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Not My Party: Guilty, Guilty

Not My Party is back with a new episode on Trump's second impeachment trial.
February 11, 2021
Not My Party Ep 201: Guilty Guilty

Video Transcript. Watch the original and subscribe to “Not My Party” on Snapchat.

He tried to steal the election. People are dead. It’s onto impeachment round two.

We’re three weeks deep in the Biden presidency. Trump has been dispatched to Mar-a-Lago, where he’s spending his days sitting around a Saddam-Hussein-style drawing room, feeling sad that he can’t hate tweet anymore.

Since he’s already gone, is this week’s impeachment trial just meaningless political theater? No! This impeachment trial is really freaking important. We can’t let an insurrection get swept up in all the COVID-y, Trump-y chaos of the past year. In fact, many Republicans are banking on us forgetting it, or becoming comfortably numb.

But this was different: Never before in this country has a sitting president tried to steal an election to stay in power. Yes, it didn’t work. Yes, the way he went about it was clownish and ridiculous. But Officer Brian Sicknick is dead because of Trump’s actions. Others are gravely injured. The vice president and Democratic members of Congress nearly suffered the same fate.

This all happened because Trump supporters took him seriously and literally.

At 6:01 PM, hours after the carnage, Trump tweeted this: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace.”

No! You made this happen, Donald. You did this! And it could have been worse.

Had the election been closer, had Republicans controlled the House, had more Trump loyalists like lunatic Marjorie Taylor Green been in positions of power, they might’ve actually pulled it off. Let me be crystal clear about this: That would have been the end of our democracy. Not an exaggeration.

Elected leaders who try to overthrow the government and get people killed as a result must be held to account.

If anyone’s telling you that accountability is “dividing the country,” or that we should “just move on,” their motives are completely sus.

So what would be the right punishment?

For starters, convicting a president would mean he’s barred from running for the office ever again. In case you hadn’t heard, Trump can run for president again in 2024. And if he decided to, he’d be the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination. In fact, according to CNN’s polling analysis, only two others in history were about as popular four years out. Hillary Clinton and Al Gore both went on to win their nominations.

In the end, do I think there’ll be enough Republicans to convict Trump?

No, of course not. They’ve overwhelmingly proven to be cowards. But the choice for them is real. They should be forced to reckon with it and live with the consequences.

Donald Trump tried to end our democracy and install himself as an unelected autocrat. A man like that can never be president again.

This week, the Senate has a chance to make sure he won’t be.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.