While severely ailing for the last four years, The Republican Party entered its death throes and died on February 13, 2021.
With the vote for acquittal of 43 Republican U.S. Senators, in the impeachment trial of ex-president Donald J. Trump for attempting a coup d’état in a months-long effort that culminated with the Capitol Insurrection on January 6, 2021, these 43 Republican Senators blocked Trump’s conviction and disqualification from holding future federal office.
They did so on the flimsiest of legal grounds, arguing that the Senate impeachment trial was unconstitutional because, while impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” committed in office, when he was still President, the actual trial did not take place until after he left office on January 20, 2021.
This constitutional argument had been twice rejected by the full Senate, which under the Constitution has the sole authority to determine how it will proceed in impeachment cases.
Consequently, not only did the 43 Republican Senators violate their oaths of office and their oaths to do impartial justice in the impeachment trial, but they also violated the Constitution’s pprovision that the Senate is the sole arbiter of how it should proceed in an impeachment case, and the decion on constitutionality the Senate reached in exercising that power.
Wholly aside from this Senate’s determination that the impeachment trial of Trump was constitutional, despite the fact that he was no longer in office, the constitutional argument itself is wholly without merit.
The overwhelming body of scholarly opinion, and a Senate precedent in 1868 completely refute the argument.
The fallacious argument of unconstitutionality in no way provides a defense or an excuse for the violations of their oaths of pffice and their oaths to serve as impartial jurors, or their violation if the Senate’s own rules and its determination that the current trial proceeding was constitutional.
These 43 Republican Senators, like the remaining 57 Senators, were constitutionally bound to weigh the charges and the evidence before tem in deciding whether to convict or acquit Donald Trump for inciting insurrection, “high crimes and misdemeanors” of the highest order.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a statement after the vote, sought to offer cover for himself and the other Republican Senators who voted to acquit, by justifying his vote on the fallacious and rejected argument that the trial was unconstitutional.
Journalists have been too intellectually lazy to understand and report these details. Instead, they glibly write that Republican Senators who voted to acquit Trump justified their actions on a “technicality”.
Far from being a “technicality”, the bad-faith argument these apologists for Trump used to try to hide their craven cowardice involved fundamental precepts of the Constitution, including binding Senate determinations of whether the trial was constitutional or not.
Their votes of acquittal, in fact, constituted bad-faith violations of their oaths of office and their oaths to be impartial jurors, and their legal obligation to comply with the rules and determinations of the Senate on matters of constitutionality.
Journalists owe us, and the country, more than glibly passing over these facts by misleadingly reducing the issues to a mere “technicality”. A mere “technicality” sounds like a defensible ground. The argument of unconstitutionality was wholly indefensible. It represented a fundamental rupture with the Rule of Law.
McConnell also argued, persuasively, that Donald Trump remains subject to being held accountable for his actions in the regular courts of criminal and civil justice.
It is highly likely that Trump will be criminally prosecuted, and convicted, for many of the crimes he committed while in office, including his conspiracy to launch a coup d’état and his incitement of insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Despite McConnell’s and other Senators’ efforts to evade responsibilty for failing to uphold the Constitution and defend the Republic, the date of February 13, 2021 is likely to mark the death of the Republican Party.
There will be time to commemorate the achievements of the Republican Party since 1854, including the brilliant role played by Abraham Lincoln in saving the Union during the Civil War, and outlawing slavery, and some of the accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt.
This article is simply a Death Notice, not a full Obituary.
But if we look at the remnants of the Republican Party today, what we see is a party full of sycophants and abject followers of a fascist Leader, a false god who has created a cult of idolatrous followers, and who through fear has subjected others to his absolute will.
The former Republican Party has become the Party of Donald Trump, a fascist party built on lies, massive propaganda, and delusions. It has become the party of the enemies of American democracy.
As we wrote recently, this Republican Party of Trump has become a cancer on the American body politic.
“The Republican cancer on the American body politic,” The Trenchant Observer, February 12, 2021.
While advocates and supporters of American democracy may have lost a battle on February 13, 2021, they must now steel themselves for an all-out war against American fascism as reprented by the Republican Party, the false god Donald Trump, and all of his idolaters and apologists.
Although the House Impeachment Managers lost their case for conviction in the Senate, they put forth a brilliant case, which convinced 57 of the 100 Senators to vote to impeach Trump.
Now, the battle must be taken to the court of public opinion, and to the polls in 1922, 1924, 1926, and beyond.
The Trenchant Observer