Senate Republicans must weigh the full cost of complicity

So, if you are an elected Republican who wants to remain loyal to the president, you need to defend an indefensible act of corruption, explain a massive national security blunder and sacrifice your moral integrity to excuse racism. And add to this the certain knowledge that Trump would not defend you for half a second if it didn’t immediately benefit him.

This creates a political environment in which conviction has moved from impossible to unlikely. The national erosion of Trump’s support has been significant. This has taken away the political risk for Democrats moving forward with impeachment. But the removal of the president will probably depend on public opinion among Republicans in 20 red or purple states. In most such places, at least for Republican officeholders, the political cost of criticizing the president remains high. Growing support for Trump’s impeachment has generally resulted from the hardening of existing opposition, not the wearing away of support in the GOP.

Given the depth and durability of the United States’ political divisions, and the deep redness of many red states, this may never happen. Yet, for Republican senators, the full cost of complicity in Trump’s corruption is becoming clear.