The Impeachment Motion against @realdonaldtrump, against him as @POTUS, now on, in the Senate of the US Congress, is a complete exercise in futility, as it appears to be headed in that direction and that direction alone. To those who have closely followed the ascension of Donald J Trump, as Republican Party candidate in 2016 US Presidential elections, this was coming, and coming for sure. Candidate Trump was a precursor to the chaotic Presidency, the world is now a witness to.
Trump was largely expected to be trumped by Hillary Clinton, who may have become the first woman to occupy the office, in over 240 years of US of A, in the oldest democracy. That was not to be, as Trump beat all odds and despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, by 3 million votes, assumed the mantle, thanks to the queer Electoral College doorway, in the US Constitution. Curiously, it has enabled only Republicans to trip the Democrats, as happened when George Bush cleared the hurdle over Al Gore in 2000, as well.
Pollsters got it all wrong. Academicians were horrified how they were all trumped. Media was exposed as having been completely out of sync with ground reality. Research is continuing even to this day, and may go beyond Trump’s Presidency as well. Tomes have been written as to how a candidate of Trump’s genre, even became the conservative a.k.a. Republican Party candidate. He was anathema to family values and his language was coarse, vulgar and anything but diplomatic, as the Hollywood tapes, audio and video, disclosed vividly, during the elections. The prurient language and display of Candidate Trump, had little or no impact on his base.
No matter what, Donald J Trump assumed office on Jan, 20, 2017 and thus began his disrupting influence, on the world at large. Only an old lady voter from Michigan got it right on how/why Trump became the President, against the run of play. “You have all got it wrong. While you took Trump literally and not seriously, we took him seriously, not literally”. She was absolutely spot on. If Trump was taken on his words during the campaign, no one just no one would have taken him as a serious candidate. The expectation was that he was on campaign trail, knowing fully well, he was unlikely to win. And that his candidature and exposure would skyrocket the reality TV star of Apprentice fame, in his status as a real estate moghul, with business interests in India too.
And those that joined him in the administration, the more serious ones were appalled and left one by one. Some went to jail, as convicted, and several face indictment. It is a historic fact that so many so close to White House are on trial, for all their misconduct and misdemeanours, including those associated with his campaign. Trump sought absolute loyalty from those around him and his administration, as if on cue on fealty. And when James Comey, FBI chief, could not offer The Higher Loyalty (James Comey’s recent book), he was fired by a Tweet and the FBI Chief learnt of his removal, on the idiot box. And those in responsible positions in the White House administration, were on a revolving door retinue, with Secretary of State, White House Counsel, Defence Secretary, the whole works, in change overs. The administration has not settled down despite three years into it.
The world was aghast that this was Trump’s promise in action, to Make America Great Again.
And when Robert Mueller, former FBI Chief was appointed to investigate the Trump campaign-Russian electoral connect, Trump dismissed it as a “Witch Hunt”. And the report despite delivering many a smoking gun, fell flat, as it did not gain any traction, or the kind the Democrts were dreaming of. Mueller Report became a damp squib despite the substantive proof on record of ‘collusion’ (yet not legally a conspiracy) and 10 recorded instances of obstructions of justice. Trump’s handpicked crony in the Attorney General William Barr helped Trump blunt the Mueller findings, with his own personalised takes on the conclusions, enabling @ POTUS to call it a ‘complete exoneration’, which it was not, to those who cared to read the over 400 pages dynamite.
Typical of his Presidency, a day after the testimony of Robert Mueller before Congress, Trump made the ‘perfect call’ to Ukraine President Mr. Zelensky to seek announcement of an investigation into the Bidens (Jo Biden- Democratic party’s primary candidate and his son Hunter Biden, who became a member of an oil major Burisma Board in Ukraine, during the Barack Obama Presidency and Jo Biden Vice Presidency).
The reluctant and hesitant Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was persuaded to launch the Impeachment Motion, and the House of Representatives have upheld the Impeachment Motion, of Donald John Trump, as POTUS, on two counts of ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of Congress’. Publicly, Trump and his minions admitted that there was a ‘disturbing call’, and withholding of financial aid of $390 million to Ukraine, seeking a quid pro quo of an announcement of investigation into Bidens. But, they did not care, for Trump was a ‘different kind of President’. And anyway, the foreign aid got delivered to Ukraine and no investigation also announced against the Bidens. So, what pray, was the crime, they responded in unison. ‘In Unison’, that is the criticality, that has come to the fore, helped Trump stand his ground amidst the upheavals all around him.
Trump’s Republican party is now a cult organisation. Not a political party, the pundits say. The lawmakers owe personal allegiance to the uncoronated King. They are all under fear of a tweetstorm and face the wrath and ire of Donald Trump, which can be unleashed on them, by his loyal Base. The Base, typified by the old lady voter form Michigan, alluded to above, has been unwavering in its support. The support base for Trump has remained immanent and unmoving from the day, he became the official Republican party candidate for Presidency.
The Base has not budged an inch. They have not cared for the crimes and misconduct alleged against their leader. They have stuck to him leech like and are not leaving him even come Nov, 2020 second term elections .In fact, the strong support from Trump’s base has energised him to assume and insist on absolute loyalty from the lawmakers in the House and more particularly from the Senate, where he has the majority of 53 votes. If anything, the Base’ support has solidified and concretised behind Trump, aided 24×7 by @FoxNews and #FoxAndFriends, which feeds into the Base, and from it for Trump to reign and rule a cult hero.
The Democrats moved 11 amendments for introduction of further evidence in Senate Trial, and each one of them got nixed. The Republicans even taunted: why the Democrats were moving them all, one by one, and wasting time, can’t they move them all and more, in one go, as rejecting them was the consistent Republican credo. The Trump acolytes stand dumb in the Senate proceedings, having made up their mind already to bring the Impeachment proceedings to a quick close prior to the proposed annual State of the Union address by POTUS on 3rd Feb,2020.
Republicans have made it clear that they are not ready for any constitutional niceties or values, even if Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was presiding, over the Senate proceedings. Their lawyers just kept taunting the House Managers as to why they could not wait for 2020 elections and seek fresh evidence now. Republicans’ and their protagonists have made it clear that it was for the Democrats to prove their charges and there will be no quarter or help from Whites House or from elsewhere. Oral/documentary evidence will not be produced and Executive Privilege of the President will be invoked, if need be, to thwart any subpoenas for it.
It is a no holds barred fight. But, the Democrats are going nowhere, even with their ‘cast iron case’. In a Democracy, ultimately it is Numbers that matter. Republicans have 53 votes in the Senate, out of 100. Not one vote is flinching or getting away. Numbers matter. It alone matters. Donald John Trump and his Base have ensured that the Republican lawmakers are on tight leash. Even a few recalcitrant so called No Trumpers are under siege. They are not going anywhere for now. Trump, though impeached by the House, is sure to be ‘acquitted’ by the Senate. He simply cannot be removed as the Democrats cannot muster 67 votes (2/3rd necessary) anyway.
Donald John Trump is here to stay. He has turned the Republican party in to his family fiefdom. He has sucked the brains out of the lawmakers and made them obliged to him hook, line and sinker. The democrats know not what to do, who to turn to, what to latch on to and how to move the needle to get him out of office, as impeached and removed or even in the hustings. The Democrats are in a bind. Then why this charade? They could well have avoided seeking to impeach him and fortifying his base further. It may be sad, but that is the reality.
Democrats have convinced themselves that it was a constitutional duty they cannot ignore. It has, however, enabled them to impeach him, more and more, in the Bar of public opinion, and the Impeachment Trial has become a campaign platform to convince the American voters (who any way are so indifferent that a 45% to 50% voting percentage is a record in the US of A) in the Nov,2020, for change as We The People.
(Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan – Author is practising advocate in the Madras High Court)