As the U.S. braced for the possibility of more right-wing violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the House voted 232-197 to impeach President Donald Trump. Although 10 House Republicans voted for impeachment, Republican voters thus far remain steadfast in their commitment to Trump, the first president in modern history to lose the White House, Senate, and House—and now to be impeached twice.
Conventional establishment wisdom dictates that at a time when the country is divided it’s appropriate for Biden to take a measured, deliberate approach to governance. But such an approach courts disaster with an increasingly out of control Republican Party whose white supremacist politics were laid bare during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“If we fail to remove a white supremacist president who incited a white supremacist insurrection, it’s communities like Missouri’s First District that suffer the most,” said Rep. Cori Bush, who voted for impeachment and introduced a measure to expel members of Congress who incited the attack.
Some Republican have argued impeachment will be divisive. “In the spirit of healing,” a group of GOP lawmakers wrote to President-elect Biden, “we ask that you formally request that Speaker Nancy Pelosi discontinue her efforts to impeach President Donald J. Trump a second time.”
Polls show a majority of Americans, including 85% of Democrats, approve of removing Trump from office. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until Jan. 19, and it remains to be seen if Democrats have the 60 votes necessary to convict Trump in a Senate trial.
Despite Republicans’ historic loss in November, if Biden can’t deliver significant pandemic relief there’s good reason to believe the Democrats could lose their control of Congress to the party of Trump in the 2022 midterm elections.
Progressive lawmakers and their allies have called on Biden to pass a large stimulus that includes $2,000 monthly direct payments and rent and mortgage support, workplace protections, as well as legislation like a Green New Deal, reforms for the Supreme Court, and more.
When President Barack Obama took office, Democrats failed to pass a stimulus large enough to lift the country out of its deep recession. In the 2010 midterms, Republicans picked up a record 63 House seats and control of that chamber. In the 2014 midterms, Republicans took control of the Senate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has said he will be “aggressive” as incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “I remember what happened in 2010,” he recently told CNN. “Democrats had the power, but they did not deliver for the American people.”
On Thursday, Biden unveiled a new emergency stimulus plan which includes $1,400 stimulus checks, badly needed aid for state and local governments who face half a trillion dollars in budget shortfalls, and more money for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. The total price tag for his proposal is $1.9 trillion, but does not include $2,000 checks, “$2,000 means $2,000. $2,000 does not mean $1,400,″Ocasio Cortez told the Washington Post.
Sanders, a longtime supporter for Medicare for All, is also calling for emergency healthcare coverage for all Americans during the pandemic: “I believe that the crisis is of enormous severity and we’ve got to move as rapidly as we can,” Sanders told the New York Times.
Biden has said he will seek to work with Republicans even though there’s little evidence to suggest the Republican party is shifting away from being the party of Trump. Trump was celebrated at last week’s Republican National Convention meeting following the Capitol insurrection. There was little mention of Trump’s role in inciting the attack, and Trump loyalist Ronna McDaniel was reelected as chair.
74% of Republicans continue to question the results of the Nov. 3 election.
Maskless Republican lawmakers are now being blamed for turning lockdown rooms into coronavirus hotspots, infecting some of their Democratic colleagues. Some have been accused of helping the rioters carry out reconnaissance tours for their attack.
Many of the thousands of armed insurrectionists who laid siege to the Capitol were maskless, highlighting their ideological opposition to common sense public health measures despite record COVID-19 death rates, and making it easier for law enforcement to identify them.
Federal prosecutors are now alleging the rioters intended to “to capture and assassinate elected officials,” Reuters reported.
If Democrats fail to deliver an adequate stimulus, there’s good reason to suspect the party of the insurrection will come roaring back.