From Robert Reich Blog
This week's Senate trial is unlikely to convict Donald Trump of inciting sedition against the United States. At least 17 Republican senators are needed for conviction, but only five have signaled they'll go along.
Why won't Republican senators convict him? After all, it's an open and shut case. As summarized in the brief submitted by House impeachment managers, Trump spent months before the election telling his followers that the only way he could lose was through "a dangerous, wide-ranging conspiracy against them that threatened America itself."
Immediately after the election, he lied that he had won by a "landslide," and later urged his followers to stop the counting of electoral ballots by making plans to "fight like hell" and "fight to the death" against this "act of war" perpetrated by "Radical Left Democrats" and the "weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party."
If this isn't an impeachable offense, it's hard to imagine what is. But Republican senators won't convict him because they're answerable to Republican voters, and Republican voters continue to believe Trump's big lie.
A shocking three out of four Republican voters don't think Joe Biden won legitimately. About 45 percent even support the storming of the Capitol.
The crux of the problem is Americans now occupy two separate worlds -- a fact-based pro-democracy world and a Trump-based authoritarian one.
Trump spent the last four years seducing voters into his world, turning the GOP from a political party into a grotesque projection of his pathological narcissism.
Regardless of whether he is convicted, America must now deal with the monstrous predicament he left behind: One of the nation's two major political parties has abandoned reality and democracy.
What to do? Four things.
First, prevent Trump from running for president in 2024. The mere possibility energizes his followers.
An impeachment conviction is not the only way to prevent him. Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, anyone who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution is barred from holding public office if they "have engaged in insurrection" against the United States. As constitutional expert and former Yale Law professor Bruce Ackerman has noted, a majority vote that Trump engaged in insurrection against the United States is sufficient to trigger this clause.
Second, give Republicans and independents every incentive to abandon the Trump cult.
White working-class voters without college degrees who now comprise a large portion of it need good jobs and better futures. Many are understandably angry after being left behind in vast enclaves of unemployment and despair. They should not have to depend on Trump's fact-free fanaticism in order to feel visible and respected.
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