As the Trump-impeachment movement gains steam, I am prompted to recall some relevant history. A bit of it older: The Republican Party basically telling Nixon “resign or we will impeach you.” A bit of it more recent: my multiple blog posts this summer about “cleaning your own house” in the wake of the George Floyd shooting. That last admonition was directed at everyone: police departments, activist groups, political parties, and the like.

Of course, many prefer to cast aspersions upon others’ dirty houses over cleaning their own house, especially when they think that those others are as dirty or dirtier.

Here’s the thing about that, though. When you clean your own house, you claim the moral high ground. You establish yourself as the more honest player on the field, as the one who elevates duty over finger-pointing and gamesmanship, and the one who thus deserves those looking for someone “good” to support. The 1974 Republicans ushered Nixon out, and history recalls them fondly.

So it goes. Trump’s defenders reject the notion that he inflamed the crowd to the point of it rioting. Additionally, more than a couple legal minds argue that the case for incitement, which is what Pelosi et al chose to allege, is legally weak. Removal from office via impeachment is not, however, a letter-of-the-law matter, decided as it is by the Senate (Alan Dershowitz’s argument that SCOTUS can overrule the Senate notwithstanding). If 67 Senators vote to defenestrate Trump, out he will go, and that’ll be the end of his career in politics. The process, and the decision, are ultimately matters of politics, not law.

As such, as matters of politics, the GOP is faced with a political decision: Throw in with the Democrats, who’ve been slavering for Trump’s orange scalp for 50 months, what they’ve desired virtually to the exclusion of everything else, including the health of the country. Or, reject this mostly symbolic impeachment effort, and let Trump simply leave office in 7 days as scheduled. The only practical difference is that, if removed, he can be denied public office forever after (though I think the odds of him trying, let alone succeeding, rather low).

The practical isn’t the driver, however. The calculus at hand is whether the party would be better off listening to the Trump base, who feels he’s been unfairly treated since they elected him, who think that the Capitol riot was not his doing, and who the party needs going forward, or agreeing that this last episode was a back-breaker, that the pillaging of the Capitol was the product of his electoral allegations and aggressive rhetoric, and symbolically purging him from the party at the risk of alienating his supporters

And, risk an incendiary blow-back come Election day, as has been rumored, though caving into the heckler’s veto carries its own peril.

Rock, meet hard place, and one would need a crystal ball to guess which would be better.

No matter which way the GOP leadership chooses to go, it’ll anger a chunk of the party’s constituency. Both choices will be leveraged by the Democrats, which, ironically, serves to remove the Left from the calculus. Then there’s the matter of Future-Trump, who I highly doubt will quietly retire to Mar-A-Lago. This, too, enters into the calculus. If the GOP opts not to align with the impeach/remove crowd, Trump will hardly be grateful, and instead continue his accusations of disloyalty and fecklessness (accusations that have translated to his acolytes screaming “Traitor!” at insufficiently supportive GOPers). If the party opts to remove him from office, he’ll rant about that as well. Either way, though, Trump’ll do more to tear down the GOP that he’ll believe abandoned him unjustly than attack the Democrats and their policies. So, this, too, gets removed from the calculus.

What’s left is taking a moral high road vs trying to appease a crowd that’s already alienated and not likely to consider “we didn’t impeach him” anything more than a booby prize.

The conclusion? There’s no good answer for the GOP, but the least-worst is to impeach and remove. The short-term fallout will be bad either way, but the long-term benefit of doing the right thing is a good piece of foundation to rebuild upon.

And, a footnote, or rather a piece of unsolicited advice. “I told you so!” hurts more than it helps. Rein in your rage, and contribute to solution rather than division.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

If you'd like to help keep the site ad-free, please support us on Patreon.


Like this post?