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A Senate of cowards and extremists

Senator+Josh+Hawley+pinching+a+face+mask+slightly+away+from+his+nose+and+mouth+with+his+eyebrows+raised
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) talks to reporters during a break in opening arguments on the second day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. (Getty Images)

It is often said that history repeats itself, but that saying typically doesn’t mean history repeats itself so quickly. Once again, the Senate has failed to punish a dangerous man whose fascistic plan to break American democracy was only thwarted by his laziness and ineptitude. 

This outcome wasn’t a surprise. The idea that the Republican party would throw off the shackles of right-wing extremism always remained the fantasy of centrists or moderates hoping to see a return to some kind of amorphous normalcy. 

The last few weeks have clearly shown that even with all the mess that the final year of Trump’s presidency has wrought, he still has a stranglehold on the base of the Republican party. That is why, despite seeing more than one smoking gun of evidence and being personally affected by Trump’s insurrectionists, the Republican senators sided with their now unofficial dear leader. 

Some did the right thing, but those who did were only a fraction of the caucus. It didn’t matter if you were more classical business style Republicans like the retiring Rob Portman or an upfront right-wing nut like Ted Cruz, they fell in line for that crucial vote. 

This entire impeachment saga, really the whole Trump era, has shown how hollow and morally bankrupt the Republican party is — or has been for a long while. They are now brazen about their disdain for our democratic system and other foundational values of our government.  

This sham of an acquittal should be a wake-up call to those who still preach unity or bipartisanship. Those things are gone, and they might not be back for a long while. After all, how can the two parties come together to solve more mundane issues if they cannot even come together to curb the kind of evil that made them flee for their lives and ended up killing many of their fellow Americans.  

The only solution to this right-wing extremism, this autocratic impulse, this fascistic movement, is by beating the Republicans. Only by breaking or shunning this political party can America’s democracy survive.  

That is not an easy task, things need to be reformed to make it happen. Making it easier to vote, getting rid of the filibuster and adding states are all a part of what is now being called “Democracy Reform.” 

To many, that might seem extreme. While that may be true, these are things that have to be done.  This trial has shown the Republican party is not a political party anymore. They don’t have an agenda or any broader political project. They aren’t trying to help constants or voters. They are now nothing more than a national cult, made up of right-wing extremists and mulling cowards. 

History shows what happens when people like that get their way. Caesar crosses the Rubicon or Mussolini marches on Rome. These statements of fear and stress are not something to be said lightly. However, it is important to be ever vigilant about the current situation we are all living through.    

We find ourselves in some of the most uncertain times in all of American history, and we have to make sure we all don’t fall into the darkness of the abyss. 

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