Saturday, February 13, 2021


As I begin typing this, the Senate has voted to acquit Donald Trump again and Mitch McConnell is attempting to persuade America that he was appalled by Trump's actions in the weeks after the election and throught the day on January 6. He's also trying to persuade us that he's a principled "institutionalist" with a reverence for the Constitution. He's claiming that he might have voted to convict Trump if Trump's trial had taken place during his term, but the demand for a conviction after Trump's term ended put us on a slippery slope that, if honored, would have made it possible for Congress to ban any private citizen from running for president.

The latter assertion is, well...

McConnell insisitence that he might have voted to convict before January 20 -- never mind that he's the reason the trial couldn't take place before that date -- is also complete bullshit. He and his party would have closed ranks, and any mainstream journalist who tells you otherwise -- who falls for McConnell's misdirection -- is a disgrace to the profession

What's McConnell doing? It's obvious.

He wants suburban voters back, the ones who've voted Republican in the past but chose Joe Biden, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, and other Democrats in 2020 (and 2018). He wants those suburbanites to believe that the GOP is still a big tent in which only a handful of extremists are in thrall to Trump. He wants them to think the Republican Party isn't just a party full of crazy people like Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the MAGA Shaman -- its real face is the face of Mitch McConnell, a serious man who's genuinely disgusted by Trump and who has profound thoughts about the Constitution and justice.

Yet he also wants to hold the Trump voters. They may not like the fact that the Republican leader in the Senate claims to loathe Trump's actions after the election and says he might have found Trump guilty under ideal circumstances, but he's counting on them to get over it because, after all, he voted to acquit, and the rest of the Senate did, too. He wants them all to come together and hate Democrats, who, in his telling, are power-mad evildoers who want to cancel a private citizen named Donald Trump because they're hungry for limitless power.

And Claire McCaskill is probably right:

McConnell is looking for the sweet spot, the one that will maximize GOP votes in 2022 and 2024. And I wish I could rule out the possibility that he's found it.

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