Many apologies for no blog yesterday. I was working on video content that I needed to get out there and by the time I had finished, I was exhausted.
So where do we begin with the impeachment trial of Donald J Trump? It's always telling when you watch the case against a defendant and it is not really adversarial. It was a simple presentation of the facts with the assistance of an extremely powerful video presentation (see above). The Impeachment Managers were articulate, to the point and well read. It was a professional presentation of the case against former President Trump. It was delivered with controlled passion, drenched in patriotism and emotion. It dismissed the 'let's move on' narrative desperately being sought by Republicans and the right wing media. It moved the focus back to the true horror of events and linked it convincingly back to Trump. It wasn't angry, it didn't appeal to the raw emotion some people felt about lawmakers being hunted down and the direct threat to the Vice President.
I think Jamie Raskin's account of events on that day, was deeply moving and spoke to the emotion of those who lived through it. He wore his heart on his sleeve and the desperate emotion from not only that day, but the tragic loss of his son to suicide, was truly thought provoking.
The GOP are trying their best to take emotion out of the equation and focus on their process argument. Call me old fashioned, but who in their camp thought that was even remotely possible? You cannot desensitise people to the horror of the events of 6 January, you simply can't do it. Trump tried to do the same with Covid 19 deaths with some success, but this was an event that was captured in real time on TV and that makes it impossible to escape.
The problem is not one of justice, it's one of politics. There is no question that the President of the United States, incited the crowd to an act of violence. Of course he can claim he had no knowledge of how the crowd would react to his words. However, that is no defence for using inflammatory language. Had a Muslim stood where he stood and made the same statement, that person would be in a black site somewhere on the other side of the world being interrogated. His language was inflammatory, as was the language of other speakers on the day. There is no doubting what he said, he's on camera doing it. You simply can't deny what people saw with their own eyes.
Were this a trial in a court of law, the defence would be focussing on mitigating circumstances, because you simply can't defend the indefensible. To say the defence was embarrassing would be an understatement. Bruce Castor, seemed to me, to be just running down the clock, it was like one of those Sunday Service sermon’s when I used to fall asleep as a kid, only to be clipped around the ear from my angry mother, telling me to wake up, Jesus was watching. As for David Schoen, at first I thought, why was he holding his head each time he had a drink of water? Was it some sort of Trump associated affliction? Trump needed two hands to drink from a bottle of water, this guy, has to hold his head on when he drinks. It turns out, it a religious thing, so I really should be more respectful. Regardless, I found myself just waiting for him to have his next drink.
Process, by its very nature is sleep inducing and Schoen took it to a whole new level. A bill of attainder is my new favourite subject of discussion. I was waiting for a 'Trump didn’t do it moment', a voiciferous attempt to defend him. Instead, we got ‘statutory text’ and cannon. I got excited at this point as I thought he was going to fire himself out of a cannon. It was a feast of textual, statutory, constitutional, disqualifications with nonsensical nonsenses and conduct construed by the interpretation of a mandatory disjunctive judicial divestment of sanity. You still with me? If you are, please consult a doctor as I’m talking as much nonsense as he did. It was a shameful blizzard of constitutional smoke rounded off with a lamentably delivered poem. I have little doubt, Amanda Gorman collapsed in tears of laughter and despair at his inept delivery. The conclusion for me was, the Impeachment Managers delivered the facts and the rebuttal was nonexistent. There was a simple effort to drown the listener with constitutional meaningless jargon. FACT, it happened. FACT, there was real incitement to violence. FACT, the only offramp the defence has, is to say there should not be a trial. Perhaps, there should be a plea bargain? Offer Trump up for criminal charges in respect of the case? I'd settle for that.
The judicial system depends on the integrity of jurors. If any of the Republican Senators were in a court of law today defending their seditious behaviour in the days before the storming of the Capitol Building, how do you think they would feel if half the jurors were wearing Ridin' with Biden caps and T-shirts? I'll let you take a moment to think about that. It's like the man who robbed the bank and killed a security guard, later to face trial, only to find half the jury was made up of his family and friends. It is ludicrous and would never happen. Yet in a chamber at the seat of democracy, where integrity and honesty should be the primary qualification to hold office, almost all Republicans will simply ignore any evidence presented and vote to acquit. It is truly shocking, but no longer surprising. A section of the jury, effectively looked everywhere but at the video evidence. They doodled, they read papers on their laps, they did anything but pay attention. The fact is, that impeachment does not require the same level of commitment to the truth, it is simply a commitment to party politics. If this were a trial for Trump having killed someone, not by orchestrating events, but be actually shooting someone, his assumption that he could get away with it, suddenly doesn't sound so stupid. The Republican position would clearly remain the same. It has exposed some extraordinary flaws in an already flawed system, where norms have been twisted beyond recognition. I would even go so far as to say, it is now barely fit for purpose.
In my humble outside objective opinion, the behaviour of the majority of Senate Republicans is morally corrupt and in breach of their oath of office. Any steps taken to curb their irresponsible behaviour, be it carrying firearms onto the floor of the House, failing to wear masks, or uphold their oath of office are simply dismissed. If anyone in their right mind thinks that the world is looking on with envy, please THINK AGAIN. The world is looking on aghast and thinking 'this is not democracy, this is not justice' How can these people be trusted with key legislative responsibility? I just can't square that circle I'm afraid.
The foundation of leadership is trust. We have to trust that our leaders will do the right thing. They are expected to stand for honour and truth, not to defend the indefensible. The reliance on money is like a tainted arterial bleed that the GOP needs to keep pumping in order to survive. The problem with any arterial bleed is, it inevitably leads to life extinct. There was no real evidence yesterday that the Trump base is really engaged in his impeachment. Polling appears to indicate that a growing number of the Americans now support Trump being convicted and barred from office. It will take a few days to assess where his base is. However, I am absolutely convinced that his lack of a social media voice is crippling for his ambitions moving forward. I am simply not buying he is a viable political proposition and without him, the GOP can't tap into the base that is slowly ebbing away.
As each day passes, I feel more and more that the future is in Joe's hands and what he does in the first three months of his presidency has the opportunity to set the Democrats up with an extended hold on power. The GOP is going to have to reinvent itself and time is not on their side. Having said that, Dems really have to be awake to State races and building a new foundation that protects their political flank. This has to be a joined up political strategy. There are well organised social media groups that are armed and ready to take the message to the people. They are committed enthusiastic and dedicated to the cause. If you listen to Republicans speak today, they honestly believe they can take both the Senate and the House in 2022. You can call that overconfidence, arrogance, or whatever you like, but dismiss them at your peril.
The White House is right to focus on their own news cycle, but they need to keep key announcements in their back pocket until the circus leaves town. Today we will get a better idea as to the comprehensive case against Trump in an impeachment context, but regardless, I think we all feel that it will be almost impossible to move the needle far enough to secure a conviction. However, there is no harm in using proceedings to fuel messaging against Republicans up for re-election.
Friday will see the launch of a project I intend to head up, that will give all those who follow @politicsrus4 a chance to have a stake in a messaging organisation that will be unique in i's approach to political messaging. Creating a network to allow candidates to get structured help in campaign messaging and a dynamic social media presence. I feel it's time to 'democratise democracy', bringing social media allies together to form a cohesive army that can change the dial on campaign messaging. I am really excited about it and I know a number of my friends will embrace the idea too. I never forget that the key to any new project is proving it will work. However the timing is absolutely perfect. We are right at the beginning of the 2022 cycle and that gives time to get feedback and allow adjustments to be made.
Thanks for stopping by today and stay safe out there.