It has been one week since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions. The evidence pointing to abuse of power is shocking, yet impeachment ultimately comes down to the will of the president’s party. Kayla Glaraton writes on the death of the current Republican Party.
House Democrats are moving fast in their investigations. Subpoenas have already been issued to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. The speed is not surprising, given the questionable remarks Trump said in the infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The release of the transcript, like former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, did little to damage Trump’s image. His words would be more shocking coming from any other president, except perhaps Richard Nixon. Even though asking another world leader, “to do us a favor,” is clearly an abuse of power, it is not hard to imagine Trump asking that.
Trump will not be hurt by any of this, unless he is removed. The Republican Party, however, will be damaged. Whether it is to their credibility or their power is entirely up to them. No Republican representative currently supports the impeachment inquiry. In the Senate, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is the only Republican to likely support impeachment.
The Republican Party is Becoming the Trump Party
The Republican Party is not just old, racist white guys. That is an unfair generalization of a significant portion of the country. However, they are not the party they once were. They, like the Democratic Party and all major institutions, have changed throughout the years.
Great American leaders have come from the Republican Party. They even have good reason to claim that America’s greatest president was a Republican. I am, of course, talking about Abraham Lincoln, who consistently tops surveys asking who was the greatest presiden..
However, the party is becoming known not for championing less government and greater respect for tradition. It is instead becoming defined by hate and fear. While small factions of the Republican base have always been fueled by racism or bigotry, it has never before so openly lead the whole party.
Donald Trump is an insecure, crude, amoral person. He has demonstrated no respect for our laws and traditions. The Republican Party has branded itself as the party that respects the rules laid out in the Constitution. Now, they risk either losing their grip on the White House or not upholding their constitutional duty.
Whether they intended it or not, the Trump era has changed the Republican Party indefinitely. Because the president does not believe in climate change and denounces science, the party has come to stand for that. As the leader and posterboy of conservatism in America, Trump has destroyed the former Republican Party’s image and reshaped it in voters’ minds to his own.
Republicans are Jumping Ship
It is rare for a politician to speak ill of the president when they are both of the same party, unless they have committed an utterly egregious crime. The confidence in Trump still felt by the base is obvious. Despite three Republican challengers to his reelection bid, several states have begun canceling their 2020 primaries or caucuses.
Not every Republican politician supports Trump, however, and some have left the party altogether. The frustration and lack of blind love for Trump from his own party matters because it reflects the reality that Trump, like his predecessors, does not have the support of every Republican-leaning citizen.
Andy McKean has served the people of Iowa at the state level for nearly 30 years. A lifelong Republican, McKean announced earlier this year that he would leave the party and run as a Democrat in 2020. “If this is the new normal, I want no part of it,” he said.
Former Rep. Charles Djou (R-HI) left the party last year. Both McKean and Djou expressed disappointment at the lack of condemnation from other Republicans about what they called Trump’s juvenile behavior. Thirty years ago, the face of their party was former President George H.W. Bush, a man of faith and dignity. Trump is neither of those things.
Is Country over Party Gone?
Every politician, Democrat and Republican, should serve the nation’s interests first. The rule of country over party, however, is gone in today’s political climate. People who still strive for bipartisanship are seen as part of the old guard or lost in the past.
The last true act that placed the country’s needs over party victory came from the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). For years, Republicans campaigned on the promise to repeal Obamacare the first chance they got. In 2017, that opportunity came and ultimately failed because of McCain. He chose to vote no, taking away a Republican victory, because he recognized that it was not in the nation’s best interests.
Trump will only be removed through impeachment when Republicans gain enough courage to take back their party. Although the party as it existed 20 years ago will not survive, they can still retain their credibility and honor. This will require them to firmly condemn his hate-filled speeches and abusive actions.
If an impeachment trial were to happen, every Republican senator would need to choose between party loyalty and national loyalty. Rumors have been going around Washington that Trump would be voted out by the Senate, but only if it were a secret vote.
If the evidence points to a high crime or misdemeanor, the president, regardless of party, should be removed. It should not matter if the vote is public. Political courage does not have to be a relic of the past. It is high time for Republicans to decide if they want to be remembered for their courage or their cowardice.