Sorry, no puppy today.

Sorry, no cute puppy today. I’m watching the impeachment. After last night’s recap I felt compelled to watch it live today. I don’t regret that decision – yet – but it’s incredibly sad to watch.

It’s not just the events of January 6, which were despicable. It’s the feeling that no matter how clearly the House impeachment managers lay out their case against the former president (and it’s a very compelling case), it remains unlikely that 17 or more Republican senators will vote to convict him.

It’s not impossible, of course, and I’m frustrated with media prognosticators who have already thrown in the towel. It’s possible that more of them will change their minds. Frankly, I think if it could be a secret ballot you’d easily get at least 17 Republicans to vote to convict, but having it be a roll call vote puts them in an untenable position. Some may also be concerned about violence directed at themselves and their families, which is understandable, except for the fact that they allowed this situation to get to this point in the first place.

And some of them currently sitting as part of the jury would be better described as co-conspirators; they can’t vote to convict without indirectly convicting themselves for their roles in the Capitol attack and attempt to overthrow the election.

It’s a no-win situation for many of the Republican senators, especially those up for re-election in 2022. If they vote to convict, they’ll certainly get primaried by a MAGA opponent. If they vote to acquit, it’ll be used against them by their Democratic opponent in the general election. There’s no good way out.

The New York Times, February 11, 2021

Which is why I still hope that some of them, faced with that decision, will decide to land on the right side of history and vote to convict Trump. If they don’t, they’ve allowed a new “January exception” to impeachment, where a sitting president who is facing the end of their term incites violence and insurrection to remain in power.

Some Trump supporters keep using images and videos of violence and property destruction at Black Lives Matters demonstrations during the summer of 2020 as an attempt to “both sides” the issue. Violence and property destruction are not acceptable, but in this case, only one of those events was promoted, managed, and incited by the president of the United States in an attempt to overturn the results of an election, potentially destroying our democracy. That was the insurrection of January 6, 2021. And that’s what’s on trial this week.

There is no valid defense.