As if there are not really serious considerations, a massive majority of Americans want the Biden Administration members to quickly address, implement fixes for our problems, and get us out of the COVID-19 pandemic and our economy back to roaring as it did under President Trump. There is little doubt that GOP voters across the nation were largely miffed at those Republican senators who voted to convict President Trump in his impeachment trial. And most of those voters were pleased to see the various Republican Party entities censure those seven for their actions. Yet the Mainstream Media is still concentrating on the “pronounced split” in the Republican Party and are doing so for undeniable political purposes. Take this snippet published by TIME:”
A number of Republicans are expressing frustration toward their party for censuring GOP senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial.
Last week, seven Republican senators joined all Democrats to find the former president guilty of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. Capitol on January 6. They were Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Each senator has since defended their decision by stating their vote was constitutional and based on significant evidence, but the blowback from breaking with the Republican party has been severe.
Five of those seven lawmakers — all but Collins and Romney — have since faced local censures, or formal rebukes, from GOP groups in the states they represent. Republican officials have condemned the GOP senators by stating that the decision to convict was not representative of the party. Other Republicans, however, have since criticized the party for participating in “cancel culture” and being intolerant of diverse opinions.
Republican Senator John Thune, who voted to acquit Trump, defended his colleagues who sided with Democrats and warned the party against shutting out dissenting voices. “There was a strong case made. People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves,” Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told the Associated Press.
Similarly, Quin Hillyer, a former leader of the Louisiana Young Republicans who writes commentaries for the Washington Examiner, criticized the party for discouraging opposing views. “It is incredibly frustrating to me to see both sides of politics these days act as if no dissent is allowed; to act as if anybody that strays on any subject immediately is to be shouted down, or canceled or in this case censured,” Hillyer said. He added, “If we start making every single vote a litmus test, ‘A’ we’re not going to get anywhere practically, but ‘B’ we’re going down the line of extremists’ societies where you have purge, after purge, after purge and not only does nothing get done but it becomes very dangerous and becomes very unstable.” Ya’ think!
In Utah, Republican Senator Mike Lee, who voted to acquit Trump, released a statement saying Romney’s decision to convict was not cause for alarm. “The fact that Senator Romney and I sometimes disagree (either with each other or with most Senate Republicans, or both) is not itself cause for alarm,” Lee said. “To the contrary, it shows that neither one of us blindly defers to anyone. We each do our own homework and then, after conferring with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with each other, we reach our own conclusions.”
The Utah Republican Party echoed that statement by saying the senators’ choice to convict represented “diversity of thought.”
Illinois GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who was censured for voting to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives, took to Twitter to mock the party’s decision to punish dissenting voices by dubbing it a censure frenzy. “Good party, a good #censure-frenzy !!” he tweeted sarcastically.
This or any media outlet has an implicit right to publish what they will, as do those 100 senators have the right to vote as they will. But having the authority to do so is quite different from “should” they have done so. So who should be the person or persons to determine if these seven were right or were wrong? Should it be the GOP National Party, the respective state Republican parties, or the people who voted for these senators?
Political Party Slippery Slope
We not only are getting close to stepping on that proverbial “slippery slope” in this process, but we’re probably past the half-way point to pure chaos. And this dilemma that GOP leaders and voting citizens are facing is one that illustrates best what we and others have pointed to for years as the most dangerous element of American politics. What is that?
Political Parties and their power.
The current ruling two-party system is so global that we take it as a given. We teach the “two-party system” in government classes. Taxpayers pay for their primary elections, but did you know that legally, parties are private associations? We have allowed the two ruling parties to entrench themselves in our political and governing systems. They get preferential ballot access, and legislative committee assignments and campaign finance laws are rigged in their favor. Given their political system domination, one might think that the two-party system comes from our constitutional roots. But in fact, the opposite is the case. Virtually every one of the Founding Fathers hated the idea of political parties and worried what might happen to the country if political parties were to come to dominate the country.
“ There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” -John Adams.
“If I could not go to heaven but with a political party, I would decline to go.” -Thomas Jefferson.
“A man under the tyranny of party spirit is the greatest slave upon the earth.” – Thomas Paine.
Let me now . . . warn you most solemnly against the baneful effects of the spirit of party. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption; A fire not to quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into flame.” – George Washington.
All of the Founding Fathers — except Washington — ultimately relented to “party spirit.” By the first contested presidential campaign in 1796, the country had divided itself into the Federalist and Democrat-Republican parties. Parties have dominated our politics ever since to a greater or lesser degree.
But the times they are a-changing. Polling shows Americans are dropping party affiliation in droves. Today, barely half the country identifies with either of the parties. In 1950 nearly 85% did. And the trend has recently accelerated.
There is no way to predict how the will of the majority of Americans who have lost faith in the two-party system will be resolved. Perhaps one or both of the parties will begin to moderate. Perhaps a third party will emerge. It has several times in our history. I think we will start electing more independents. As you know, adherence to political party expectations for its members to vote straight party lines prevents voters’ independence.
I hear the growing frustration of this country’s great middle who feel they are unrepresented in today’s hyper-partisan environment. These same long passed-over Americans felt a glimmer of hope with Trump’s four years in office. Unlike most presidents in this and the last generation, he actually fulfilled most of the promises he made to Americans while campaigning. And, surprise, surprise: he actually got them accomplished!
Many American Republicans’ consternation over those seven GOP senators’ votes to convict Donald Trump illustrates how angry and divided Americans are becoming in their politics. Elections, candidates, and service in office — especially regarding legislation and legal matters — should NEVER be based on a political party’s desires and leaders. That is the very thing that so troubled those Founding Fathers. Remember: they were familiar with political parties from their European countries from which they fled — fled in part because of what that felt was unnecessary consternation, arguing, and division which did back then and still does today rise from political partisanship based on political party affiliation.
Don’t those lawmakers have to follow their consciences when weighing such a heavy matter as removing a sitting President? Of course, that should always be a consideration. But that should NOT be the factor on which they make their final decision on such a critical issue. Their principle commitment in their oath of office requires them to protect the Constitution. There was NO constitutional precedence that evoked justification for those votes.
So why did the seven do so?
I cannot knowledgeably answer that. Only in the case of one of those votes can I surmise a reason with some basis: that of Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy.
Cassidy had supported a motion by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky not to have the trial because there was no Constitutional basis for it!
“Well, obviously Cassidy’s conscience forced him, after hearing the House Manager’s evidence presented, to vote for conviction.” Doing so for that or any other reason has no basis in the Constitution. “Supporting and defending” the U.S. Constitution as they each swore to do means adherence to the laws specifically delineated in that document and to any previous court-allowed precedents involving cases based on the Constitution.
There was NO basis for Cassidy’s decision in law.
Why did he do it? Probably for the same reason(s) as did the other six. Those reasons had to be personal or political: there’s no other reason one could have done so.
That is why the People are so angry about those votes and have and still are demanding the censure of those at the state and national party level.
Here’s a novel thought: wouldn’t it have been prudent for these seven, and all other Senators for that matter, to consult with their voting constituents before purposely making an unconstitutional vote to convict Mr. Trump? Obviously, none did so, or they would have publicly explained their votes using that as their reason for doing so.
Americans don’t elect political party representatives. Americans elect their government representatives. Those elected representatives are duly obligated by their oaths to support the Constitution and represent their districts and states’ people. There is NO other factor that should have weighed on their decision.
The TIME story segment above represents where today’s political parties are operating, and Americans don’t like that. American voters are leaving parties in droves. Registered Independents are becoming more and more “the” voice of American voters. They are fed up and I believe their voice is going to be heard one way or another. In doing so, they will be living up to one of our Founding Fathers’ great aspirations, albeit one they were not able to realize.