The heart of the case made by House Managers was that President Donald Trump would continue to abuse his power. They said he would feel unfettered if the Senate did not convict. Republican senators did not believe them. Why? Power, and their dislike of American institutions. In fact, as of now, the party of law and order has proven to be the party of the strong man.
The irony of this moment should escape no one. Republicans sold themselves for decades as strong on crime. They keep using that to try to get elected. In fact, you may have seen this in the recent past as we get ready for elections. Yet, they gave a pass to a man who they knew was guilty. Why? It would be bad for the country, according to Senator Marco Rubio, if the president were removed by a conviction in the Senate. Or the president would learn a lesson from the process and moderate his behavior, according to Susan Collins. Let’s not start with the leadership of the party in the Senate. Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham were not even listening to the facts of the case. Partly, we now know, they are both corrupted by the same forces as the president. These are not just Russian money involved in their campaigns. It is a desire for total power, no matter what. It is the will to create a nondiverse society, a caste society.
At this point, this is no longer in any doubt. Republicans have a disdain for the same exact constitution that they claim to defend. They also do not like the idea of the American dream for a diverse middle class and have found a strong man they are willing to hitch their cart to.
The lesson that the president learned is clear. He can do whatever he wants. And now he is proving it. He kicked both Vindman brothers out of the White House. He recalled Ambassador Gordon Sondland before he could find a quiet way out. Now he is intervening in the sentencing of Roger Stone. Let’s be clear if the president wants to pardon him, he is free to do that. It is his right. But his interference, which so far has led to the resignation of four DOJ career prosecutors, and more to come, should chill you. AG William Barr even reacted to this and was critical. Whether that is an act, or he means it is immaterial at this point. Barr has done the president’s bidding and has become his Roy Cohn.
This is the most serious attack on the system since Watergate. In fact, it is a direct challenge that could end with the president not leaving the White House. He has said as much, and people should take him seriously. He is a strong man and is accelerating the take over of the nation into a one-man state.
I have written about this in the past, and I am hardly the only one to see this.
The fact that Republicans did not understand this speaks about their party and the number of assumptions they continue to make. The party of Trump is a white nationalist organization that hates diversity and the immigrant. It is clear that Trump is willing to go where all the coded language of the last fifty years wanted to go. All this is creating a serious crisis of legitimacy for American institutions.
They also hate American institutions such as the Department of Justice, or the separation of powers. Why they continue to be silent when these are under attack. Both are at the heart of the system the Founders, with all their defects, gave us. All are equal under the law until we are not. And the Congress has certain powers until it surrenders them to the president. The latter did not start with Trump but has accelerated to hyper-speed.
Strong men who are elected to office follow a well-trodden path. They start attacking institutions even before they are elected. Trump did that, and some of us warned about this in 2015. We also understood why he would be elected. They continue these attacks, and they stack the courts to favor them. All they do is legal, even if not moral. After all, they control who are the judges and the legislative body becomes a rubber stamp.
This is the moment we live in. And time is running short to reject this. Even if he loses in November, he may decide not to leave. Americans should stop thinking that any of this is not happening in the United States because it is. He may also do other things that are out of bounds because his history points to it. Be ready, chaos is the rule of the day.