• Nathan Max

Convict Donald Trump

Photo Credit: Associated Press. Donald Trump is the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.

The end is near for America’s first rogue president.

Donald Trump has distinguished himself for all the wrong reasons, again, becoming the first American leader to be impeached twice. He has cemented his place in the annals of history as the worst president of all time, a dubious distinction that is unlikely to change any time soon, if ever.

After four years of brazen mendacity, unprecedented corruption, abuse of power and dereliction of duty in the face of a lethal virus, Donald Trump’s lawless administration reached its shameful climax with an armed attack by his supporters against the United States Capitol in a futile attempt to stop the certification of his electoral defeat.

For this, the Senate must convict him, whether it happens before or after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. If inciting open insurrection against the United States government isn’t grounds for conviction, there is no point in having a provision to remove a president in our Constitution.

The Senate must make it clear that these actions are unacceptable and will result in severe consequences, even if that punctuation mark on Trump’s presidency happens after he leaves office. This will open the door for an even more critical vote; the one that would banish Trump from holding political office ever again. Without that, the president will be free to continue his campaign of domestic terror, whereby he could conceivably retake the presidency in four years.

That cannot be allowed to happen.

Those dissenting voices who oppose convicting Trump, and are suddenly calling for national unity, are the very same people who supported his madness in the first place. They are the ones who have spread, “The Big Lie,” the baseless claim that Donald Trump had the election stolen from him. They are complicit and should, themselves, be held accountable. There can be no coalition with racists, seditionists, extremists and white nationalists.

If Senate Republicans really want unity, they will join their 10 courageous colleagues in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump. These eight men and two women mustered up the bravery to do the right thing, something that has been in short supply among Republicans over the last four years.

As for the 197 Republicans who voted against impeachment, and the four who didn’t vote at all, their names will also go down in history. Some, the ones who privately complained that they were too frightened to vote yes, must live with their shame and cowardice. Others -- men and women like Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert -- will be remembered for their undying commitment to promoting conspiracy theories and lies.

Now, the stage shifts to the Senate, where 17 Republicans will need to join 48 Democrats and two left-leaning Independents to reach the two-thirds threshold. If that can be achieved, a tall order from a group that has been so remarkably compliant to Trump over the last four years, then only a simple majority would be required to ban him for life from holding office.

If Trump becomes ineligible for office, he will gradually fade from the political arena, and his base of support will start to crumble. Donald Trump is the glue that holds together his coalition of conspiracy theorists, racists, xenophobes, evangelicals, gun enthusiasts, bad cops, exploitative business owners and the uber wealthy. With all due respect to Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, both of whom seem to think they stand to inherit the “Make America Great Again” base, there is no Trumpism without Trump.

The Trump movement revolves around its leader. Trump’s hardcore supporters love him for his unabashed brashness. There is no successor, at the moment, who can replicate the Trump mystique.

Senate Republicans have a chance, for the second time, to put an end to this contemptible chapter of American history. Assuming every Democrat and both Independents vote to convict, and that’s a fairly safe assumption, it would only take one-third of Republicans to drive the final nail in Donald Trump’s political coffin.

For the sake of an exhausted and exasperated nation, let’s hope they do it this time.