Maribel Hastings and David Torres
Now that Donald J. Trump has been exonerated by the Republican Senate of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over “Ukrainegate,” let’s imagine what the president could be capable of in this electoral year after feeling vindicated, after proving that not even the legislative branch could —or in the case of the Senate, would —put the brakes on his excesses even though he trampled all over the Constitution.
That phrase often assigned to Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of this nation, that they had created “a Republic, if you can keep it,” begins to take on even greater significance when what has been seen in recent weeks in the political-legislative realm is nothing more than the defense of a despotic power and disdain toward the Magna Carta that had given a a rather democratic sheen to this country for more than 200 years.
In effect, the heavy boulder that this Republican dance has become has not been able to, nor wanted to, nor been capable of keeping the Republic healthy, in whose democracy the voice of a solitary man would not matter, and neither would his power be above the law.
More still, imagine what Trump will be capable of if he is reelected in November 2020, without the pressure of a 2024 re-election campaign and having lost all respect for Congress, while the Democratic Party maintains control over the House of Representatives and even recaptures the Senate.
The damage, of course, is already done. And this damage goes beyond the legal realm, as it has exceeded all limits of political behavior, that will surely have repercussions in the social sphere and in different ways of relating to his own history, his priorities, and the communities that animate and fortify him.
After all, the leader would say, his most nefarious public policies, especially on immigration matters, have been through executive order and regulations and without the intervention of Congress.
Moreover, he will believe that he demonstrated he can do whatever he wants, like shooting someone on 5th Avenue, as he predicted in 2016; requesting help from foreign nations for his personal political benefit; obstructing investigations; intimidating witnesses; making fun of the Constitution; and lying, lying, and lying without consequence.
In that way, his ongoing presence in the White House defines him in the dangerous and worrisome role of “most powerful president” that this country has ever had. Of course, by the inverse sense of what it would mean to govern for the Common Good.
These facts reflect the decadance, not only of the U.S. political system, but of its very society, something which had already been shown by Trump’s ascendance to power despite his questionable reputation.
“Not my problem,” a society conditioned to the formula of “success” or “failure” seems to conclude, not in a moral or humanistic way, but simply and plainly because of the power of money and what can be done with it in order to crush, not help, the other.
Ultimately, the electoral process kicked off this Monday with the Iowa caucuses, right in the midst of the political trial against Trump which, in the Senate, was somewhat like the chronicle of an announced farce.
As the Republican senator of Florida, Marco Rubio (the very one who often cites Psalms and Bible verses on Twitter) said cynically about the process against Trump: “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.” Put differently, Trump’s actions merit impeachment according to the tenets of the Constitution, but he will not do it because it is inconvenient, not for the nation but for the other political cowards who do not want to face the militants who support their leader.
This is precisely the “quid” of the matter: this category of politicians is capable of selling their souls to the devil and continuing to benefit from the public treasury in order to serve their own interests and not for the good of the nation, whose history, fortunately, is reserving one of its favorite chapters for them: that of the traitors. And this they will not escape, neither in that moment nor in the future. They are perfectly identified in the collective imagination that way.
If we think that we have seen it all with Trump, now that they have paradoxically “enthroned” him with the very instruments of democracy, think again. He will come out of the political trial more emboldened and vengeful than ever, not only against his political rivals but also the most vulnerable sectors of society: immigrants, minorities, and foreigners, particularly people of color and those from poor, Latin American, and Muslim nations.
The Repubilcan Party had wanted to win at all costs, and has created a monster that sooner or later will make them rue the day, some observers say. And it will be well-deserved.
At the end of the day, unless a wide coalition of voters puts a stop to Trump at the polls in this year’s elections, the “Frankenstein” created by the Republican Party will be more unhinged than ever, when his henchmen absolve him and give the green light to his excesses and xenophobia.