The Constitution states that the Senate has the sole power to try all articles of impeachment submitted by the House, but doesn’t explicitly state that the Senate must then move forward with a trial.
By David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 24, 2019
It’s a strange time to be living in America. Our entire Constitutional structure of government appears to be at risk with Republicans abandoning long-standing congressional house rules and democratic norms, while duly-elected Congressmen actually argue that things in the Constitution are not actually there.
Trump’s Republican Party, and it’s wholly his party now, has abandoned any institutional advocacy or sense of tradition, and instead decided that the law is whatever they say it is. Obstruction. Abuse of Power. Self-Dealing. Risking National Security. These are no longer impeachable offenses, they implore, or even any big deal, but are merely partisan attacks by biter Democrats, meant to retry the 2016 election in their favor. Of course this is just a regurgitation of Trump’s long-standing defense of all his misdeeds, but the Right is good at staying on message.
The Republican Party has become largely immune to irony, especially those same Congressmen who were so demanding that Bill Clinton be held accountable for his minor, extramarital affair, claiming that the threshold for impeachment need not be criminal behavior, but based on the mere impropriety of besmirching the office of the President of the United States. They have lost any moral authority they once claimed, to hold power to account, to follow the rule of law, and to hold elected leaders to a higher standard, not a lower one.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell long ago violated his oath of office, first when he voted to change the Senate rules to push through partisan judicial nominees with a simple majority, and then did the unimaginable when he refused to even hold a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, leaving the seat vacant for a year leading up to the election. It was a gamble he won, because Trump was elected, the Republicans held the Senate and were successful in nominating two conservative, activist judges to lifelong terms, thereby strengthening their hold on power.
The Republicans continue to get bolder under the leadership of Trump as they watch as him continue to defy convention, rail at the media and boastfully flout the law. Where once politicians were held in check largely by public opinion, a watchful media, and everyday human shame, the new breed of Republicans seems to have decided that none of those things matter. Just deny everything and move forward. The news is fake. The media is corrupt. Don’t look at the man behind the curtain. We are doing this for your own good. Meanwhile, they robbing the coffers and leave a stain on the nation.
It would come as really no surprise if McConnell were to decide to bring a party-line to vote to dismiss all charges of impeachment again the President. They might decide that their futures are so tied to Trump that there is no turning back now, and they might as well keep doubling down on his ability to act without accountability. They literally have no reason to parade this in front of the nation.
Our only hope is that public hearings in the House are so disturbing to the American people that McConnell can no longer hold his party line in Obstructing justice for the American people. But it’s more likely that the Senate Republicans will go all in with Trump and then where will we be?
We’ll have a massively broken system of government with dangerous precedents set to favor the majority and further weaken the minority, very few rules of governance in place, and a Conservative Activist Supreme Court. It won’t be good. Our only course of action would be through elections, which presumably would still hold in America, but even that’s not clear.
When the authority of the Executive Branch is so wildly out of control, Congress without the will to be a check on executive power, and a Judicial Branch packed with partisan political appointees, there will be no authority left that we can turn to. There will be no higher power. No person or institution to plead our case. We will be adrift. Unmoored by greed, hubris and exceptionalism.
Trumpers argue that this is all just a big witch hunt and more partisan whining, but it’s so much more important than gaining political power or winning elections, it’s literally the future of America. That’s not hyperbole, that’s history.
If our elected representatives are not willing to uphold the law, then we are truly no longer represented in government. We will become an oligarchy where money is power, justice can be bought, and liberty is meaningless. Is all that really worth a tax cut for a few rich people?
Americans have some choices to make in upcoming elections and everything is on the line.