GOP free fall opens progressive doors—rethug acquittal confirms party bankruptcy

The Senate trial could not have turned out better for anti-Trump forces—and more damaging for defenders of the Misfit-in-chief.

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Image Credit: FiveThirtyEight

Senate “loss” a big win: Party heads should stamp huge A’s on cowardly chests.

Last Saturday, the Big Lie Trumpist dinosaur took a body blow, all appearances to the contrary. Zero “vindication” makes Trump propaganda pitching a comeback even more laughable than his original joke candidacy. Staggered by the pandemic disgrace, an unemployment surge, an election debacle followed by insane, contagious lying, Trump looks permanently wounded. Clearly, the spotlight shifts to disgraced fellow dinosaurs who compounded Trump’s treasonous insurrection call with their own Not Guilty insurrection against the Constitution. Guilt by association was never more fitting – and not without electoral impact. Both impeachments do qualify as “witch hunts” because they targeted the sleaziest, most damaging sludge in politics.

By letting Trump get away with murder, any of the 43 Acquitters with presumption to national candidacies shot themselves in the head. All 43 deserve to wear large letter A’s on their lily-livered breasts: Acquittal will come to represent the immorality of Adultery in bygone eras. Does anyone think that the complicit Rethug party, tainted by the bullying, black mail and corruption of the Ukraine-driven impeachment, won’t sink further, aptly branded the “Party of Violent Insurrection against the Capitol” (PVIC)? The GOP deservedly got hard-trumped and rebranded, now standing for Grifters On Parade. Hey, that’s better than Gobsmacked Oxymoronic Putzes?

Acquitters quit constitutional oaths

When 43 Acquitters are widely assailed as Constitution-betraying villains – while the seven courageous GOPers are exalted – the world lurches on its axis. Did you hear that tens of thousands of Republicans abandoned the party since Jan. 6? Or how many state election officials disowned the Great Inciter? With more to come. In three months Trump won’t match the 43% in approvals, readily indicted by the court of public opinion. When 43 oath-deniers shielded a president, held above the law, they exposed themselves as being above the law. Guilt by association matters in politics, and perpetual Teflon is non-existent.

Who among the deranged Conspiracy Caucus hogtied to Trumpism, like hapless Mike Pence, has improved his chances as a national candidate in four years? Not Cruz, Hawley, or Rubio, caught by their own marvelous boomerang. Which co-conspirator added any sane, centrist voters to his column? Who did anything but chain themselves to a doomed, desperate wreck vulnerable to capsize? Without rightwing donors or corporate/Trumpian CEOs (anxious about justified boycotts) or savvy pols like Nicky Haley (who exiled Trump this week), no Acquitter acquitted themselves in glory.

Is there no death rattle from a party scoffing at this simple truth: in a democracy no one is above the law? All else is noise. House impeachments managers delivered a hat trick, aptly commandeering the facts and the law and the Constitution. Even by their own selfish logic (deflect the rabid base), Republican lackeys disgraced themselves and handed to Democrats the greatest election cudgel in modern times. Just keep saying, “These anti-Americans stand with violent insurrectionists and the Insurrectionist-in-Chief.”

Suicide is never painless, and the entire four year dynamic is reset, thanks to the terrors of Jan. 6 and the infamy of Feb. 13. Further, if Rethugs stay fragmented, then President Biden will have fewer obstacles when reversing the Trumpist horror show. How can divided Republicans mount their normal, scurrilous assaults against the more unified Democrats? That augurs for progressive gains from this administration many of us didn’t anticipate three months ago.

The Gospel of self-destruction

Some friends erupted in anger when enough senators (again) let Trump escape another noose. Take the long game. Two changes must occur for a new Progressive Era: first, the authoritarian stranglehold must be broken (in process). Second, the Democratic Party benefits from a more open field, and more progressive officials, relearning to serve the vast majority, especially the ailing, the underemployed and those in need of health care and basic needs.

Thus, I argue Conviction would have been much better for the right, readily cutting ties from the toxic Trump albatross. The last four years demonstrate what happens when a desperate party, filled with contradictions and immense demographic pressures, embraces a Hail Mary presidency that first falls flat on its face, then gleefully takes down the Rethug hegemony.

Hail, Donald the Disrupter, you pulled off a long shot: with cynical scheming, you blew apart the Republican Party, bringing about a circular firing squad compounded by a party in moral shambles. Thus immediately did the party head (Moscow Mitch, thanks to a potent, post-acquittal Trump evisceration) lock horns with the loony, Trump Forever Conspiracy Caucus (Lindsey Graham et al, still boosting Trump as party savior). All the deplorables deserve each other. Trial of combat, bring it on!

So much for moral high ground

I posit the Senate trial could not have turned out better for anti-Trump forces – and more damaging for defenders of the Misfit-in-chief. The Trump presidency stands alone, with its never-ending bottom – and, who knows, what other incitations to insurrection loom. With his opening joke candidacy, weird election, then double impeachments (the absolute logical extensions of act one), Trump not only kidnapped the GOP but corrupted it – just as he did the country. It’s a remarkable, unrepeatable episode. Banished for the decade is any rightwing moral high ground, indeed Rethugs must strongly counter indictments as morally bankrupt. If permanent obstruction of government operations, especially during double crises last Spring, were not immoral enough, that the disgrace of the Second Impeachment cements the case.

In fact, Rethugs were cornered from the start by this second impeachment. If they convicted, then one-third of the Trump base abandons the party. That guarantees minority status, whatever party patches they concoct. As they acquitted, they alienated all but the true believers – a total far short for electing a president (or some red-state senators). Impeachment was brilliantly executed, boxing in Trump, McConnell, Cruz, Hawley and scoundrels galore. Plus, added to two senate retirements (PA and OH), Republicans like Alaska’s Murkowski and Nebraska’s Sasse face unknowable but significant state backlashes. For me, impeachment produced a rout that leaves the Rethug Party mangled as a national party. And guess who deserves all our thanks? An ex-president rightly facing years of serious, expensive legal entanglements. Justice, poetic and otherwise. Wasn’t a second impeachment a wonderful thing for public enlightenment about how government should work? Is a third impeachment the charm? No problem finding evidence, me thinks.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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