This impeachment business has become an overwhelming saga. It’s taken all the air out of the room. Not that it isn’t warranted. It is. And will continue so for several months.
Trying to keep up with daily disclosures and the changing cast of characters is quite a job for political junkies. As the old movie posters used to say “cast of thousands.” Though I’ve kept pretty current, I’m still trying to wrap my head around two pieces of the saga. Just two.
First, why, according to polls, do some 30-million Americans continue to support Trump? Given the list of outright legal and moral atrocities he’s committed - both in office and before - why does polling still show a solid block of nearly a third of voters from the 2016 election still waving their MAGA hats?
In fact, a reliable national poll a few days ago showed 52-percent queried would still vote for him “NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES!” Fifty-two percent!!! And that wasn’t just Republicans.
As a secondary issue under that same query is yet another of even more curiosity. Given his repeated marital infidelities, payment of bribes to buy the silence of a couple dozen women, his continual lying, outrageous flaunting of “family values,” defying the constitutional requirements of his office and all his other political and moral felonies, why do the Evangelicals still back him to the hilt? Why do they - by the millions - loudly professing their adherence to a godly life and the holy teachings of Jesus Christ, stand so solidly behind him? How do they square that with their own moral beliefs?
The second confounding issue is strictly political. In last week’s vote to proceed with impeachment in the House, why did 192 Republicans - every single one - vote against the resolution laying out that process? Though some may not have meant their vote as meaningful support for Trump, there really is no other viable political reason given the public evidence so far. I’d bet a few swallowed hard. Real hard.
I know. I know. They’re bitching about the “process.” Absolutely bogus. If there’s any certainty in this whole mess it’s that Speaker Pelosi and her crew will take every precaution and run that process strictly “by-the-book.” They’ll make absolutely sure the bill of impeachment that goes to the Senate has every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed. You can bet the farm.
The reason for my consternation about last week’s vote is this. Trump has turned against dozens of people in his administration. He’s fired - or otherwise forced to quit - cabinet members, chiefs of staff, lawyers and assorted flunkies. And he’s publically vilified other staffers who - for reasons unknown - took the undeserved beatings and stayed on the job. He’s betrayed so many people he can’t find highly qualified candidates for all the openings available.
Congressional Republicans, we’re told, say in private they fear Trump will put up someone to run against them in the next GOP primaries. He’ll try to get revenge. Road apples! If some nutcase in your own primary scares you, that’s hardly sufficient cause to turn your back on the oath you swore to “uphold the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Somehow, getting into - and staying in - Congress has become more of an employment issue than a desire to undertake public service for its own sake. We’re seeing proof of that in so many ways as members of Congress bend this way and that to stay ahead of the political winds. Last week’s vote was just the most recent example.
Sooner or later, Trump will turn on any one of them. Bet on it. For example, any day now, watch Giuliani disappear under the bus. And those two Ukranian criminals? If we can keep ‘em in the country long enough for a trial, they’ll have Trump tire marks right up their backs.
Trump’s most certain trait is self-preservation. In his mind, he’ll survive even if everything goes to hell. Look at what he’s doing now. Handing out thousands of dollars to Republican senators running for re-election. Put another way, imagine the criminal on trial in your hometown, standing on the count house steps, handing out big bucks to the jurors as they file past. That’s exactly what he’s doing. Bribing the jury. Nothing more than base self-preservation.
Many Republicans standing with Trump today will be tomorrow’s bodies on the political landscape.
Evangelicals by the millions, accepting the moral degradation of someone who violates all they espouse in their own morality and Republican members of Congress who’re selling their self-respect at the foot of a false political prophet.
However this impeachment story turns out, I’ll never understand either.