There’s a persistent narrative among the fatalists out there that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are “getting away” with it all. It’s true that the two of them have managed to do a whole lot of corrupt damage to the nation and to democracy. But the reality is that they haven’t gotten away with it – and more to the point, they haven’t even pulled off most of what they’ve tried to pull off. That was clearly on display today.
Remember when Mitch McConnell promised that the Democrats wouldn’t even be allowed to introduce new evidence during the Senate impeachment trial? The Democratic impeachment managers spent all day today using their floor time to introduce new evidence. They even managed to work Lev Parnas’ recent interview with Rachel Maddow in there. Remember when McConnell tried to make us think that the trial wouldn’t even be televised? It’s certainly on TV. Remember yesterday when McConnell insisted that the trial would run until midnight each night? His own nervous GOP Senate caucus shot him down on that one today.
“But,” the fatalists say, “didn’t Trump and McConnell get away with installing Brett Kavanaugh?” Well, no, they didn’t. By confirming him against the will of the public, Trump and the Senate Republicans contributed significantly to the Blue Wave in 2018, which handed the House solidly to the Democrats (the Senate wasn’t mathematically in play in 2018). It’s why Trump got impeached, and it’s why Senate Republicans are now stuck with an impeachment trial they don’t want. The Republicans are in disarray right now because they’re (correctly) afraid that this trial could cause them to lose their Senate majority.
Was that an acceptable tradeoff for the Resistance? Of course not. The only acceptable place for Kavanaugh would be prison. But the point is that in politics, each side eventually gets a turn. The Republicans used their turn to put a deranged rapist on the Supreme Court. It cost them the House, it cost them Trump getting impeached, and now it may cost them the Senate. Fair or not, this is how politics works. Trump and McConnell haven’t gotten away with anything. McConnell is in danger of losing the Senate, and Trump is in danger of losing the election. If Trump loses, he’ll go to prison. Does anyone really think that is what “winning” and “getting away with it all” look like?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report