Of course Trump should be impeached, again. I don’t think it will work. I don’t think that even now enough Republican senators would vote to remove him from office. So yes, it would be symbolic, but symbolism is important in politics, and Trump needs to be called out for what he is because the fight against Trumpism will not be over on January 20th. And won’t it be fitting for Trump to take his place in history as the only president ever to have been impeached twice?
An impeachment resolution will have the additional benefit of forcing Republican senators again to take a stand for or against democracy. It is encouraging that the overwhelming majority of GOP senators—in contrast to their co-partisans in the House–voted to respect the results of the presidential election. I haven’t seen any commentary examining this stark disparity between the House and Senate GOPs. The Senate tends to be the more moderate of the two bodies, since the smaller constituencies defined by House districts provide a larger number of comfortable niches for extremists. But that can’t be more than a partial explanation of the difference. In any case, a convulsive struggle for the soul of the GOP, as predicted by Never Trumper Steve Schmidt, is something we should all want to see. As I’ve said often, we cannot have a decent politics in this country without fundamental change in the Republican Party. If the current intra-party turbulence doesn’t lead toward such change, it could at least weaken the party’s ability to obstruct the modestly progressive policy agenda we can hope for from Biden. So, by all means let’s help exacerbate the contradictions within the GOP.
Back in November 2015 I devoted a post to considering whether Donald Trump was a fascist. After reviewing the numerous, classic fascistic impulses in the Trump candidacy, I concluded that it would be hyperbolic to call Trump an out and out fascist, but “fascistic” might be just right. In his op-ed today, Paul Krugman deals with the same issue rather more concisely: a fascist is “an authoritarian willing to use violence to achieve his racial nationalist goals.” I’m comfortable with that, and I don’t see any problem pinning the label on Trump and his most devoted followers.
The ugly reality is that an American variant of fascism is a significant force in our politics. It was a more or less latent force until a charismatic demagogue with an intuitive sense of its potential brought it out into the open. It will continue to be a factor in American politics whether or not its current Duce is actively promoting it, if only because it has a comfortable home in one of our two major political parties. Even after the fascist assault on the Capitol, a solid majority of Republican congressmen voted to annul the results of the November election. Few of those hundred odd Republican congresspeople are committed fascists, but neither can any of them can be credited with great dedication to preserving American democracy. Make no mistake about it: if Trump had had a realistic shot at pulling off an extra-constitutional seizure of power, he would have gone for it, and he would have had the support of much of his party.