Senate Republicans Are Not Going To Convict Trump
It is not likely there are enough votes to convict Trump. President Biden himself said in an interview on January 25 that Democrats did not have the votes in the Senate to convict Trump. Even though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not sure how he would vote, signalling the first significant break between Trump and the most powerful Republican in the Senate, he and 45 Republican senators voted on January 26 in favour of a motion proposed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to dismiss the impeachment trial. The strategy behind this motion was to question the constitutionality of convicting a former president, another first in American history. Only five Republicans opposed the measure. This is the most glaring indication that nowhere close to 17 Republicans will vote with the Democrats to convict the former president.
Moreover, Trump has threatened political retribution against those GOP members of Congress who support impeachment. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump and his closest aides were in discussions about creating a new Patriot Party to challenge Republican candidates. However, Trump recently disavowed these reports and reassured Senate Republicans. Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota relayed to Politico that The president wanted me to know, as well as a handful of others, that the president is a Republican, he is not starting a third party and that anything he would do politically in the future would be as a Republican.
The Partys Core Activists Dont Want To Shift Gears
This is the simplest and most obvious explanation: The GOP isnt changing directions because the people driving the car dont want to.;
When we think of Republicans, we tend to think of either rank-and-file GOP voters or the partys highest-profile elected officials, particularly its leaders in Congress. But in many ways, the partys direction is driven by a group between those two: conservative organizations like Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, GOP officials at the local and state level and right-wing media outlets. That segment of the party has been especially resistant to the GOP abandoning its current mix of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, opposition to expansions of programs that benefit the poor and an identity politics that centers white Americans and conservative Christians.
You could see the power and preferences of this group in the response to the Capitol insurrection.
In the days immediately following Jan. 6, many GOP elected officials, most notably McConnell, signaled that the party should make a permanent break from Trump. Pollsfound an increased number of rank-and-file GOP voters were dissatisfied with the outgoing president. But by the time the Senate held its trial over Trumps actions a month later, it was clear that the party was basically back in line with Trump.;
related:Why Being Anti-Media Is Now Part Of The GOP Identity Read more. »
Trump Breaks Silence With Cpac Speech
Most notably, these state and local parties launched a barrage of censures or other forms of condemnation not long after a violent pro-Trump mob inspired by the former presidents lie about a stolen election and egged on that day by Trump himself stormed the Capitol intent on disrupting Congress as it formalized President Joe Bidens win. Many of the efforts were aimed at the small number of Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment or conviction after House Democrats moved swiftly to impeach Trump on the charge of “incitement to insurrection.”
In Louisiana, the state GOP censured one of its U.S. senators, Bill Cassidy, moments after he voted to convict Trump. North Carolina’s state GOP passed a similar measure aimed at Sen. Richard Burr just days later.
In Illinois, Larry Smith, chair of the LaSalle County Republican Party and a leader in the effort to censure Rep. Adam Kinzinger after he voted to impeach Trump, told NBC News that local GOP leaders in his state are overwhelmingly still pro-Trump, and that the detractors amount to a splinter group by comparison.
I think they’re stunningly naive or have completely misread the tea leaves, he said of Republicans who believe they can leave Trump behind.
He pointed to comments from Kinzinger in The Atlantic in which the lawmaker expressed hope that the segment of the GOP base ready to move past Trump could grow to 35 or 45 percent by the midterm elections.
Read Also: What Cities Are Run By Republicans
Why Dont Republicans Stand Up To Trump Heres The Answer
Rep. Mark Sanford
If youre still flummoxed by the abject servility of congressional Republicans, by their refusal to confront Trump and stand up for American values, check out last nights primary election in South Carolina. The purging of Mark Sanford says it all.
Sanford is a long-serving conservative lawmaker who typically votes with his party, but on a few public occasions, he has actually dared to suggest that Trump is not the supreme very stable genius that the deluded Republican base deems Trump to be. The result: Sanford loses his job.
For the inexcusable sin of speaking his mind about factual reality, the Republican base voters in Sanfords House district threw him out last night, handing the GOP nomination to a far-right Trumper who repeatedly denounced Sanford as disloyal.
This is why rank-and-file Republican lawmakers refuse to speak out. Theyre afraid of their own constituents. Its Trumps party now, and the constituents in red districts virtually worship the guy. Forget about putting country over party, because its actually worse than that. Sanfords colleagues wont put country over career. Theyll vow that what just happened to Sanford will not happen to them.
As conservative commentator Erick Erickson said today, Mark Sanford losing in South Carolina is pretty much proof positive that the GOP is not really a conservative party that cares about limited government. It is now fully a cult of personality.
I stand by every word.
Why Do Republicans Continue To Support Trump Despite Years Of Scandal
It was late September last year when a whistleblower complaint revealed that President Trump had tried to force the Ukrainian government to investigate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Within moments the scandal captured headlines. What followed was months of back and forth as Republicans supported the president while the Democrats used their political capital to get him impeached.
But this was not the first time ;;or the last time ;the president was caught in the middle of a scandal.;Since the impeachment trial that followed the Ukraine incident, episodes from The New York Times uncovering unsavory details from President Trumps tax returns, to his questionable dismissal of multiple Inspectors General, to his refusal to clearly condemn white supremacists have all sparked widespread media attention and partisan fighting in 2020.;
Although with his polls dropping, some Republicans may finally be distancing themselves from the President, the question has been regularly asked the past four years: why do the Republicans continue to support the President despite these troubling charges being leveled at him? And, what is it that the Democrats stand to gain from repeated allegations?
;In addition to demonstrating how polarization accelerates scandals, the paper also found that:;
Trump Is Still A Force In The Party
After the 2012 elections, prominent Republicans sharply criticized Mitt Romney and his campaign. Democrats did the same to Hillary Clinton after 2016 and sometimes included former President Barack Obama in their criticisms, too. For a political party to change direction, it nearly always has to distance itself from past leaders.;
Or put another way: For there to be an autopsy, there has to be a dead body.
Republicans’ Choice: Stand With Trump Or Risk His Wrath
Trump has already informed at least two GOP lawmakers of his dissatisfaction with their defense of his racist tweets.
Sen. John Cornyn prides himself on winning a large share of the Latino vote in Texas, campaigning in the Asian American community and running ads in three languages. Its a crucial strategy for a Republican in a diverse state and one that is sharply divergent from President Donald Trumps approach.
So as Cornyn seeks reelection next year with Trump on the ballot, hes making sure that he isnt dragged down by the presidents more inflammatory politics, exemplified again this week by his racist tweets telling four liberal Democratic congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
I dont have any trouble speaking to any of my constituents. They dont confuse me with whats happening up here in D.C., said Cornyn, who has gently criticized Trumps battle as a mistake that unified Democrats. I know we are consumed by this here, but it doesnt consume my constituents when I go back home.
Its a common refrain for Republicans trying to deflect a Trump-fueled firestorm and highlights the dilemma that the party will face for months to come.
GOP lawmakers, especially those facing potentially tough reelection bids, need to create independent identities to win over Trump skeptics. But if they break too fiercely with the president, he and his grassroots supporters might turn on them, with disastrous political consequences.
Also Check: How Many Seats Do Republicans Have In The Senate
A Clue About This Difficult Political Surgery
Reuters: Yuri Gripas
Trump is like a drug Republicans are yet to find a way to kick. By most accounts, few Republicans in Congress want him back, and many believe that if a secret ballot had been held in the Senate on the weekend, more than the required number of 17 would have joined with the 50 Democrats to convict him and ban him from holding office in the future.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech condemning Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the deadly January 6 attack on Congress by his supporters, offers a clue about the difficult piece of political surgery he is now trying to perform.
“Seventy-four million Americans did not invade the Capitol,” McConnell said. “Hundreds of rioters did. Seventy-four million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. One person did. Just one.”
Have Expressed Reluctance Or Misgivings But Havent Openly Dropped Their Backing
Paul Ryan and John Boehner, the former speakers of the House: Both have expressed their dislike of the president, but have not said whom they will support in November.
John Kelly, a former chief of staff to the president: Mr. Kelly has not said whom he plans to vote for, but did say he wished we had some additional choices.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: She has said that shes grappling with whether to support Mr. Trump in November. She told reporters on Capitol Hill in June: I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.
She said: I think right now, as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately, questions about who Im going to vote for or not going to vote for, I think, are distracting at the moment. I know people might think thats a dodge, but I think there are important conversations that we need to have as an American people among ourselves about where we are right now.
Mr. Sanford briefly challenged the president in this cycles Republican primary, and said last year that he would support Mr. Trump if the president won the nomination .
That has since changed.
Hes treading on very thin ice, Mr. Sanford said in June, worrying that the president is threatening the stability of the country.
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.
Why Are Republicans So Afraid Of Voters
There is no both sides do it when it comes to intentionally keeping Americans away from the polls.
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstandingvalues. It is separate from the newsroom.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 93 million Americans had cast a ballot in the November elections. Thats about two-thirds of the total number of people who voted in 2016, and there are still two days until Election Day.
This is excellent news. In the middle of a global pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly a quarter of a million Americans, upended the national economy and thrown state election procedures into turmoil, there were reasonable concerns that many people would not vote at all. The numbers to date suggest that 2020 could see record turnout.
While celebrating this renewed citizen involvement in Americas political process, dont lose sight of the bigger, and darker, picture. For decades, Americans have voted at depressingly low rates for a modern democracy. Even in a good year, more than one-third of all eligible voters dont cast a ballot. In a bad year, that number can approach two-thirds.
Why are so many Americans consistently missing in action on Election Day?
For many, its a choice. They are disillusioned with government, or they feel their vote doesnt matter because politicians dont listen to them anyway.
Republicans Almost Won In 2020
To torture this autopsy metaphor even more: Theres a good argument that the party is still very much alive.
Historically, parties have done more self-reflection and been more likely to change course when theyve hit electoral low points. In the 1988 presidential race, Democrats carried only 10 states and Washington, D.C., and that loss was their third consecutive failed bid for the White House. In 2008, Obama won the popular vote by 7 percentage points Republicans didnt even carry Indiana. So of course the parties were ready to rethink things after those defeats.
In contrast, Trump would have won reelection had he done only about 1 percentage point better in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and about 3 points better in Michigan. Republicans would still control the Senate had Republican David Perdue won about 60,000 more votes against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgias Senate runoff. A slew of court rulings that forced the redrawing of House district lines in less favorable ways to the GOP helped the Democrats win several seats otherwise, Republicans might have won back the House. Add all that up, and 2020 wasnt that far from resulting in a Republican trifecta.;
related:What Did CPAC Tell Us About The Future Of The GOP? Read more. »
Don’t Miss: Which Republicans Voted For The Resolution Today
Dire Rhetoric Used To Describe Democratic Political Opponents What’s At Stake In Country
During the second impeachment trial, the core of the House impeachment managers’ case was this: Trump’s extreme rhetoric about the presidential election being “rigged” incited a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol.
Every Democratic senator and seven Republican senators bought the argument, voting to convict Trump. In both the House and Senate, even Republicans who did not vote to impeach or convict Trump, respectively, criticized his rhetoric and actions surrounding the election.
But at CPAC, while there were few mentions of Jan. 6, several speakers’ rhetoric was similarly inflammatory as they described political opponents in extreme terms and painted a dire picture of a nation led by Democrats.
During his speech, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., delivered a line eerily similar to one Trump gave on Jan. 6, when the former president said, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
“If we sit on the sidelines, we will not have a country to inherit. If we do not get involved and say that it is our duty to make sure that our country is responsible, that our country doesn’t take away our liberties, then my friends, we will lose this nation,” Cawthorn said. “The Democrats, my opponents and adversaries on the other side are brutal and vicious and they are trying to take away all of our rights.”
Opinion: Why Are Republicans So Afraid Of A Fair Fight At The Polls
THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has left state leaders scrambling to run a fair election this November. Ramping up absentee voting is the most sensible response, but unfortunately it also is becoming a partisan choice. President Trump continues to spew disinformation about the supposed dangers of mail-in voting, some state Republican leaders are refusing to make voting easier, and party officials are fighting states that are trying to do the right thing.
There is NO WAY that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent, President Trump tweeted May 26, accusing California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, of proposing to send ballots to anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there. In fact, voter fraud of any kind is rare, and states that conduct all-mail-in elections, such as Oregon and Utah, have not seen widespread fraud. Mr. Trump may have been spurred by a lawsuit the Republican National Committee filed May 24 against Mr. Newsom, demanding that the courts stop the governor from distributing absentee ballots in California. That lawsuit, too, is built on fearmongering.
If Republicans fear that enabling more people to vote will hurt them, they should offer more attractive policies and candidates and stop trying to suppress the vote, in California and everywhere else.
More Great Stories FromVanity Fair
Recommended Reading: How Many Democrats And Republicans Are Currently In The Senate