From a purely pragmatic perspective, the Republicans’ continued embrace of Trump is a gift to the Democratic Party. In a simple cost/benefit analysis, Trump is now more of a liability for the Republican Party than he is an asset, but the party is saddled with the sad reality that many Republicans cannot win primaries unless they continue to support him. Not all Republican politicians may support Trump, but most of them are more worried about their election chances than they are about their personal integrity or the long-term well being of their party or country.
As we enter into Trump’s historic second Senate Impeachment Trial this week, it is readily apparent that Trump’s hold on the Republican Party will keep him from being convicted by the U.S. Senate; but it is important that the trial occurs so that we can see that 45 or so Republican Senators are willing to be on the record in their support for Trump in spite of his responsibility for inciting a violent insurrection. These Senators need to own their unwillingness to hold Trump accountable, and their names need to be etched into the annals of history as enablers of the only president in the history of the United States to incite an insurrection against the United States
One of the only things Trump did not exaggerate about himself during the last five years was his claim that his followers would stay with him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, which pales in comparison to inciting an insurrection on our democratic republic in which 5 people died (and it could have been so much worse). Add this to his violence and cruelty against immigrant and refugee families and his incompetence and malfeasance in responding to the pandemic leading to the preventable death of tens of thousands of people, and the Fifth Avenue example becomes one of Trump’s most significant understatements of his cult-like power over his followers.
So go ahead Republican Senators, continue to support Trump, make excuses for his behavior, make dubious claims about the constitutionality of the trial, and publicly own that you either are okay with Trump inciting a violent insurrection or you are too scared for your political lives to do anything about it. Either way, own that Trump owns you and that he owns your political party.
The Republican Party in its current authoritarian, white supremacist, and increasingly fascist form has needed to cease to exist for a number of years now; so go ahead Senate Republicans, put the moral bankruptcy of your party on display for all to see by failing to hold Trump responsible and by supporting the greatest attack on our democratic republic since the Civil War. Go ahead and own it – the color blue looks real good on Georgia and Arizona. Go ahead and own it, and Texas will soon go blue too. Go ahead and own it, and the Democratic Party will own power at the national level for a generation and hopefully reverse the very real damage the Republican Party has inflicted on our republic for decades. Own it.