This impeachment conviction is not only about Trump’s political future, but also about the future prospects of the Republican Party.
On February 9, the U.S. Senate voted 56 to 44 against the constitutional passage of Trump’s impeachment trial, with six Republican senators voting in favor.
After the Senate determines that the trial is constitutional, starting from February 10 local time, the impeachment manager of the House of Representatives and Trump’s lawyer team will make a statement, which may last until the 12th or next week.
Before the vote, the prosecution and defense mainly debated whether the president could be impeached and tried after leaving office.
Democratic lawmakers insist that Trump must be held accountable for his behavior in the last weeks of office, while Trump’s lawyers believe that impeachment should be a tool for removing the incumbent president, and that impeachment conviction cannot be used as long as Trump leaves office. The vote overturned the question of Trump’s lawyer team, and the impeachment conviction process will go through.
The six defective Republicans are Susan Collins from Maine, Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, Lisa Mulkowski from Alaska, Mitt Romney from Utah, Ben Sazer from Nebraska and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania.
Among them, in addition to the other five Republican lawmakers who have long opposed Trump, Cassidy’s defection was particularly sudden. Previously, he supported the view that impeachment conviction was unconstitutional.
This time, he sided with Democratic lawmakers because he believed that Trump’s defense team was unorganized, while the House impeachment manager had a clear view.
But the outcome of this impeachment conviction trial is likely to be the same as Trump’s first encounter – Trump’s conviction is very unlikely. It is also two different to determine that Trump’s impeachment consideration is constitutional.
According to the regulations, the Senate needs the consent of a two-thirds majority of members to convict Trump. This means that in the current bipartisan 50-50 equal pattern, at least 17 Republican lawmakers need to defect.
Even counting the six Republicans who agreed to advance the impeachment conviction trial, the Democrats still need to win 11 Republicans, which is conceivable.
Unlike Democrats, although some Republicans also want to cut off from Trump, they prefer to take a cold approach rather than directly convict a Republican president.
On the one hand, convicting Trump for any reason will hit Republican morale hard and become the grip and sharp tool for Democrats to continue to attack the Republican Party.
On the other hand, Trump still has a significant influence within the Republican Party, and some Republican lawmakers facing the 2022 midterm elections are worried about being punished by Trump and his supporters after defecting, so they can only stay in verbal dissatisfaction and be cautious about conviction voting.
So for the Republican Party, the bigger question behind the impeachment conviction is how to deal with “Trumpism” or “Trump legacy”.
After Trump left office, the Republican Party is facing an unprecedented schism crisis.
The establishment needs to unite Trump supporters to build a new alliance, which is justified and well-founded to weaken the influence of “Trumpism”.
However, against the backdrop of political polarization and bipartisan division in the United States, it may be difficult for the Republican Party to resist the temptation of “Trumpism”.
The price of drinking quenching thirst will not only be borne by the Republican Party, but also the United States will suffer greatly.