Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to flip the hourglass and put impeachment on rapid track in the House is a done deal, and now impeachment papers will reportedly be sent to the senate very soon. Majority Leader McConnell’s choice about his personal support for convicting, or merely barring him from holding office (14th amendment, section 3) is still pending as of this writing. It’s a trickier call for Republican leaders. who have to decide not if, but how they want to divide their party, in favor of the voices for moderation and dignity restoration vs. more red meat for Trump’s trogs. In any case, President-elect Biden should refrain as much as possible from even mentioning Trump’s name going forward. He should focus instead on taking charge, and putting pandemic vaccinations and economic stimulus to help working Americans front and center. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to shrink inauguration festivities even further in the name of containing pandemic exposure and enhancing security.
Now that Trump has been impeached, it’s all about Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and whether he will lead his party toward Trump’s conviction or not. As Nick Niedzwiadek notes in “McConnell says he hasn’t ruled out convicting Trump in Senate trial” at Politico, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican colleagues on Wednesday that he had yet to make up his mind on the fate of President Donald Trump, ahead of a House vote to impeach the president later in the day…..“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote in a letter.” As of this writing, it’s unclear whether McConnell is doing a media strip-tease and knows exactly what he is going to do, or if he is truly undecided, which would be understandible, consideing the consequences. It’s essentually a choice between pisssing off the energetic pro-Trump base, or restoring a semblance of credibility and dignity to his party to win back some centrist voters. It’s all about which path gives him power. Expect drama. Regardless of McConnel’s choice, Democrats should stay focused on what the Biden Admonistration should do to check the pandemic, rebuild the economy and brand Democrats as the party of all working Americans.
Some good news from the Institute of Politics Civility poll, conducted by Republican pollster and former GU Politics Fellow Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake between January 4, 2021 and January 7, 2021: “Despite deep political polarization and levels of civil and political unrest not seen in a generation, American voters are cautiously optimistic about the future of our politics, according to the most recent Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) Civility Poll…..Just one week ahead of the Biden-Harris Inauguration (with its stated theme of “America United”), more than half (56%) of Americans are at least somewhat optimistic President-Elect Joe Biden can restore civility and unity in our politics, an issue at the forefront of his campaign. A full 9 in 10 Americans (92%) want the President and Congress to work together to solve our most important problems, and 63% think President-Elect Biden and Congress will be at least somewhat successful in this effort, including 44% of Republicans….The poll asked voters to rate on a scale of 0-100 the level of political division in America, with 100 being the highest level. Asked their view of the level of division now, the mean response was 76. But when asked to consider where their view will be in one year, the mean response was 65, an improvement of more than ten points.”
One of the more interesting aspects of the Georgia senate flip is how pro-Democratic activists got fierce about challenging the state’s voter suppression practices. Sam Levine rolls it out in “They always put other barriers in place’: how Georgia activists fought off voter suppression” at The Guardian: “Suppression has become more brazen in Georgia, overcoming it has become a core part of the work that Abrams and other organizers have done to mobilize the new electorate in the state. This work is not glamorous, focused on helping new voters navigate a bureaucracy designed to make it more difficult to vote. It’s making calls to voters to ensure they know their polling place, explaining how to fill out a mail-in ballot, and making sure they aren’t wrongly purged from the voter rolls. But the multi-year investment in overcoming voting barriers significantly contributed to organizers’ success in Georgia this year.” Looking ahead, Georgia GOTV activists will face a new challenge. ” Georgia Republicans have already signaled they plan to move ahead with new restrictions on vote-by-mail after an election in which a record number of people used the process.”