Consider that telephone conversation with the Ukrainians. In principle, bribery covers any exchange of official action for something of personal value, including something of personal political value. Construed broadly enough, that moral principle would cover ordinary legislative horse-trading and deal-making: “I’ll vote for your Boeing subsidies if you vote for funding for my cowboy-poetry festival” is in shape and substance not terribly different from what Trump is accused of in the Ukraine matter. Trump’s supporters understand this and are inclined to interpret his actions in the most indulgent way possible, even when that requires suspending certain mental faculties. Trump’s critics are not so inclined.

Trump’s critics have the better case, because Trump is habitually corrupt (recall that he boasted about using donations to corrupt elected officials in New York), entirely unable to rise above narrow self-interest, and generally incompetent, to boot. His character is such that it is impossible to extend to him the benefit of the doubt in almost any morally questionable situation.

But, in a sense, we are still having the argument from 2016: That Trump is awful is, in my mind, a pretty easy case to make; that Trump is so awful that the alternative is preferable is, as the polls suggest, a much more difficult case to make, and one that some anti-Trump conservatives tried and failed to make effectively in 2016. The Democrats’ hysteria and their abusive handling of the impeachment and other nakedly self-serving investigations have provided a kind of moral lifeline to Trump.