Technically, I should have titled this “so much for conviction after impeachment,” because the impeachment part has already happened. But anyhow, it is now clear that there is no better Republican party.
Actually, there hasn’t been for some time. But hope springs eternal in the hearts of Establishment pundits, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Sure, there’s a few exceptions to the general rule. But the Romneys and Raffenspergers will be dealt with by the Trumpist fascist majority soon enough. The GOP is now the party of Trump and it is not going to be the party of anything else.
And why shouldn’t it be? Fascism sells in the USA. Not overall, of course, but well enough (thanks to an antiquated political system) to rule with minority support. The fascist party lost the last national election by under 50,000 votes, despite being responsible for 75 times more dead Americans than Al Qaeda.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it. If that’s how close to victory the fascists can get in circumstances that abnormally adverse for them, how are they likely to do once things return to normal?
It is imperative that non-fascists use the power we temporarily have to weaken the fascists as much as possible. A critical aspect of this is to target the Trump crime family, for reasons I will explain below. Given that conviction in the Senate is not going to happen, this means prosecution for lesser crimes at the state and federal levels. Conveniently, there is almost certainly a number of criminal acts that various members of that family can be prosecuted for.
And yes, the Trumps really are a head of a monster that can be lopped off. If it’s a hydra, it’s not a normal hydra: a few of its heads are much more important than most of the others. Lopping off those important heads might not kill this hydra, but they will weaken it considerably.
This is because of the nature of the support for political authoritarianism in the USA: it is tightly bound to the support for economic authoritarianism. Americans are indoctrinated to revere the latter. The capitalist is seen as an economic hero, responsible for wealth creation, whose private property rights are to be honored and protected. The workplace is his property, and his employees had damn well better know their place in it.
Even by capitalist standards of profit maximization, Trump was not a very good businessman, but that doesn’t matter: he was seen by many as being a good businessman. In addition to simply being a businessman, his businessman’s authoritarianism was a big part of his whole show business persona; just witness his famous “You’re fired!” tagline. He was, in short, perfectly primed to become an authoritarian leader, if (as he did) he chose to pursue a career in politics.
There really isn’t anyone else comparable. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Ted Cruz are all authoritarian career politicians. Being a politician is a career that is nowhere near as highly revered as being a businessman. In fact, politics tends to be denigrated precisely because of the threat that a regulatory state can potentially pose to the business class. There are other right-wing businessmen aplenty, of course, but none with the show business background and popular exposure Trump had.
Going after Donald Trump and his family is therefore likely to significantly hurt the prospects of American Christian fascism. The Senate won’t convict, so that means the imperative falls on the criminal justice system.
And yes, the odds probably disfavor accountability via the latter as well. It is why I am so pessimistic about the future of the American Republic. It is also why if, contrary to my expectations, Trump and his cronies do get punished, my outlook will change to be significantly more optimistic.
So, I certainly hope that I am incorrect in my pessimism and that Trump gets criminally prosecuted. It is probably the single most important thing that can be done at the present moment.