside over their counting, and there are no provisions in law for states to change their certifications once they have been transmitted.
At the final rally, on January 6, Trump stood before a crowd of supporters, many dressed in tactical gear and/or armed to the teeth, others chanting violent slogans, and iterated to them that the Democrats were just down the street to finalize the steal, and they needed to go down to the capitol and stop them – Stop the steal.
Trump’s full speech from his last rally is here. Shortly after Trump began speaking at this really, according to the Wall Street Journal timeline that is available here, a detachment of the Proud Boys were already headed toward the Capitol, and had pushed their way through the front crowd barriers and began to engage the Capitol Police by the time Trump’s speech was complete; the rest of the crowd arrived shortly thereafter.
What I am saying here is that these Proud Boys that began the siege of the Capitol never heard the majority the Trump’s speech at the rally on January 6. They certainly never heard the “peacefully” remark that came toward the end – perhaps a purposeful hedge. My understanding of the situation is that they had heard about Pence’s refusal to interject in the vote counting as Trump was discussing it in his speech and began marching toward the Capitol at that moment, intent on stopping the count as they had been instructed to do from the lectern.
Further events of that day are well documented and are likely immaterial in determining Trump’s culpability for the riot.
All of what I have written here is summary of publicly available information. It’s hard to stir up an angry mob in secret; and so, the proof of incitement is all over the place in video form. I think the only viable defense Trump has at this point is insanity.
Yet so many Republicans in the Senate appear to be unmoved by the copious amounts of proof, or the fact that people were killed in the scuffle, and perhaps more may have been killed if not for predetermined evacuation plans including the VP and Speaker of the House, and plan to vote to acquit Trump. Why? We made it through the first 240 years of the republic without Trump, and we will certainly make it through the years ahead without him. He’s just a guy who puts his pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.
I am shocked by this. But I suppose that it isn’t all surprising given that Republicans don’t seem to be able to consider the longer term, and I’ve heard that they are afraid of Trump. I don’t know if they are afraid of Trump or if they are just as deluded about the election as he.
Whatever the case, I hate to break it to them, but the Republican Party as it exists today is dead. Their standard-bearer and his circular firing squad of sycophants just spent two months poisoning the democratic well in the minds of their own voters. They will be lucky if any of the more ardent Trump supporters ever vote again; and as a general point about winning elections, you can’t get reelected if your base doesn’t show up, and there’s likely long odds that the Q crap or being seen as a Trump bottom feeders will be a hit with indies. If they can’t win future elections, they’ll no longer have any power. Game over.
For Republicans politicians who care about their careers and possibly about doing the right thing to ensure our republic continues to exist for posterity, the only way out of this predicament is to tell the base the truth about civics and the election, throw Donald under the bus of his own making, and convict him at the impeachment trial. It sounds a lot easier than it is, I’m sure. If you’d rather be a shrinking violet, perhaps the next best thing to do is resign because your families are better off with you in a different line of work, and the Republic is better off without you.
Nevertheless, time to do the right thing regarding Trump and the republic is running out. The clock is ticking. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock…