By Carter Hanson, Columnist
And now, as the lilting rhetoric of Adam Schiff fades into the monotony, Lisa Murkowski has determined she will vote against including new witnesses and documents in the Senate Impeachment Trial. Though the verdict of the Trump Trial may not be released until next week, this almost surely dooms impeachment. This outcome is not unexpected, but it was not until Murkowski declined new evidence that the hopelessness and severity of a Trump acquittal truly dawned on me.
I first began to really understand the severity of the impeachment inquiry in September, when the whistleblower complaint (that Trump had been withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors) became public. Soon after, the story of William Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, captured me; he testified that Trump had pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate his political opponents by withholding congressionally-allocated foreign aid illegally. That was the point when I realized the extent of Trump’s crimes, and the truth that he deserved to be removed from office for them.
To withhold foreign aid from Ukraine has real-world consequences. First, it hurt the Ukrainian people who needed the foreign aid in their ongoing conflict with Russian forces and Russian-aligned partisans in Eastern Ukraine; this is in the United States’ humanitarian, political, and military interests. Second, it hurt the American taxpayer, as it was their money which was held hostage by Trump’s political aspirations. And third, it hurt the American democratic system: it undermined the will of Congress by misappropriating congressional-approved funds, overextended executive authority, and attacked the mandate of voters by using taxpayer money to pressure a foreign power to intervene in an election.
And, regardless of the consequences of withholding foreign aid, it is simply against the law to do so. This alone should be sufficient for impeachment.
But, apparently, it’s not. Once again, the Republican Party has put their full weight in support of Donald Trump and cannot recognize a crime worthy enough to topple him from his throne of deceitful, populist nostalgia.
These last three years have been such a ride—such a terrible, awful, remarkable, fantastical ride. The whole impeachment calamity reminds me of how crazy, chaotic, catastrophic, and destructive the entirety of the Trump era has been, and how ardently I hope it is an exception, a fluke, a mistake we grieve and do not soon forget. But every time Senators Susan Collins or Murkowski or Lamar Alexander or any other Republican politician votes against justice, common sense, or rationality, Trump’s acrimonious reach through history will be extended, to the detriment of our democratic institutions and diverse society.
What happens when one party becomes a monolith, voting unanimously to protect a president who has committed crimes? What happens when every single Republican Senator and Representative in Congress votes against impeachment?
Perhaps the Republican electorate is more diverse in opinion than their national representatives, but the simple fact is that the Republican Party has acted uniformly against justice and truth in burying impeachment, and that reality is difficult to reconcile. That there are Republicans who support impeachment does not vindicate their party, and the act of remaining a Republican, even if not explicitly endorsing the party line, pronounces that the party line is not a deal-breaker. Impeachment should be a deal-breaker.
When impeachment fails, only one option remains: Vote.
Donald Trump is a destructive force and a difficult opponent. But he is not immortal, and he is not a god or a king. This year, like any other election year, can become a blue wave, and all that needs to be done for November’s election to be a turning point is to get as many people as possible to vote.
Vote in the presidential elections. Vote in the primaries. Vote for Senate and House and state politics and local politics and get Donald Trump out of the White House. Vote because you want healthcare, because you want your neighbors to have healthcare, because you don’t want to go to war with Iran, because you want common-sense gun reform, because you don’t want to put kids in cages, because you want to revive the middle class, because climate change is real, because you don’t want a racist president, because you want a president who is not a serial liar, because you care about impeachment. Vote because you want a better nation and a better world.
Vote. Him. Out.