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Convict Impeached Trump

Tomorrow the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins. There are many things that Donald Trump should have been impeached for during his term for which he will tragically never be held accountable. All of the greed and hatred and incompetence and racism, somehow seem to be going unpunished, in a further blow to the concept of justice. But sometimes, even seemingly untouchable madmen like Trump go to far, and perhaps he will finally be held accountable for a sliver of his crimes.

Trump is accused of helping to undermine the integrity of our elections, and to incite a riot among his supporters, in an attempted coup. In this effort he was aided by his many vile followers who physically stormed the capital with murder on their lips and also by numerous Republican lawmakers who gas-lit their constituents, and attempted a legislative coup in concert with the violent one outside. The authoritarian rot within our country is clearly very deep and extends beyond just one man. That is why this impeachment is important, we must make sure there is a precedent, that history records our government and our people will not tolerate those who abuse their power in an attempt to steal our democracy.

In spite of the importance of the moment, there are already signs that the Republicans will stand by Donald Trump in lock step, even in the face of the sedition. We know this because the Republican party is still by and large behind Trump and they are much more concerned with wielding power and trying to shape the country in their own vision than in participating in democracy. So we find ourselves in a situation where once again Donald Trump may be acquitted by the Republican party, who through their actions will rubber stamp his sedition.

Even if this all plays out as described above, this impeachment trial is not a useless exercise, and this is where the Democrats already appear to be making their first mistake. Principally, an impeachment is a political process, and by that we mean the spectacle it is about making clear to the American people through this process what crimes Trump has committed, and why this type of behavior cannot be allowed. One of the major mistakes the Democrats are making is choosing to hold the trial quickly and without witnesses. This is extremely foolish. This trial is an area where the Democrats could repeatedly bludgeon the Republican party over and over, making it incredibly costly through witness testimony and prime time coverage for Republicans as they try to navigate the civil war in their own party.

Instead, it appears that the Democrats will not be calling witnesses, and will not overall be making the effort that they need to in order to tie the Republicans to Trump. If they played this right, Republicans would be a trouble no matter which way they voted on impeachment: either punished by their base for betraying Trump, or rejected by the electorate at large for letting this traitorous behavior stand.

There is still the possibility for accountability and a truly new chapter in American politics, but it requires the Democrats to play hardball, and really lean into the spectacle of the impeachment trial. Let us encourage our Senators to vote in favor of impeachment, but let us also encourage them to make this the big news story it is! Donald Trump is a traitorous ex-president who attempted to overthrow the American government and murder his political opponents, if we drop the ball and don’t hold him accountable, we are setting the table for the next authoritarian president and next time we may not be so lucky as to stop the coup.

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