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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP, a.k.a. ‘the Cop Killers Caucus’ Bets on Public Apathy, Amnesia

MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, has taken to calling the G.O.P. “the cop-killers caucus.” Harsh, yes, but it’s fair insofar as the likely acquittal of Trump will give a free pass to the primary instigator of the vicious riot that took the lives of a capitol policeman, Brian Sicknick. Two others, Howard Liebengood and Jeffery Smith dies by suicide in the wake of the riot.

So much for the “Blue Lives mattter” mantra of Republicans who profess to be champions of the police who risk their lives to protect the public — and members of congress.

Every Republican Senator knows Trump instigated the treasonous riot at the capitol. Every Repubican knows that the riot would not have happened and the seven lives would not have been lost without Trump’s agitation. Yet, if more than 10 of 50 Republican Senators vote to hold Trump accountable, it will be a surprise.

The impeachment managers did an outstanding job of presenting the case against Trump. As E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, summing up their work:

The House impeachment managers moved efficiently on Wednesday to close off the escape hatches and back doors for Senate Republicans. Quietly but passionately, they put the lie to the sham alibis that weak and cowardly members of the GOP are likely to invoke if they decide to do Donald Trump’s bidding one more time.

Those who vote to acquit the former president will now own it all: The incendiary speech that made the nation’s capital a killing ground but also the months of incitement and lying that built up to the violence.

They will own the threats against elected officials who refused to cheat on Trump’s behalf, the attacks on Black voters in big cities, and the savage mendacity of his all-caps tweets. Voting to acquit will mean joining in Trump’s rejection of the democratic obligation to accept the outcome of a free election and in his declarations even before the voting began that this was a “rigged” and “stolen” contest.

Dionne adds that “Importantly, the managers showed how Trump’s criminality involved not just whipping up the shameful, quasi-fascist violence (although that alone would justify conviction) but also his attacks on the entire democratic process, an argument carried by Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif). “He had absolutely no support for his claims,” Swalwell said. “But that wasn’t the point. He wanted to make his base angrier and angrier. And to make them angry, he was willing to say anything.” Dionne concludes,

This is why we will owe a debt to the House impeachment managers for many years to come. They have created an indisputable record. They catalogued lie after lie about the election’s outcome. They laid out Trump’s long history of promoting political violence, including his praise, shortly before the attack on the Capitol, for Rudolph W. Giuliani, right after his lawyer had called for “trial by combat.”

The punditry says that fewer than 10 Republican Senators are likely to vote for Trump’s conviction. This will be an outrage, a sign that a once great party has surrendered to craven opportunism or, worse, brutal authoritarianism. But thanks to the work of the impeachment managers, the country will know how spineless the party has become.

The Democratic impeachment managers showed Americans that one party is doing its job with impressive thoroughness and commitment. Those Republicans who will vote to acquit will be placing a cynical bet that most voters either don’t care or will forget their cowardice and hypocrisy in time for the next election. The job of Democrats is to prove them wrong.

3 comments on “GOP, a.k.a. ‘the Cop Killers Caucus’ Bets on Public Apathy, Amnesia

  1. Victor on

    I watched the half hour presentation from the VI Delegate and quickly got bored. Also think the framing doesn’t hit the spot.

    Democrats insist on talking about Trump, Trump, Trump. Trying to tie his words to the actions of other people won’t work enough against the GOP.

    The obsession over the security of people like Romney or Pence also doesn’t work.

    You need to tie the GOP to disorder and general anti-democratic attitudes.

    For this you need to go beyond impeachment.

    For example, Democrats could bring up a stand alone Capitol reconstruction and security bill.

    The costs of defending democracy and order need to be part of the conversation in concrete ways.

    Domestic terrorism is a framework that will be too polarizing. If the purpose is to divide the GOP you need to give an out to the moderates.

    • Victor on

      Democrats are treating the impeachment proceedings as if they were a criminal trial.

      In a criminal trial they could argue that what matters is that a reasonable person would objectively believe there is a direct link between Trump’s words and the actions of his supporters. And this would be enough legally without too much regard to Trump’s own particular states of mind.

      On the political front this won’t work and probably shouldn’t work ethically.

      It won’t work politically with the right because Republicans don’t respond to appeals to abstract “logic” or to treat others as they would like to be treated, much less treat others with compassion. They see those as signs of weakness or unearned generosity.

      It probably shouldn’t work ethically because this would open the doors for the left’s leaders to also be accused for the actions of on the ground supporters without regard to the motives of leaders of movements.

      Democrats think the impeachment trial evidence is mostly self-explanatory.

      Their videos suck even if they make one mad for the destruction of the Capitol and attacks on law enforcement.

      But the rioters are not the ones on trial. Trump and Republicans in general are.

  2. Martin Lawford on

    ” Those Republicans who will vote to acquit will be placing a cynical bet that most voters either don’t care or will forget their cowardness and hypocrisy in time for the next election. The job of Democrats is to prove them wrong.” It will be hard to prove them wrong if they are right.


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