Senate Republicans Want Trump to Go Away Now

While waiting to hear if the House Ways and Means Committee will vote to release Trump’s taxes — Greg Sargent writes at WaPo that Senate Republicans have quietly been working to Trump-proof the government.

Nobody tell Donald Trump, but Republicans in the Senate appear poised to join Democrats in protecting our democracy from exactly the election subversion he attempted in 2020 — and would surely attempt again in 2024 if given the chance.

The omnibus spending bill has been released, and buried inside it are provisions that would reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which governs how Congress counts presidential electors. Trump’s effort to subvert his presidential reelection loss exploited many weaknesses in the ECA that would be fixed if the omnibus passes, as expected.

This was being done with little discussion on right-wing media, or anywhere else. One might almost think the Senate Republicans didn’t want people to know what they were up to. I am not surprised, however. Unlike the rabid and distempered House Republicans, at least some Republican Senators probably want to see Trump out of public life as much as Democrats do.

Just about every main ECA reform in the omnibus responds directly to what Trump did. It would clarify that the vice president’s role in counting electors is ceremonial. (Trump pressured his vice president to halt the count.) It would raise the threshold for Congress to nullify legitimate electors. (Trump got dozens of Republicans to object to Joe Biden’s electors.)

Reform would also combat state-level subversion. Trump pressured GOP state legislators to appoint sham electors for himself, so reform would essentially require governors to certify electors in keeping with state popular vote outcomes. It would create new avenues to legally challenge fraudulent electors and require Congress to count electors that are validated by the courts.

Burying the vote reform provisions in the omnibus spending bill gives the Republicans a way to hobble Trump without confronting him or going on the record on a stand-alone vote.

In a key tell, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued in the Louisville Courier Journal this week that reform would disarm the secret liberal plot to dismantle the electoral college, which would be easier to do (he claimed) if liberals can show the electoral count is prone to exploitation.

Whatever works. And lest we forget —

No one should confuse this with a full-scale outbreak of pro-democracy sentiment among Republicans. Most resolutely support making voting harder, and many are actively working to sabotage a full national reckoning with Trump’s insurrection and widespread GOP support for it.

Also, at The Hill

Senate Republicans are stepping out of the way of the House Jan. 6 committee’s recommendation that the Justice Department prosecute former President Trump for crimes related to the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

GOP senators, especially those allied with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), say the Jan. 6 committee interviewed “credible” witnesses and added to the historical record in a substantial way, even though they have qualms about how Democrats have tried to use the panel’s findings to score political points.  

This will probably be the last legislation passed by the current Congress. The House already passed its version of ECA reform in September.  All Democrats and nine Republicans voted in favor of it.

8 thoughts on “Senate Republicans Want Trump to Go Away Now

  1. "Moscow" Mitch "The Tortoise" McConnell v. Donald "D. Eedjit" tRUMP!

    It's WWE for lying, old, fat farts!

    And both are the "heavies" – I mean villains in a wrestling script, not their weight.

    They're fat, not heavy!

    Mitch has a grudge, because presiDUNCE D. Eedjit cost him 2 terms as Senate Majority Leader!

    And D. Eedjit has a grudge because Mitch's nose wasn't brown enough for the presiDUNCE.  

    But if tRUMP wants to really screw Mitch and the RepubliKKKLANS, he’ll run 3rd party in ’24!!!

  2. So it's about locking Trump out, clearing the way for some other less damaged GOPer to run, with all the other election shenanigans still in place. For a minute there it actually seemed like Republicans cared about the country…

    What I really want (for Christmas, but I can wait) is for the DOJ to indict not only TFG, but several complicit Republican congress-persons, to dial back the crazy.

    Joyce Vance has a great substack blog, it's a treat to read her take on all of this.

  3. Ummmm. someone remind me. Who will be the VP overseeing the next count of electors in 2024? Yeah. They don't want Democrats to do to the Republicans what Trump tried to do to Biden. They're open to some cheating which they will do and if it's close, they don't want a pissed VP to turn the tables on them. This is a one-way street. 

    I don't think Biden would ever pull a Trump. But the GOP is afraid he would. They aren't fully in favor od what Trump did – cheating is supposed to nibble at the edges of illegal. Calling out an armed mob sets a bad precedent. They haven't forgotten that more women turned out the day after Trump was sworn in – in protest – than there were for Trump's inauguration. 

    Still, I'm not complaining. I want free and fair elections without compromise. That doesn't mean I'm blind to how the GOP is cheating and wants to cheat more.

    The problem for the GOP is insurmountable without major policy adjustments. Both Trump and DeSantis are in bed with the evangelical fetus people. The independent voters are not the "middle" but they aren't married to partisan politics. They are among the strong majority who want sane gun control, who believe in women's rights and in minority rights – not to mention respectful treatment of LGBTQ.. They aren't anti-Semitic, Christian nationalist, militia members, or radical They want to live their lives and think other folks should be left alone. 

    The dilemma is that no GOP POTUS candidate can win the primary without the support of the dregs of American society. Independent voters are seeing what the GOP has become and they are not buying. (Doesn't mean they are reliable liberal voters but they aren't interested in fascism.) I don't think a Republican can win the presidency as the party is constituted The problem is not the candidates – it's the radical electorate who the GOP candidates accurately reflect. 

    Change of subject. The House whatever Committee voted to make Trump's tax returns public. I'd be unsupportive of that if the committee had the returns a year ago and the committee has time for tax experts to inform the committee 1) where the tax returns were fraudulent and 2) where the IRS failed in their duty to hold Trump accountable. That can't happen in two weeks but Trump should be accountable. This is the only option. 

    The good news that will come out of this is that the facts should show that the IRS was negligent in enforcing the law. (I'm assuming fraud on Trump's part.) The GOP wants to defund (not defend) the IRS because the Dems gave the IRS the tools to do its job. Follow that up by holding the IRS to account for not collecting taxes from the rich fraudsters. It won't look like a threat to the average citizen who pays through withholding (regular job) and claims the regular deduction. 

    The threat of the IRS is to the businessman who lies and cheats on his taxes.

    Expect the GOP to try to weaponize poor Trump as a victim. The Democrats need to be prepared to pivot and say Trump is the perfect example of a multi-generational tax cheat with the attitude once well articulated, "Only poor people pay taxes!"

    • We were so lucky to have her as Speaker.

       Yeah, thank God she had the political courage to insure that Trump was twice impeached. Even knowing that the effort to do so would most likely result in a partisan acquittal, she made sure that his misdeeds wouldn't escape the gaze of history. It's music to my ears to hear the addressing of former president Trump preceded by the descriptor of… 'the twice impeached'

  4. Secret Jewish Space Laser pins and scale model. “Mazel Tough”, we’re going to need it for the next 2 yrs.

    Read that MTG is backing Kevin McCarthy, and got into a fight with Lauren Boebert, who wants Matt Gaetz. The circus is coming to town…

  5. The republican party's attitude reminds me of (with notable exceptions) that of a poor student.  The poor student's concern commonly is how little they have to learn or do to get to make what they can defend as a minimally acceptable grade or standard.  To end up doing more than that, to actually master the material or show effort and proficiency in a project would bring on waves of personal shame and set an unacceptable standard for the future.  Just as the poor student, the result will leave teachers and concerned parents unsatisfied. 

    Ross Douthat of the NYT wrote on how we face an unsatisfying outcome of the party's move away from Trump.  

    There will be no perp walk where Trump exits the White House in handcuffs (though he could still face indictment; that hope lives), no revelations of Putinist treason forcing the Trumps into a Middle Eastern exile, no Aaron Sorkin-scripted denunciation driving him, in shame, from the public square.

    Nor will there be a dramatic repudiation of the Trumpist style. If DeSantis defeats Trump, it will be as an imitator of his pugilism and populism, as a politician who promises to fight Trump’s battles with more effectiveness and guile.

    The republican party will simply do as little as possible to placate voters in order to win power. 

    These realities are already yielding some righteous anger, a spirit evident in the headline of a recent essay by Bill Lueders at The Bulwark: “You’re Only Leaving Trump Now?” Never forget, Lueders urges, that if Republicans abandon Trump it won’t be because of his long list of offenses against decency and constitutional government; it will be only because, at last, they’re sure he cannot win.

    Republicans will continue to pander to their donor elite while throwing a few bones to the vast majority of citizens depending on their perverted perceptions of social class. The struggle will need to continue.  Citizens who have been good students of this have gained a few treasures of understanding in the process.  A commenter from Duluth Minn. identified as Rume said it well in response to the article:

    Mr. Douthat is probably correct there'll be no Aaron Sorkin moment of widespread vindication. But it's possible that millions of small, individual realizations will add up to some measure of protection for democracy. For example, I'll never again assume a conservative wants freedom for any but himself. Or that Christians believe in the common good. Or that my friends and neighbors are too sensible to fall for the obvious con – clearly not, and many (like Ross) already yearn for the next noisy thug in the person of Ron DeSantis. Vindication? No. But millions of us now keep our mouths shut and our eyes open in ways we didn't think necessary in former days. We're sadder but wiser, and in this dubious landscape, that's not bad.

     These lessons need to be remembered, as the future will continue to provide more tests.  

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