Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines this week.
1. GOP Leadership is Finally Done with Trump
Without question, what occurred at the United States Capitol last Wednesday was one of the most embarrassing events in American history. Enticed by President Trump, a legion of die hard MAGA followers descended on the Capitol Building in an attempt to stop the counting of Electoral College votes and overturn the election.
What these domestic terrorists did was nothing short of sedition.
After security personnel cleared the building of the insurrectionists, legislators returned to their chambers after walking through hallowed halls filled with broken glass and graffiti. Unsurprisingly, Democrats and moderate Republicans immediately condemned the riots and President Trump’s role in sparking it. What is the talk of Washington D.C. however, is that many in Republican leadership positions are finally ready to scuttle Donald Trump’s presidency.
As promised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives filed articles of impeachment against Donald Trump this week. As virtually every Democrat in the House of Representatives has voiced support for impeachment, it is a foregone conclusion that those articles will be passed by the lower chamber. When that happens, it will be up to the Senate to convict President Trump, remove him from office and bar him from ever running for federal office again.
What should make President Trump very nervous is that many Senate Republicans have reportedly “had enough” and are willing to vote in favor of convicting Mr. Trump.
That list of Republicans includes Senate Majority Leader and kingpin Mitch McConnell. This is an incredible turn of events as Republican leadership has consistently supported President Trump even through his most controversial scandals.
Reportedly, Leader McConnell is “pleased” with the impeachment initiation and hopes that the process leads to the president being expelled from the Republican party. Since McConnell has said privately that he is “furious” and “done” with President Trump, it appears likely that he will sway enough establishment Republicans to support conviction and the removal of Trump from office.
Whether or not Trump is impeached, convicted and removed from office, his term ends January 20th at noon.
c. McConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender – The Hill
2. Trump is Finished but Trumpism Lives On
After last week’s failed coup attempt, Donald Trump has been rebuked by all of Washington D.C. and many leaders in his own party are abandoning him. With universal condemnation, a renewed talk of impeachment and his days in office numbered, it is clear that Donald Trump’s time in the national spotlight is over.
He will go down in history as a one term president and after last week’s stunt, likely as a failed one.
However, while everyone in the Washington Beltway may think that America can turn the page on Donald Trump they would be remiss to believe that the movement he created is dead. The “Make America Great Again” movement will live on in American politics for years.
In fact, many Republicans outside the nation’s capital city actually supported the failed insurrection. Incredulously, 45% of registered Republicans supported the rioters that stormed the U.S. Capitol. Although that number may be shocking to readers at first, one must remember the iron hold Donald Trump has held over the majority of the Republican base for the last few years.
While the fact that roughly half of Republicans supported a coup attempt is depressing, it does show that Senators Hawley and Cruz’s recent actions to court the “MAGA vote” is cunning politics. With it clear that Donald Trump’s bare knuckle populism will continue to control the GOP, whoever can emulate his brand of politics best will likely be the heir to his voting base.
In fact, if Trump escapes impeachment and can run for office in 2024, it would not surprise this onlooker if the grassroots of the Republican party coalesces around him for the presidency again.
b. Trump’s grip on GOP grassroots holds fast – Politico
3. Big Tech Finally Moves to Silence Conservatives
In light of last week’s appalling actions committed by individual Trump fanatics, social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and others moved to restrict the speech of conservatives by permanently banning them from their platforms. While the main story last week regarding tech was Twitter finally banning Donald Trump’s handle (and his subsequent outrage), what was overshadowed was countless conservatives and libertarians who similarly had their voices suppressed too.
While many of the individuals who saw their social media handles locked did expose dangerous ideas and violent beliefs, the greater question here is whether publicly traded companies have the right to censor Americans and police which ideas “are correct”. While Qanon supporters and far-right sympathizers were expelled from social media mid week, many individuals who would be considered mainstream were as well.
Take former Congressman Ron Paul, a trained physician who largely represented the libertarian wing of the Republican party. He ran for president in the past and typically can be found espousing his beliefs on reducing the size of government. He is hardly a radical. However, due to his beliefs he was banned from Facebook all the same.
What scares conservatives the most is the fact that for years big tech companies have been allied with liberal politicians and causes, typically donating untold amounts of money to Democrat campaigns. Now, those very same companies are removing conservative voices from the marketplace of ideas, putting Republicans at a significant disadvantage in the world of social media.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat no less, supported this pay for play theory in a recent interview. In a discussion with The Daily Caller Gabbard decried how reliant Democratic politicians are on political donations from Big Tech.
“It goes to money,” said Gabbard. “I’ve seen it happen,” she continued. “Google will have a big reception and members of congress will go and pick up their checks. Facebook will have a big reception and they’ll go and ‘hey, where’s my check?’”
For years, conservatives have tried to reform the tech industry and reign in these social media giants. In light of last week’s mass censorship it is highly likely that they step up their reform efforts in this congress.
4. Vice President Pence Rules Out Invoking the 25th Amendment
After last week’s chaos at the Capitol, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called a press conference in which she demanded that Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution, remove Donald Trump from office and assume the presidency for the final days of the Trump Pence term. If he did not, Pelosi warned she would have the House of Representatives impeach Donald Trump.
For readers unfamiliar with the 25th Amendment, it is a procedure in the U.S. Constitution in which the cabinet and vice president determines that the president is unfit to serve and removes the president from office. In that case, the vice president would be elevated to the presidency.
For several hours after Pelosi’s press conference, many pundits believed there was a decent chance Pence would invoke the 25th as it was reported that he was furious with President Trump for provoking the failed insurrection. In addition, the morning of January 6th Trump had taken to Twitter accusing Pence of cowardice for not overturning the votes of the Electoral College.
However, on Tuesday night Pence wrote to Speaker Pelosi indicating that he would not be working in conjunction with the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, claiming that it would set a bad precedent. In addition, he stated that the purpose of the amendment was to remove a president from office due to physical or mental disability, not political wrongdoing.
While President Trump’s actions last week were abhorrent, this writer must agree with Vice President Pence’s executive restraint. Donald Trump will leave office one week from Wednesday, he has been stripped of his major social media bullhorns and members of Congress revile him. What use would it be to force this failed president from office in his final hours? In addition, what political precedent would this set for the future?
While Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are moving forward with impeachment, I believe that history will reward Vice President Pence for resisting the urge to usurp the current president and set an awful precedent in American executive power.
b. Mike Pence is done with Trump’s ‘bulls–t’ – Politico
5. Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson, the Republican’s Piggy Bank, Passes Away
To the shock of many, it was recently reported that the recent 2020 Presidential Election cost roughly $14 billion. In fact, many foreigners look at America’s election finance laws and expenditures and scratch their heads as elections are not nearly as expensive overseas. Much has been spoken and written about the role of money in American politics and no individual has played a larger role in political finance than casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who died of cancer on Monday.
To Republican politicians, Adelson was the biggest piggy bank around as he cut expensive checks for countless GOP campaigns. He spent roughly $280 million in the last five years to fund GOP Senate and House campaigns and contributed a quarter of all the spending made by President Trump’s failed reelection campaign.
Republicans, particularly those in party leadership are already fretting over the loss of their main financier.
“Sheldon Adelson was the GOP mega-donor of GOP mega-donors,” said Ken Spain, a former spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “He was a deciding factor for dozens, if not hundreds, of races over the last decade. In a world where Democrats can rely on small-dollar donations that can add up to tens of millions of dollars, the loss of a major donor of Adelson’s stature is going to be felt.”
As Republicans are about to be shut out from the White House, Senate and House, Adelson’s death could not come at a worse time. Any hope of retaking the Congress in 2022 rests on the ability to raise unparalleled amounts of money and the loss of Sheldon Adelson and his checkbook puts the GOP at a major disadvantage.