It’s important for political analysis to focus on the way the world is. Will 20 or more Senate Republicans act to remove a Republican president from office less than a year away from an election? The smart money says no. That’s probably right, especially if Republican voters continue to stand behind him.
But politics is also about what should happen, not just about what likely will. Trump’s entire style of politics denies the reality of such normative considerations, of higher principles and ideals, including the rule of law. It’s all tribalism, all the way down. Trump is the Republican Party, the Republican Party is America, and America is the only thing that matters — just as the nation’s enemies, and the Republican Party’s enemies, and Trump’s enemies, are identical, and need to be defeated. It’s this kind of thinking that convinces some that it’s perfectly okay for the president to collapse the country’s foreign policy into his political campaign and then fight like hell against those who dare to suggest that this is flagrantly corrupt and criminal. How could our guy have done something wrong? He’s ours, after all, and right and wrong are purely and entirely a function of whatever advances or hinders our good.
Such thinking may yet triumph in the United States, leaving the country with a thoroughly debased political system. But we would be fools to give up without a fight. Taking a stand against the criminal in the White House, saying without a hint of ambivalence, even in the face of its likely futility, that this behavior on the part of a president is and must remain unacceptable, is one immensely important way to do that.