Beggars Would Ride

If there had been an impeachment hearing on January 7, 2021, I do not doubt that Donald Trump would not only have been the first president impeached twice–of course, that’s still true–but also the first president removed from office by Congress. As you can see from my blog post on January 6, I believed that Trump’s dereliction of duties necessitated his immediate removal from office. I had also hoped rank and file members of the Republican party would come to grips with the forces they unleashed by enabling Trump, and purge their membership of officials who endangered democracy by repeating idiotic conspiracy theories about the election.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Yesterday’s vote to dismiss the Senate’s second impeachment hearings failed by a 55-45 margin, which means that Democrats need at least 12 more votes for this trial to be a success. If you see that happening, I have a bridge in Tibbee to sell you.

What will happen instead is that the trial will consume at least a week’s worth of testimony, and a final vote will fall largely along party lines. It doesn’t matter what Trump and his minions said. It doesn’t matter that they incited a riot. The political will to punish him has faded with the passage of time. Former majority leader Mitch McConnell knew this when he insisted that the trial take place after the inauguration. He could temporarily wash his hands of Trump, wait, then use a lengthy trial to blame Democrats for slowing down the “real” work of government.

Although I love a symbolic gesture in fiction, I also know that symbolic gestures mark the last heroic moments of defeated people. Putting Trump on trial amounts to another symbolic gesture from Democrats. Bringing Trump to Washington to put him on trial is like punishing a gator by throwing him in the swamp. It may feel good for a minute, but the gator’s the reall winner. Trump will be in the limelight again. He will love it. His believers will, too, and they’ll be louder than ever as they come to his defense. Unless Democrats know they have 67 votes before the trial begins, they should outflank McConnell’s clever obstruction by bringing the trial to a close quickly so they can deal with legislation that matters.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

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4 Responses to Beggars Would Ride

  1. Mackenzie Knighten says:

    I do believe that the Republicans are simply trying to string the Democrats along. Without question this trial should of taken place as soon as the crime was committed so that full repercussions and punishments could be put into place. The republicans are waiting so that emotions can die down and they can handle the situation without everyone down their throats about doing what is obviously right, impeaching him. I believe that Republicans want it this late so that they can play victim and somehow turn these violent rioters in true American patriots that only wanted a fair and honest late. Please spare me the lies. I am sick and tired of these despicable Republicans playing both sides. When Trump was making claims about the election being rigged, before the election was even called, Republicans were right along with him making claims about not trusting the election. When it was announced that he had lost the presidential election, Republicans were supporting Trump’s decision to have states’ votes recounted. After it was proven that he had indeed lost, they supported him in his efforts of suing states. They supported any radical idea that came to his mind, but when the capitol was stormed they wanted to play clueless and hurt by the attack on democracy. Please spare me the lies. Now weeks later they want to forget about the impeachment so that they can focus on matters that are relevant. I do believe Democrats need to hurry and put this trial to a close so that they can focus on legislatives, but Donald Trump’s trial should not be regarded as an unimportant matter. He still needs to be convicted because the legacy he leaves, good or bad, will always be relevant.

  2. Annemarie Coatney says:

    Moving the trial to after Biden’s inauguration was a monumental mistake. The momentum from the riot will have time to die down, meaning that any attempt to wrongly down-play the severity of the riot will be easier. The Republicans will also gain the advantage of being able to say Congress cannot impeach a former president, for which there is no precedent, no matter how rightly it is deserved. This mistake does not negate the necessity of a continued trial and ever effort towards conviction. Allowing a president to get away with inciting a riot that put the lives of civil servants and rightful democratic processes in peril will set a dangerous precedent. It sends a message that such actions will only be denounced through speeches and not through meaningful action. After allowing him to get away with all that he has, this is the last chance to punish him for his wrong-doing and prevent him from ever again holding public office. Hopefully, it will give at least a small portion of his former Republican supporters the chance to renounce their affiliation with him officially. It won’t make up for the damage he has done and it won’t quell his supports, but hopefully it will, in some small way, prove to everyone else that something can be done to ensure the safety of democracy beyond waiting for a term hour-glass to run out. Afterwards, the sitting president can do what Trump hasn’t: help to improve, unite, and progress the United States democracy.

  3. Madison Skye Flowers says:

    Although I am late, I do believe pushing Trump’s trial back was strategically planned. Moving the trial to after Biden’s inauguration gave the Republican party an upper hand in this situation. As days went by, the emotions behind the historic capitol riot subsided. In agreeance with Annemarie, the Republicans did have the advantage in saying Trump could not be impeached because he was no longer President. Therefore, he would be let off the hook with no consequences. Honestly, this is not surprising to me in the slightest. Former President Trump served a term of pure chaos with absolutely no serious consequences for any of his actions. However, I hope January 6, 2021 was a turning point for some supporters of the Trump administration. Trump’s whole campaign was rooted in making America “great” again. Someone who truly wanted to make the nation great would not encourage the incitement of violence in one of the nation’s most valued and governed pieces of property. I hope in the next 4 years under the Biden-Harris administration we are able to move forward towards a peaceful, united democracy.

  4. Madison Flowers says:

    Although I am late, I do believe pushing Trump’s trial back was strategically planned. Moving the trial to after Biden’s inauguration gave the Republican party an upper hand in this situation. As days went by, the emotions behind the historic capitol riot subsided. In agreeance with Annemarie, the Republicans did have the advantage in saying Trump could not be impeached because he was no longer President. Therefore, he would be let off the hook with no consequences. Honestly, this is not surprising to me in the slightest. Former President Trump served a term of pure chaos with absolutely no serious consequences for any of his actions. However, I hope January 6, 2021 was a turning point for some supporters of the Trump administration. Trump’s whole campaign was rooted in making America “great” again. Someone who truly wanted to make the nation great would not encourage the incitement of violence in one of the nation’s most valued and governed pieces of property. I hope in the next 4 years under the Biden-Harris administration we are able to move forward towards a peaceful, united democracy.

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