The Senate voted 56-44 on Tuesday to proceed with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment. Nothing has changed since I published my analysis on January 13 of how the voting will go and reiterated it on January 27.
Those five are who, what, and why they are. The sixth Republican vote to proceed with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment, making the vote 54-46 to proceed instead of 55-45, is Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. That means nothing. He already saw that the procedural vote would pass anyway. So this makes him seem very fair-minded and impartial. He will vote to acquit. And that brings the analysis to the other consideration: How and why politicians lie for a living.
This is subtle and yet not so subtle. The final vote on impeachment is going to be somewhere along the lines of 55-45 to convict. Maybe Manchin, facing reelection in 2024 when Trump may again be on the ballot, will vote not to convict. Maybe some other Republican will vote to convict. But basically it is a 55-45 vote to convict — which means an acquittal. Trump again will be brandishing newspapers with headlines that say “Trump Acquitted Again!”
Here is the thing: In politics, very few of our politicians tell the public honestly what they are thinking and planning. They are concerned that too many Americans are too stupid to handle the truth or to understand the deeper issues and ramifications. For example, the vast majority of Americans have absolutely no idea what is going on when it comes to civics and government. They may soon be learning “critical ethnic studies” and may major in identity studies but have no idea what is going on. They do not understand that, if they want tough-on-crime laws, it does not matter as much for whom they vote in federal elections for the presidency and the Congress as for whom they vote to be their state governor and their state legislators. State law, not federal law, governs most crimes, torts, contracts, and property matters. So they vote for a congressional representative who promises to be tough on crime and yet for a governor who will open the prisons, and they do not fathom what they are doing. When I read of an illegal immigrant shooting a Californian to death in San Francisco, and of the family and friends all grieving thereafter, I ask myself whether any of them were among the two-thirds or more in San Francisco who elect a Democrat governor and state legislature that makes their state a “Sanctuary State” and a magnet for exactly what has transpired.
Since most Americans do not understand the system, they have no grasp that a law does not become a law when it passes the House unless it also gets 60 out of 100 U.S. senators to go along. That filibuster rule, and the way it has changed since the days of the Jimmy Stewart movie, accounts for most of the gridlock in Washington — why “nothing ever gets done.” When your party is in the minority, you love the filibuster rule that prevents an extreme-oriented majority from destabilizing the country. But when your party has the power, you hate the contemporary filibuster rule. Trump constantly pressured Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster rule when Democrats in the Senate tied up Trump legislative efforts, even though the Republicans could muster a majority of Senate votes but could not get to 60. Mitch stood up to Trump, though, and would not budge, and he became the target of some nasty tweets on that one. But now many Trump backers and other Republicans are ever so grateful that Mitch McConnell held the fort on the filibuster in contradistinction to Harry Reid’s colossal blunder in removing the filibuster requirement for presidential appointments, aimed at helping Obama but ultimately opening the door for passing President Trump’s nominees.
Because the filibuster rule somewhat helpfully prevents passage of destabilizing legislation by a majority that is bent on extremism, it also has given rise to two very unfortunate developments in American government:
That is why Democrats started character-assassinating decent human beings like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Most Americans do not understand any of this. That is why it started and continued unabated until Trump started naming reliably conservative federal judges, the first Republican president in the modern era to do so. Even Reagan inconsistently gave us Antonin Scalia but also Sandra O’Connor and Kennedy. And that is why so many Democrats now want to increase the size of the Supreme Court and to change all the rules of the judiciary. Because, while Congress is dysfunctional, the courts now make the laws, too.
In the same way, most Americans are too ignorant to understand what is going on now with the Annual Pelosi Trump Impeachment. The vote already is over. It just has not yet been taken. For a politician to say now “I will vote to acquit Trump” simply is not politic. So the Republican says instead “I will wait to see and hear all the evidence. I am coming in with an open mind. And my vote will follow what I see and hear.” That way, although the Republican is lying because he or she already is decided on acquittal, when he or she does vote to acquit, that vote seems to have greater strength: “I would have voted to convict if the testimony and other evidence had been persuasive, but it was not.”
The same is true of most Senate Democrats, particularly those in purple states: “I am not yet decided how I will vote. I will wait to see and hear all the evidence. I am coming in with an open mind. And my vote will follow what I see and hear.” In this one small way, the Democrats and the GOP sound alike. And then (except, perhaps, for Manchin) they all will vote to convict, and they will say that they would have voted to acquit if the evidence had been otherwise. But they are and will be lying. They already know how they will vote. It just is not politic to admit the truth.
That is the system of government we have. That is how so much of our world operates. When a person known to be conservative applies for a position as a tenured professor in the social sciences or to break into Hollywood or to be a reporter for the Washington Post or the New York Times, it all is a game. The interview is conducted “fairly” — but he or she has no chance and was rejected before the interview ever began. We live in a world of lies. As long as the average American is a mediocrity — and isn’t that the word’s definition? — that is what we always will have: a system by which our highest elected representatives feel obliged to lie most of the time. They are our leaders. They represent the American people who select them as their representatives. A House with the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Alexandria Ocasio, Hank Johnson, Jamaal Bowman? The thing speaks for itself.