Senate censure is a political deal that offers something to both sides. Donald Trump is already out of office; there is no plausible need for a speedy Senate impeachment trial to remove him from the White House. An impeachment trial and vote conducted largely along party lines will only further divide our nation, and when the votes are counted, it will lose. Democrats can claim that they want Mr. Trump barred from holding future office, but the best way to ensure that is for them to do a great job with the majorities they hold now. Succeed in the next two or three years, and there will be no need to look in the rear-view mirror to see if Trump’s 2024 campaign bus is gaining speed.
Then consider the old adage: be careful what you wish for. There is no provision for a defendant to request to testify in an impeachment trial, but what if Mr. Trump did? The Senate could say no, but how will that look, not only to his followers, but to the world. Can you imagine being convicted in a trial where you aren’t allowed to tell your side? That’s very un-American. Or what if the Democrats called the former president’s bluff and said, come testify? Well, Trump has held rallies all over the United States — now he’d have a chance to hold one in the Senate chamber, with wall-to-wall TV coverage, internet streaming, and a trending hashtag on Twitter.