Impeached: The End Is Nigh For President Trump
On 9th September, 2016, at a fundraising event, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jokingly dubbed half of Donald J. Trump’s supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables’. Her remarks drew scathing rebuke of her campaign and went further in painting her as a divisive person who loathed a better part of conservative American nationals. She later on opined in her memoir, ‘What Happened’, that her remarks were one of the reasons she lost the 2016 elections. However, on 6th Jan 2021 her prophecy was delivered in the form of besiegement of Capitol Hill where an all-out onslaught on the seat of American democracy transpired needless to say by the same ‘deplorables’. So much for the karma was the fact that many of hardcore Trump supporters on the Fox and conservative media used the word ‘deplorables’ to describes the ransackers on the Capitol Hill. Perhaps this is the only time in recent history where the two parties have found a common ground.
The Congress is in session as I write these words. Speaker Pelosi moved a motion calling on the Vice President to invoke Article 25 and remove the President from his office (viz. President’s inability to carry out their duties in office). Pence has declined to embark on this particular course of actions, so another motion for Articles of impeachment against the President as the former motion was stonewalled was voted on by the House of Representatives last night. President Trump is officially impeached. Impeached twice for that matter and with a historic bipartisan vote for impeachment where ten Republicans broke the ties and voted in the favor of impeachment. Perhaps, President Trump’s end is nigh. There is confusion regarding how farther is the Republican Party willing to go on impeachment. Republican old guards like Liz Cheney have supported the call for impeachment and the media has it that Mitch McConnel is also supporting the impeachment. Mitch McConnel is someone who holds his cards close to chest so if the media knows his stance on impeachment, it in fact means that he had wanted the media to know. Part of the impetus for Republican support may have come from Corporate America saying in unison that they would stop donating the money to Republicans if they continue questioning the elections. Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican big gun, blasted the Democrats and the President-elect for their divisive politics. Right after the impeachment vote, he went on Fox News and ripped the democrats to shreds for impeaching the President who has almost only a week left in office. The toxic world of American politics playing in front of us in all its candor. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnel –in a memo released to the Post told his colleagues that the articles of impeachment won’t reach the Senate for debate until after the President-elect is inaugurated, in which case it will be a bad spectacle at best and oxymoronic at worst for the Joe Biden’s message of healing and unity if the Senate engages in a trial of the outgoing President. Lindsey Graham reiterated that the Republicans will not allow the trial to begin in the Senate until after January the 19th. The GOP Leader and Chairman of the GOP caucus have strongly urged the Democrats to not impeach the outgoing President who has only nine days left in his presidency. So what do we make of this conundrum? Are the Republican playing good cop and bad cop? And if so, then to what ends? The long answer is that this is an effort to save the Party from Trump. A person who has shown that he will not shy away from destroying the GOP if that bolsters his personal standing as happened in the elections in Georgia. The short answer is that we will know what Republicans are thinking once Mitch McConnel votes in the senate trial.
The Republican concern vis-a-vis the impeachment while only a week remains in the presidency is a valid one, and the Democrats have told their colleagues that they are merely following the precedent set by the Republicans when they confirmed a SC nominee eight days before the 2020 elections. Nowhere else does the venomous nature of American politics comes to life as spartanly as when a President is trying to fill a vacant Supreme Court justices’ seat. For instance, in 2015 when the then President Obama tried to nominate Merrick Garland as a SCOTUS justice his nomination was rejected out of hand by the Majority Leader Mitch McConnel with such vehemence that the nominee wasn’t even given a hearing in front of the Senate as a part of tradition. The reason McConnel gave for his foolhardy behaviour was that the vacant seat shall be filled by the next President once he takes the charge of office in 2017. McConnel later dubbed his repudiation of Obama’s nominee as ‘the most consequential decision I’ve made in my career’, but he tinkered his own rule in a hypocritical about-turn when SC Justice RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) died on Sept 18, 2020 and McConnel rushed to get the conservative Judge Amy Coney Barret nominated and confirmed as the Justice of United States SC just eight days before the November the third elections. The Democrats point towards duplicity of the GOP who have filled a SCOTUS seat eight days before elections whilst at the same time have the audacity to object to impeachment happening a week before the inauguration. Perhaps Mitch McConnel learnt his lesson when the Democrats first engaged in mowing down a Justice that was nominated by the President Ronald Reagen. In 1987, Ronald Reagen nominated Judge Robert Bork to the SCOTUS. As soon as the Democrats got wind of the news they mounted a fierce attack on the judge with Senator Ted Kennedy famously saying, ‘we must destroy the Judge at all costs’. The drama that played on the TV screens in the form of congressional hearings stunned everybody where Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy essentially exterminated the Judge by attacking his character, philosophy, and everything he had ever stood for. (Since Robert Bork’s cataclysmic hearings the word “bork” is now used in English as a verb which means a brutal takedown of your opponent). McConnel was an incumbent Senator from Kentucky back then and after Robert Bork was demolished by the House Democrats he vowed to oppose the future democratic nominees just as recklessly when he said, “You (the Democrats) will live to rue this day.”
In 2004, Obama promised his voters an America that was not Red or Blue, Liberal or Conservative, Latino or Asian, but an America that was the United States of America. (Keynote Speech at DNC HQ). This was the message that he ran on in 2008. As soon as he took charge he tried to get the Country out of financial ruins of 2008 by bipartisanship. No doubt, the grapes were sour as he would soon realize. Everything that he ever proposed was opposed by the Republicans. Republicans were out for his blood everywhere even going as far as questioning whether he was born in the US. This cause to investigate Obama’s birthplace engendered into the Birther Movement. Obama was villainized for bailing out Wall Street, (read Banks responsible for 2008’s recession) he was opposed in passing health care reforms, in passing gun control reforms, in passing immigration reforms, in appointment of judges, in signing Paris Weather Treaty, and in signing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). After Republicans took over the House in 2010, he effectively governed through executive orders. His dreams of bipartisanship was dished by the ominous words of none other than Mitch McConnel when he said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…” and the modus operandi for which was to stall his ability to govern.
As soon as Trump came to power he did away with whatever reforms Obama had enacted. He hastily tried to chip away at Obamacare, he repealed his immigration reforms .i.e DACA, pulled out of the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal) and Paris Climate Pact, and the TPP and NAFTA. Now when Biden comes to power he will re-enter or reinvigorate Obama era Treaties and reforms. American politics is basically a sisyphean process of passage and repealment of the same reforms with different names. So beset by such dire circumstances and with a shaky track record of the both parties in undermining whatever the other party stands for, the Democrats were reluctant to take on impeachment but they were caught in a straitjacket where they had to do something to look tough but at the same time to salvage whatever remained of the President-elect Biden’s message of healing and coming together. In any case, not much of what is left in American socio-political discourse is undivided; everything has been divided infinitesimally along the partisan lines of political inclination. Democrats may do anything to show that they are not in fact “going gentle into that good night” but speaking without a smidgen of highbrow they will never have the support of 17 Republican senators to remove Trump from office because getting the support of a handful American senators would entail chipping away the very fabric of American society. It’s like tribalism.
Perhaps, it’s about time that American leaders quit virtue signalling by telling everybody how the world looks up to American values and ideals and address the deep division in their polity’s socio-political life.
The rest of the world is tired of their double-speak and says, “Karen, E pluribus unum is dead, and you need to ‘do more’ in resurrecting the E pluribus unum rather than telling us where we should do more.”