A Reckoning of Sorts
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
Mitch McConnell doesn’t exactly invoke the image of an athlete but when it comes to legal and moral acrobatics he has no equal, and if it wasn’t for the Senate minority leader’s ability to fold his perfidious brain into a double pretzel Trump might have been convicted in his second impeachment trial. As it stands, McConnell voted to acquit the former president because the trial was held while he was no longer in office, for the simple reason that McConnell had refused to start it while Trump wás still in office, and 43 GOP senators followed his lead. After the vote McConnell declared that Trump was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the events of January 6th, or in other words, guilty as hell. Trump’s lawyer agreed, and suggested that Trump would be arrested after the trail to face charges of having incited an insurrection. Even the fact that the former president would have had them killed rather than calling off the mob, as became clear during the invasion of the Capitol and was all but proven during the trial, didn’t persuade the majority of Republicans who cast a vote, showing how but for the few weasels who really like Trump the rest is dead scared of him.
True to form, after the trial Trump called it a witch hunt, thanking the lawyers who had sent him into the curtains at Mar-a-Lago and will have to sue him to get paid. He declared that his ‘Make America Great Again’ movement is only getting started, and that he will now focus on ‘reorganizing’ the Republican Party. It appears that McConnell gambled that if Trump would be convicted he would break away from the GOP and take his base with him to start a modern fascist party, but that if he stays his influence will be diminished and gradually fade. Only the future will tell if the minority leader was right, but for now the Republican Party is still Trump’s party and he will be intent on running his own candidates in every primary for a House or Senate candidacy in 2022, first and foremost against those who voted for his impeachment or conviction. And even though it is likely that Trump couldn’t be elected dog catcher anymore after the damage done by the trial he will probably soon announce that he’ll be running in 2024 because he needs money for the court cases that await him and to pay off his debts, while Ivanka and Lara Trump appear to be eying Senate seats.
The dividing line between those Republicans who still more or less respect the Constitution and those who would gladly turn the US into a fascist dictatorship with mob rule now runs right through the GOP, but the main fight will not be fought there. For the Democratic Party the primary goal has to be to deliver for the American people by ending the COVID crisis and reviving the economy well before the 2022 elections, so that Trump’s candidates fail completely and McConnell doesn’t get the Senate back, assuming that one of them hasn’t eliminated the other or kicked the bucket by that time.
In that context it is more than unfortunate that the filibuster remains in place in the Senate as long as Senators Sinema and Manchin don’t find their marbles. If he was in Schumer’s position McConnell wouldn’t hesitate one minute to blow up the filibuster, but Democrats will have to fight with one hand behind their back because two senators don’t see that if they can deliver the goods for their constituents, no matter how Trumpist, they’ll win elections, and if they cannot they’ll lose.
In the immediate future Trump will have more to worry about than what happens in the GOP. SDNY still has numerous sealed indictments on him, the Manhattan DA is investigating tax- and insurance fraud by the Trump Organization, the AG in Washington, DC, is weighing ‘Incitement to Insurrection’ charges, and in Georgia Trump will most likely be prosecuted for election tampering.
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